Zack joined Watsi on November 25th, 2013. Five years ago, Zack became the 899th member to automatically support a new Watsi patient every month. Since then, 5,559 more people have become monthly donors! Zack's most recent donation traveled 8,300 miles to support Khin, a university student from Burma, to fund cardiac surgery.
Zack has funded healthcare for 72 patients in 12 countries.
Htay is a 26-year-old-Araknese woman who lives with her younger sister in Yangon, Burma. Htay is in her final year of university. Her sister works as a seamstress in a shop and earns 200,000 kyat (approx.200 USD) per month. Their parents and their eldest sister are rice farmers in Rakhine State. Every year, they sell half of their harvest to earn an income. Htay's sister in Yangon sends their parents money occasionally, while their parents support Htay's medical expenses. The income that Htay's sister earns is enough to cover their daily expenses and pay for basic health care. In 2018, Htay started to feel very tired and could not sleep well at night. She also experienced chest pains if she walked anywhere far. She took traditional medicine which helped her feel and sleep better. However, she continued to feel tired and experience pain. One day in 2019, a neighbor who has a heart condition, told her that she could have a heart disease like her; the neighbor had also experienced the same symptoms as Htay. The neighbor advised her to seek treatment at Pinlon Hospital in Yangon, where the neighbor had undergone heart surgery. Htay decided to follow the neighbor's recommendation and also moved in with her sister in Yangon for extra support. In December 2019, Htay went to Pinlon Hospital to see a cardiologist. After receiving an echocardiogram (echo), the doctor told her that two valves in her heart no longer work and that she would need to receive surgery to replace those valves. The doctor also told her that because her condition is not severe, she did not need surgery yet. She received six month's worth of medication and a follow-up appointment for June 17th, 2020. When Htay came back for her appointment, she received another echo and an x-ray. After checking her results, the doctor told her that her condition had progressed and she now needed surgery, which would cost 15,000,000 kyat (approx.15,000 USD). When they learned about the price of the procedure, Htay and her sister lost hope of ever getting Htay treatment; they could not afford to pay such a large sum of money. When Htay told a nurse at the hospital called Sandar Ko about their financial situation, the nurse told her about an abbot who might be able to help her. The abbot heads Kyaung Gyi Parahita Monastery and is a partner of Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF). Htay called the abbot and asked for help accessing surgery. The abbot then referred Htay to Watsi's Medical Partner BCMF for assistance receiving treatment at Pinlon Hospital. Currently, Htay feels tired and suffers from chest pains when she walks a lot. She cannot sleep very well at night and she feels short of breath at least twice a week. To try and cope with her symptoms mentally, she prays or recites Dhamma. She also tries to help her sister with household chore such as cooking and sweeping. She hopes that she will be able to continue her studies after surgery and she would like to work for the government as a civil servant once she graduates. Htay shared, “When I graduate, I will work and support my parents because they are getting old and they will not be able to work on the farm in the future.”
Sovann is a 62-year-old rice farmer from Kampongcham province. His wife passed away many years ago, so he now lives with his oldest son and his family. He likes to take care of his grandchildren and help make improvements in their house. He also likes to make time for traveling to different pagodas. Four months ago, Sovann started to feel pain in his right hip. The pain grew until he could not walk without support or move his legs well. He traveled three hours to come to Children's Surgical Centre (CSC) for treatment, where doctors found that he had developed necrosis of the hip. Now, doctors will perform a total hip replacement. Once he has fully recovered, he will be able to walk easily again and will not feel any more pain. He will be able to return to work and caring for his family. The surgery will cost $539 and Sovann needs your support.
Monica is a greengrocer from Kenya. She is a mother of four aged between three and eight. She separated with his husband and now she lives with her four children in a single room rental house. Monica depends mostly on her daily work for food and saves a little to pay bills at the end of the month. Her low socioeconomic status and her family struggles have limited her options of getting treatment. On June 26th 2020, Monica went to the hospital because she fell on wet ground while she was heading home carrying a bundle of firewood on her back. On arrival at the hospital, an X-Ray was done which confirmed a fracture in her left ankle. She cannot walk on her own and is in a lot of pain. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner can help. On July 3rd, Monica will undergo a fracture repair procedure, called an open reduction and internal fixation. This procedure will help her heal well and be able to walk and work without pain. Now, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $809 to fund this procedure. Monica shared, “I want to receive treatment, get healed and continue supporting my children. I am worried about my ability to help them now that I can’t perform any of my duties at home."
