Blackthorn's Story

Blackthorn joined Watsi on November 4th, 2021. Two years ago, Blackthorn joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Blackthorn's most recent donation supported Ivan, a 2-year-old boy from Haiti, to fund heart surgery.


Blackthorn has funded healthcare for 110 patients in 13 countries.

Patients funded by Blackthorn

Sarin is a 53-year-old single woman who lives in Phnom Penh province and is the primary caregiver for her elderly parents. She has five living siblings (sadly, two of her siblings died young) who help to support her and her parents. Most of her day is taken up with caring for her parents, cooking, and cleaning. In the evenings, Sarin likes to practice dhamma - a form of Buddhist meditation - as well as listen to the village monks pray on the local radio station. For many years, Sarin had an ear infection. This infection caused a cholesteatoma, or an abnormal skin growth, to develop in the middle ear behind the ear drum. If untreated, a cholesteatoma can cause erosion of the three small bones located in the middle ear, resulting in nerve deterioration, imbalance, vertigo, and deafness. It can also affect and erode, through the enzymes it produces, the thin bone structure that isolates the top of the ear from the brain, risking further infection with serious complications. Sarin's cholesteatoma has caused her many problems. She suffers ear discharge, headaches, and a gradual loss of hearing. It is difficult for her to communicate with her family and other villagers, and she is embarrassed that she cannot hear well. She visited several hospitals seeking care but could not afford to pay for surgery. One of the hospitals suggested she visit our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre (CSC). Sarin traveled to CSC and, after examination, learned that she will be able to receive treatment. On October 17, the ENT surgeons at CSC will remove the cholesteatoma by performing a mastoidectomy procedure in her left ear. CSC is requesting $926 to fund this procedure. This covers medications, supplies, and inpatient care. Sarin said: "I hopeful that this operation will improve my hearing and prevent a brain infection."

Fully funded

Amare is a brave, social young boy who is smart and good at communicating. He hails from Ethiopia and loves to play with his friends. He shared that he loves innovating new things - like making a tuk tuk and a mobile toy with metal wire and wood. Amare loves to study and read books. He also loves to help his mom at home with cleaning and making stew and coffee. Amare is the third child of his parents. His mom lost ten children, both in her womb and after they were born. She was heartbroken when she conceived Amare as she thought that he wouldn’t grow up. When Amare's mother gave birth to him, she was traveling by foot to a marketplace and she gave birth on the road. She shared that she saw he had a wound and was scared that he would die. She took him to Sekota hospital. The doctor told her that the disease was curable by surgery and that he would live with care. He referred them to another hospital and she brought Amare there when he was a seven month-old baby. She was informed that he was too young for the complex procedure. She brought him again when he was two years-old. She got the same response, to come back when he is older. Then, Amare's mother lost hope in modern medicine. She told us that she started to go to church and apply holy water to her baby. But his condition stayed with him. She got sad and, in her words, "left it all to God". Both mom and dad are traditional farmers. They harvest once in a year because they get rain only in one season. They couldn’t use irrigation since there was no river near their field. They travel for thirty minutes to get underground spring water for drinking and cooking. They have one cow for their milk consumption. For these reasons, they can’t afford the medical bills for their son. Amare was born with a congenital anomaly called bladder exstrophy. That is an abnormally open bladder from the front. His bladder is open to the air, which results in leaking urine directly to his abdomen. He has suffered from pain from the irritation of the bladder, infection & smell from the continuous urinary leakage. Mom is very much worried and concerned because of his condition. His required treatment is called a mainz pouch procedure which is diverting his urination to another opening & making a pouch bladder from bowel. His surgery is scheduled for March 7th. His family needs help raising the $1,500 to fund the surgery. Amare said, “My friends from school and the neighborhood say I smell. I felt bad about it and tried to stay away from my friends. I like playing with my friends but nowadays what I prefer is to study at home alone. Or to be with my mother and help her with work.” Amare's mom said, “My neighbors talk, so when there is holiday party at home I let him stay at the outside kitchen. If there is clean cloth, he [can] change and mingle in the party but mostly he stays away. Amare said to me ‘If I couldn’t get treatment and heal while you are alive I will never heal and survive.' Because I don’t have any hope with my siblings and relatives. This hurt me a lot. I feel like I don’t have power to heal him or to provide him medical treatment."

