Gabriela PeñaUNIVERSAL FUND MEMBER
Gabriela's Story

Gabriela joined Watsi on December 7th, 2015. Eight years ago, Gabriela joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Gabriela's most recent donation traveled 9,000 miles to support Dorica, a farm worker from Malawi, to fund thyroid surgery.

Impact

Gabriela has funded healthcare for 100 patients in 14 countries.

Patients funded by Gabriela

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.

$1,015raised
Fully funded

Ko Tin is a 34-year-old man from Burma. He lives with his parents and his younger brother in a village in Yangon Division, Burma. He used to be a driver before his condition got worse but now he has stopped. Currently, Ko Tin is living with his parents who are farmers and support him. The whole family’s income is just enough for their basic expenses and basic health care. Ko Tin has a wife who went to Thailand for work about four months ago but he has lost contact with her. When he has the energy and free time, Ko Tin likes playing football with friends. Ko Tin was diagnosed with a heart condition that requires replacement of the mitral valve, the valve between the left atrium and left ventricle. This valve controls the flow of blood, but certain conditions may cause blood to flow backward or the valve to narrow. In mid October, Ko Tin experienced fever, cough, body pain, difficult breathing, and severe fatigue when he walks a short distance. After he visited the cardiologist in Yangon Hospital, he was diagnosed with mitral valve regurgitation and doctor recommend that he should receive surgery. Currently, Ko Tin feels tired, coughs often, and is experiencing difficult breathing. Sometimes, he feels pain from his legs and his arms, and he cannot sleep well at night. He will feel extremely fatigued with shortness of breath when he lays down on the floor. He also cannot walk long distances. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund a mitral valve replacement for Ko Tin. The treatment is scheduled to take place at Pun Hlaing Hospital on December 3rd and, once completed, will hopefully allow him to live more comfortably. Ko Tin said, “I would like to recover as soon as possible. My parents are worried about me, and they have difficulty earning enough money to pay for my treatment. I hope my wife to return, and I would like to live as a happy family.”

$1,500raised
Fully funded