Tho is 47-year-old rice farmer from Cambodia. She and her husband have four daughters together. Two of her daughters are married, and Tho now has three grandchildren in primary school. She works in the fields with her husband and her two unmarried daughters. She loves to cook, and uses the vegetables from her garden. Tho was in a motor accident eight years ago, resulting in a fractured left tibia. She went to a provincial hospital to receive treatment, but her fracture never healed correctly. The condition of her leg has deteriorated over time and now she can no longer walk unaided. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, can help. On June 3rd, Tho will undergo a fracture repair procedure, which will cost $465. With a successful surgery, the bone will heal properly and she will regain her ability to walk. Tho said, "After this surgery, I hope that my leg will finally be better, and I will be strong enough to walk by myself. I don't like to have my family take care of me all the time, so with no more pain, I can help them again."
Rithy is a 5-year-old student from Cambodia. He began kindergarten this year, and is excited to join Grade One next year. He has three siblings. Rithy's mother sells fruit at a local market, and his father is a tuk tuk driver. He and his older sister love to paint pictures together, and he is currently learning writing. Three years ago, Rithy had a serious ear infection. This infection caused a cholesteatoma, or an abnormal skin growth, to develop in the middle ear behind the ear drum. For this reason, Rithy experiences hearing loss, ear discharge, and fever. It is difficult for him to hear what the teachers say at school, and he is often absent from class due to his ear discharge and fever. Rithy traveled to our medical partner's care center to receive treatment. On May 6th, he will undergo a mastoidectomy procedure in his right ear. During this procedure, ENT surgeons will remove the cholesteatoma. Our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, is requesting $925 to fund this procedure. This covers medications, supplies, and inpatient care. His parents said, "This problem has been bad for his hearing in both ears, so we worry about his ability to go to school in the future. We hope that after surgery, he can start his first full year at school with all his hearing."
Alvin is a baby from Tanzania. He is a charming and very playful little boy and the only child to his young parents. His father is in a different city seeking casual electrical jobs to be able to make a living while his mother stays at home caring for him. Since December 2019, Alvin has had inguinal hernia. This causes him pain making him to cry a lot and often not sleeping at all. Fortunately, on March 8th, he will undergo hernia repair surgery at Watsi's medical partner's care center. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $539 to fund Alvin's surgery. Once completed, this procedure will hopefully allow him to live more comfortably and confidently. Alvin’s mother says “We are unable to afford our son’s treatment cost kindly help us and save him from the discomfort and pain he goes through when the swelling appears.”
Chit is a 68-year-old from Burma. He lives with his sister, brother-in-law, niece, his niece's husband and their son. All of his family members are farmers who grow rice for their own consumption and peanuts which they sell. Chit used to work as a cowherd, but stopped when he fell ill one year ago. Sometimes his niece's husband works as a day laborer. They also have two pigs and 10 chickens, which they sell in case they need emergency cash. Their income is just enough to cover their daily expenses and pay for basic health care. Three years ago, Chit start to experience frequent back pain. After hearing about Mae Tao Clinic (MTC), he decided to seek help there. At the clinic he received an ultrasound and a urine test. After reviewing the result, the medic told him there was nothing wrong with his bladder and provided him with medication. However, the medication did not work and his back pain kept returning on and off. In 2019, Chit developed severe pain in his lower left back in addition to difficulty passing urine accompanied by a burning sensation. He went to the nearest clinic where he received a urine test and an ultrasound. After checking his result, the doctor told him that he had a urinary tract infection and inflammation of the bladder. Doctors provided him with antibiotics and gave him an injection. Three week later, when he did not feel better, his niece brought him to Mae Sot Hospital (MSH) in Thailand, where he underwent another ultrasound and urine test. The results indicted that he has a stone in his bladder. The doctor gave him a follow-up appointment for 24th of January 2020 and he received two months' worth of medication in the meantime. When he returned for his appointment, he received an x-ray. Following this, the doctor told him that he needs surgery and a pre-surgical deposit of 15,000 baht (approx. $500 USD) would be required by the hospital. The doctor then scheduled his surgery for March 31st, 2020. Unable to pay for the surgery, Chit and his niece returned to MTC to ask for help. At MTC, Chit received a urinary catheter and a medic referred him to Watsi's Medical Partner Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF) for assistance in accessing further treatment and support. Chit's niece said, “When I was young my uncle looked after me well. So I want to help and support his treatment as much as I can. I am very grateful that he has received this chance to have his treatment supported by you. As we have financial problems at home, I cannot find anyone to borrow money from easily if you would not support him.”
