Olaf joined Watsi on March 22nd, 2014. Seven years ago, Olaf joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Olaf's most recent donation traveled 3,600 miles to support Ko, a spirited 23-year-old young man from Thailand, to fund surgery to remove metal rods from his infected leg.
Olaf has funded healthcare for 83 patients in 12 countries.
Olaf has funded healthcare for 83 patients in 12 countries.
Ko Kyaw lives with his wife and two daughters in the border region of Tak Province in Thailand. He is a homemaker while his wife works as a day laborer. He plans to send his older daughter to a Thai school in the new school year, but his younger daughter is still too young to go to school. In early 2021, Kyaw was still living in his village in Myawaddy Township in Burma but it has been a very challenging time for his community ever since the military coup. He and his wife were injured in an emergency involving the local soldiers who came to their area. Luckily other villagers came to their rescue and Kyaw was treated for fractures on both his upper and lower leg, where a metal rod was inserted to help him heal. Now the bone in his thigh is misshapen and doctors have diagnosed osteomyelitis (infected bone). His doctor told him that in order to heal, he would need to have the metal rods replaced in both his upper and lower leg. Currently, Kyaw’s left leg is in a lot of pain. He can only bend his leg slightly and needs to use crutches to get around. With his leg in pain, Ko Kyaw spends most of his time helping out with household chores he can do and teaching his oldest daughter how to read and write in Burmese. He feels frustrated that since his leg was broken, he cannot support his family. Our medical partner Burma Children Medical Fund is helping to pay the cost of his treatment and is raising $1500 to cover his surgery, which will take place on May 10th. “I feel upset that I cannot support my family as the head of the house,” he said. “We only have my wife’s income. We do not have our own house to live in. I want to say a lot of things but I cannot express what I want to say. I never thought that I would lose my house, my possessions and that my leg would be in pain.”
Meet Boaz, a 5th-grade student and the middle child in his family of three. His mother is a farmer, growing maize and beans to provide income for their family's needs. Boaz was involved in a car accident that injured his right hand. He was initially treated at a local clinic, where he received a cast. However, his condition worsened, so Boaz visited Kapsowar Hospital, our medical partner's facility, for further review. Doctors performed an X-ray, which revealed a fracture in his right radius and ulna - the bones in his forearm. Boaz's wound was also infected, so he received treatment and antibiotics to help heal. Currently, Boaz cannot use his right hand, and he is in severe pain and unable to sleep well. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), can help. On May 10th, Boaz will undergo a fracture repair procedure called an open reduction and internal fixation. Upon recovery, Boaz will be able to use his hand, allowing him to participate in school and help out at home again AMH is requesting $1,145 to fund this procedure. Boaz's family was also able to gather $100 to contribute to his care. Boaz's mother shared, "I feel like carrying this burden for him. He has so much pain. My hope is to see my son well again and be in good spirits."
Mab is a 34-year-old electrician. He has two children, with his oldest son is seven years old and his newborn daughter at two months old. In Mab's free time, he enjoys playing volleyball with his friends. Last December, Mab was in a motorcycle accident that caused a brachial plexus injury on his left side. The brachial plexus is the nerve network that transmits signals from the spine to the shoulder, arm, and hand. Injuries to this nerve network can result in a loss of function and sensation. After the accident, Mab's family took him to a local hospital for treatment; however, his left arm is still immobile, and he has shoulder pain. The doctors referred him to our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre (CSC), for review, where they determined his shoulder is partially dislocated, and he has no elbow or wrist flexion. CSC is the only treatment center in the country that can help Mab receive the treatment he needs. On April 5th, he will undergo brachial plexus repair surgery that will allow him to use his hand again. CSC is requesting $696 for the cost of this surgery. Mab was able to gather $100 to contribute to his care, as well. Mab says, "I hope my arm will regain strength, and I can return to work."
Abdul is a four month old baby boy. He is being raised by a single mother who previously worked as a housekeeper before her pregnancy. Now Abdul's mother works with Abdul’s grandmother farming and selling vegetables. This work does not provide Abdul's family with medical coverage. Abdul has been diagnosed with hydrocephalus, a condition in which excess cerebrospinal fluid accumulates in the brain and increases intracranial pressure. As a result of his condition, Abdul's head has increased in size since his birth. Abdul was initially taken to a local hospital and diagnosed with malaria. After administering the prescribed medications, Abdul's mother did not notice a change in his condition and took Abdul to another hospital where he was ultimately diagnosed hydrocephalus. Abdul was then referred to our medical partner's care center, Bethany Kids Hospital for surgery. Without treatment, Abdul will experience severe physical and developmental delays. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is helping Abdul's mother raise $720 to cover the cost of surgery for Abdul. The procedure scheduled to take place on March 3rd will reduce intracranial pressure and greatly improve his quality of life. With proper treatment, Abdul will hopefully develop into a strong, healthy young boy. Abdul’s mother shared, “I would really like my son to be treated and regain his health.”