Fully funded

Kelita is a single mother with four children, aged 18,14,12, and 8. Kelita shared that she separated from her husband in 2017 because she would not adhere to cultural chieftaincy rules that wives are supposed to follow. Kelita refused to stop going to church; hence her family broke apart, and her husband married another woman. He does not provide support for his children so Kelita works hard to support her family on her own. Kelita sells cooked green maize in the nearest markets, earning about $37.00 per month. She and her four children live in a three-room house without water or electricity. Kelita does extra work in people’s gardens for her family's support and shared that she enjoys eating nsima (ugali) with vegetables prepared with groundnut flour. Kelita was well until 2011, when, after the delivery of her third child, she noted a fast-growing swelling on her neck. She did not seek medical care as there was no pain. As time passed, the swelling grew, but was not painful. In 2021, Kelita started experiencing neck heaviness and breathlessness, frequent coughs, and pains when carrying heavy items on her head. This affected her daily activities and business since she could no longer carry a basket of maize on her head. Kelita stopped her cooking business and relied on doing piece work in people’s gardens to support her family. However, even this is difficult now, as bending has become a challenge. In November 2021, Kelita visited her nearest hospital and was referred to Kamuzu Central Hospital, where an ultrasound scan revealed a bilateral complex mass in her thyroid. Kelita was sent for thyroid function tests but since she did not have the money required for the tests, she returned home to try traditional medicine, to no avail. In July, Kelita met a Partners in Hope (PIH) beneficiary who guided her to visit PIH for potential support from Watsi. On August 14th, Kelita met the surgeon at PIH. After the required tests were completed, a diagnosis of goiter was confirmed. Kelita was told she needed to have a surgical intervention called thyroidectomy, the removal of part or all of the thyroid gland. Due to her financial challenges, Kelita was referred to Watsi's medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, for support. Kelita could smile much bigger after hearing about the planned surgery and committed to a co-pay $27.64 from her savings. Kelita hopes to be well again after the surgical operation. Kelita looks forward to the peace of mind that will enable her to support her children as a single parent. “I need my peace of mind for me to resume my business and be able to carry items on my head again. Kindly help me,” Kelita says.

Fully funded

Sok Kong is a motor mechanic and lives with his wife in Kampot province. He finds joy in tinkering with various motors, often continuing this passion even after their evening meals. As a baby, Sok Kong suffered a burn on his foot, leading to a contracture that left his foot in an unusual position. Being part of a financially strained farming family, he faced adversity without proper care for his disability. He also has a history of a left leg fracture several years ago. Recently, Sok Kong observed alarming changes in the scar on his foot and ankle – it became dark and lumpy, forming a rough growth that crusts over like a scab and occasionally bleeds. What initially seemed like a chronic skin sore prompted a local clinic to advise him to seek treatment from our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre. Following an examination, surgeons diagnosed Sok Kong with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and expressed concerns about its potential spread. Given the destructive nature of untreated squamous cell carcinoma and the fear that it may have advanced, a below-the-knee amputation was deemed necessary. Considering the late stage of cancer and the likelihood of its spread to the lymph nodes or other organs, surgeons plan to remove the enlarged lymph nodes on his right side for histology. Our medical partner is requesting $726 to fund this procedure. This covers medications, supplies, and inpatient care, ensuring Sok Kong receives comprehensive surgical treatment. Sok Kong said: "I hope the cancer has not spread any further and I will be able to return home soon with my wife."

Fully funded

Mourine is a 9-year-old bright, social and friendly girl from Kenya. She is the firstborn of a family of two and hails from Merigi village in Bomet county. Her mother told us that she is very active while at school and at home, helping do household chores, including tending to a kitchen garden as part of her work. Mourine is passionate about studying and she told us that she aspires to become a neurosurgeon in the future! Mourine was first seen in August 2023 at our medical partner's care center (AIC Cure International Hospital) mobile clinic and scheduled to undergo serial casting. She comes from a humble background where her mother is a homemaker while her father is a farmer. Mourine has clubfoot of both feet. Clubfoot is a condition in which the foot is twisted out of shape. This causes difficulty walking and even wearing shoes. This condition was not noticeable at a young age and her mother came to notice it when she was 4 years old. Mourine was taken to a hospital and the family were told that her foot needed to be corrected. They stayed home for quite sometime until they heard about AIC Cure mobile clinic and upon review, she was scheduled to undergo treatment. Currently Mourine walks with discomfort, is not flexible, and has pain when walking for a long distance. Fortunately, Mourine's family traveled to visit our medical partner's care center, AIC Cure International Hospital. There, surgeons will perform clubfoot repair surgery on January 30th. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,286 to fund Mourine's clubfoot repair. After treatment, she will be able to walk comfortably like other children, she will be able to play with her peers since there will be no pain and she will continue with her education without any challenge. She has a bright future ahead. Mourine said: "I'm looking forward to healing and walking comfortably to avoid people always asking me what is wrong with my foot."

Fully funded