Godwin is a toddler from Kenya. His single mother of two children is employed casually as a retail shop attendant. Godwin and his elder brother are both enrolled in learning institutions and doing well. Her daily average pay is $2, which can barely sustain their basic needs. Godwin was born with hypospadias, a congenital abnormality that causes urinary dysfunction. Without treatment, he will continue to experience uncomfortable symptoms and will be at risk of infertility. Fortunately, Godwin is scheduled to undergo corrective surgery on February 3rd. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $700 to cover the total cost of his procedure and care. “I want to be an engineer in future,” says Godwin
Chheng is a 50-year-old clothes seller from Cambodia. She enjoys cooking for her family, including one son and one daughter, and likes to watch television in her free time. For the last ten years, Chheng has suffered from swelling and pain in her left knee. She was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in her left knee and cannot stand for a long period of time, and now has difficulty walking comfortably. Fortunately, Chheng learned about our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre. At CSC, surgeons can perform a total knee replacement to relieve Chheng of her pain and allow her to walk easily. Treatment is scheduled for January 6th, and Chheng needs help raising $1,087 to pay for this procedure. I hope that I will no longer be in any pain, and I will be able to walk well again and return to my work," Chheng said.
Khin is a 39-year-old woman who lives with her family in Hpa-An Township, Karen State, Burma. Both her children are in preschool. She and her husband are subsistence farmers, growing rice during the rainy season on rented land. The rest of the year, her husband collects leaves used to make roofs, works as a daily labourer or collects branches to sell. Khin was born with a scar the size of an ant bite on her upper lip. Her parents thought that it would disappear or heal on its own but the scar developed into a growth and increased in size. Her parents passed away when she was young and after that she went to live with her brother’s family. By the time she was around 20 years old, the growth had become large and soft, covering the area between her upper lips and her nose. When the pain became unbearable in 2005, her uncle dropped her off at Mae Tao Clinic (MTC) in Thailand, a free clinic close to where her uncle used to work. At this point, the growth had become so large that dragged her upper lip down and extended into her nostrils. At MTC, she was seen by doctors and medics, before she was diagnosed with a hemangioma. At this point, the growth had worsened, and she was bleeding from her lips. In April 2006, Khin went to Chiang Mai Hospital and had the hemangioma removed surgically. The growth later has returned. Overtime, the hemangioma has increased in size and become hard. It has now expanded into Khin’s nostrils, especially her left nostril, which causes her to have difficulty breathing at times. She feels uncomfortable but is not in pain. Sometimes she also feels like she has a blood clot in her nostrils during her nosebleeds. Because the nosebleed can start at any time and can last anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes, her life revolves around managing her nosebleeds. She is unable to work or sleep properly, and if she is about to have a nosebleed, she is unable to eat. The nosebleeds have also affected her ability to earn an income for her children and continues to impact her social life. “When I socialise, I do not feel comfortable and some people think I have a disease that I can infect them with,” said Khin. “So, I hope to get better after surgery, and I hope I will no longer have nosebleeds. I don’t want to bleed, and I want to socialise with my friends and family happily. [Right now] my friends won’t even touch me.”
Judith is a middle-aged woman with lower back pain problem that has persisted for over 8 years. Judith has tried managing the condition with injections, medical pills and physiotherapy sessions. The interventions have not been fruitful as she recently started using a walking stick to attain balance. Judith was referred to our facility by a neighbour and upon MRI imaging, she had spinal fusion surgery recommended. If not treated, the pain will persist which might weaken her walking gait further. Judith is a mother of three children and used to work on their farm for subsistence farming but has since stopped. Her husband is employed as a timber yard operator. The family is not able to raise the total funds needed for her surgery and they appeal for financial assistance.
Grace is a farmer from Kenya. Grace and her husband are both subsistence farmers without an external source of income. Her five children are busy building their own homes. Grace has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Without treatment, the cancer may spread to other organs. A mastectomy, a surgery to remove breast tissue, has been suggested to rid her body of breast cancer and to prevent the cancer from metastasizing. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $816 to cover the cost of a mastectomy for Grace. The procedure is scheduled to take place on October 2nd. After treatment, Grace will hopefully return to a cancer-free life. “I am still asking why cancer chose me,” says Grace.