Emmanuel is a jovial boy who lives with his mother who is a housewife, and his stepfather who works as is a taxi motorbike rider. Emmanuel was brought to the our Medical Partner's Care Center Cure International Outreach Clinic by a social worker who found him under a tree, where he had been left after his step-father mistreated him. The social worker who helped Emmanuel works with a USAID-supported program that promotes better health by rescuing children who are physically impaired and mistreated by their parents, mostly in the Maasai area of Kenya and northern Tanzania. Emmanuel was born with clubfoot on both feet. Clubfoot is a congenital musculoskeletal malformation in which the foot is twisted out of shape. As a result, Emmanuel has difficulty walking and wearing shoes. Fortunately, Emmanuel has now come to AIC Cure International Hospital for treatment. On February 28th, surgeons will perform clubfoot repair surgery. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $1,286 to fund Emmanuel's clubfoot repair. After treatment, Emmanuel will be able to walk, put on shoes, and hopefully live a happier life. Emmanuel's social worker says, “Our desire is to see Emmanuel lively and happy, walking on his feet and joining school like other children.”
Toryeb is married with a fifteen-year-old son in grade eight. His wife is a rainy day rice farmer and grows potatoes to sell at the local market. Because there was not enough work for Toryeb to support his family in their rural province, he moved to Thailand for five years to be a hotel gardener. Five months ago, Toryeb was climbing a tree at the hotel to cut branches that were tangled in electrical wires. He was electrocuted, lost consciousness, and suffered electrical burns to his hands and legs. He spent three months in and out of Thai hospitals and underwent amputations of some of his fingers, skin grafts, and treatment to help with his infections. He is now back in Cambodia and cannot walk and has a lot of pain. A neighbor told him to visit our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, for specialty burn treatment. Now surgeons have met with Toryeb and developed a treatment plan to help him heal. His family needs help to pay for his care, which will cost $446. Toryeb told us: "I thought I would die, but I am hopeful I will recover after this surgery and work again to support my family. It is important for my son to stay in school."
Poe is a 45-year-old man who lives with his wife in a hut in a village in Myawaddy Township in Burma. Poe and his wife are agricultural day labourers, but he had to stop working two to three months ago, when his condition worsened. The income she earns is usually just enough to cover their daily expenses, but if she cannot find work, they have to borrow money to make ends meet. Around seven years ago, Poe got bamboo splinters in his left foot while working on a farm. He was able to pick out the splinters and applied traditional medicine to his foot, which healed. A little while later, he developed pain where he had the splinters before and went to a nearby clinic. A nurse checked his foot but told him that she could not find anything wrong with his foot. The nurse gave him pain medication and Poe went back home. After he took the medication, he felt better. Six or seven months later, his pain returned, and he also developed an infection. When he went back to the clinic, the nurse checked his foot and told him to go to a hospital since he signs of a severe infection. The nurse also gave him medication. He then went to Myawaddy General Hospital, where he had the ulcer cleaned with an antiseptic solution and was given medication. When he went home, he felt better. Two years ago, the pain and ulcer returned but in a larger area then previously. He went back to Myawaddy General Hospital, where he received an x-ray. He was told that his foot was infected due to his previous injury. His foot was cleaned again with an antiseptic solution, and he was given antibiotics. After he took the medication, he felt better again. Just a few months ago, Poe’s foot started to hurt again. However, he was not worried about his foot because the last time his foot had hurt, he had had the ulcers drained. When the pain and swelling increased in his foot, he was no longer able to work. Although he wanted to go to the hospital, he did not have enough money to go this time since he was not working. His brother then told him to go to Mawlamyine Christian Leprosy Hospital (MCLH) in nearby Mon State since it is more affordable. When Poe arrived at MCLH at the end of November, he was admitted after the doctor examined his foot. He received another x-ray and was told that the ulcers and an infection had spread to multiple areas. He was also told that because of how advanced his condition is, his foot could never heal fully, and the only option at this point was to amputate his foot. “I’ve been to many hospitals and clinics already,” said Poe. “The doctor told me that if I amputate my foot my condition will no longer return. So I am happy to go ahead with the procedure.” Currently, Poe’s left ankle and feet is swollen and painful. The pain is worse at night and when the temperature drops. He has multiple ulcers in his foot with discharge and he feels extremely uncomfortable. Some areas of his foot are itchy and painful while he has lost sensation in the top of his foot and areas around his ankle. Cannot put any weight on his left foot due to the pain and has to be pushed in a wheelchair since he arrived at MCLH. He's hopeful about feeling better soon and getting back to working. Poe shared, “In the future I want to buy one or two cows to breed and rear them to earn an income. I also want to grow and sell vegetables."
Saray is a beautiful baby girl who lives in Colombia. Her parents moved from Venezuela two years ago seeking for a better place to raise a family. Even though Saray is only one year old, she is already really sympathetic and enthusiastic, she loves celebrating everything. Saray has clubfoot of her left foot. Clubfoot is a condition in which the foot is twisted out of shape. This will cause difficulty walking and even wearing shoes as she grows older. Fortunately, Saray's family traveled to visit our Medical Partner Clínica Noel where they can offer life-changing treatment. There, surgeons will perform clubfoot repair surgery on December 6th. Our medical partner is requesting $1,422 to fund Saray's clubfoot repair. After treatment, She will be able to walk, wear shoes, and play like any other kid. "Thank you so much, being in a foreign country and finding out that our little girl needs surgery is really stressful for us. I was really sad because in this moment we can't pay for the surgery but finding out that there are people that can help me with this really gives me hope that my little girl will be okay."
Grimina is a 59-year-old small scale farmer. She is a mother of eight children and lives in a two room semi-permanent house with her husband. Their oldest child is 40 years old, while their youngest is 18 years old. 30 years ago during her fifth pregnancy, Grimina began to experience troubling symptoms, including a painless swelling in her neck that continues to grow. She is unable to carry heavy loads on her head and has to sleep with a special pillow to prevent airway blockage. She has been diagnosed with a nontoxic goiter and surgery was recommended to treat her condition. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), is helping Grimina receive treatment. On September 14th, she will undergo a thyroidectomy at our medical partner's care center. Now, she needs help raising $333 to fund her procedure and care. Grimina shared, "I pray for a successful surgery. I hope to look normal and live a healthy life once again. I look forward to resume farming and be able to continue taking good care of my family."
Sarafina is a small scale farmer and a mother of six, with five living children. She shared with us that she attended school up to the first grade when she was young and since has farmed, while her husband is a retired soldier. They own a three-room semi-permanent house for shelter. Their oldest child is now 45 years old and dropped out of school due to mental illness while their youngest recently got married. Sarafina receives a little support from her children and relies on her farm produce to meet her daily needs. For two years, Sarafina has been experiencing lower abdominal pains along with itchy arms. She used herbal medication for the itching but she never got relief. She visited Rugarama Hospital and the scan showed uterine fibroids. Sarafina has stopped farming because she can no longer bend down, and has had to miss some follow-up appointments due to limited funds. Her symptoms have worsened and she has been diagnosed with large uterine leiomyoma. An exam revealed a cervical mass highly suspicious of cervical cancer. If not treated, Sarafina could develop chronic pelvic pain and there is a risk of cancer spreading, poor quality of life due to chronic pain and organ failure. She needs to undergo a hysterectomy, a procedure in which surgeons will remove her uterus, but her family cannot afford the surgery. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), is requesting $319 to fund Sarafina's surgery. On September 4th, she will undergo gynecological surgery at our medical partner's care center. Once recovered, Sarafina will be able to resume her daily activities free of pain. Sarafina says, “I pray that I may be considered for treatment because I am in severe pain and my condition could get worse. I hope to be normal again so that I may get back to farming and taking care of my family.”
Lightness is a hard-working student and the ninth born child in a family of ten children. Lightness loves to help her mother with home chores and looking after her nieces and nephews. Lightness is currently in technical college where she is studying to be an electrician. Lightness's parents are small-scale farmers and livestock keepers, and her mother also sells vegetables and mandazi, a type of fried bread. Three years ago, Lightness was at the fireplace helping her mother cook mandazi when she lost conscious and fell into the pot of hot oil. Her mother rescued her and rushed her to the hospital. The accident has left Lightness with contractures as a result of the burns around her neck. Contractures are a condition in which the muscles are shortened and hardened, and in Lightness's case they limit her neck movement. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMH), is helping Lightness receive treatment. On August 5th, surgeons at their care center will perform a burn contracture release surgery to help her move her neck freely. However, Lightness's family needs help to fund this $639 procedure. Lightness says, "I feel bad seeing myself in this condition, I try to cover my neck because I don’t like how people feel sorry for me. I will be happy and grateful if I can have my neck corrected."
Joseph is a two-year-old boy and the youngest child in a family of four children. The family lives in a small timber house and his father sells vegetables to provide for the family. His mother often does laundry work for their neighbors, however, sometimes work is difficult to find and she works on neighbors' farms to supplement the family's income. Joseph was diagnosed with cryptorchidism, a condition in which one or both of the testicles remains undescended after birth. If not treated, Joseph will have an increased risk of developing hernias, testicular cancer, and fertility problems in the future. Fortunately, Joseph will be receiving assistance from our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH). He is scheduled to undergo corrective surgery on July 5th and now, AMH is requesting $569 to cover the total cost of his procedure and care. Joseph’s father shared, “since we visited the last facility, I have never had peace in my heart after the doctor told us what will happen if the testes did not descend and he was not treated. Now, I’m more troubled that I cannot do anything for his surgery as we cannot raise any amount close to what is required. I really need support for my child's surgery."