Steven joined Watsi on December 24th, 2014. 76 other people also joined Watsi on that day! Steven's most recent donation traveled 8,500 miles to support Nathaniel, a father from Kenya, to treat a bone infection.
Steven has funded healthcare for 16 patients in 8 countries.
Steven has funded healthcare for 16 patients in 8 countries.
Nathaniel is a 47-year-old man who lives with his wife and two children a three-room house in Kenya. He worked as a driver until he was injured in an accident in 2014. As a result of his injury, Nathaniel has an infection—known as osteomyelitis—of his lower right leg bone. Typical symptoms of osteomyelitis include recurring pain, redness, swelling, and bone loss. Nathaniel has been to different facilities for treatment; he has even had previous surgeries in our facility. He now needs bone transport surgery to regenerate the bone that he has lost as a result of the infection. Without treatment, Nathaniel will not be able to walk well again. He may also develop a severe infection, which may lead to amputation of his leg. During bone transport surgery, an orthopedic surgeon breaks the involved bone and attaches the bone fragments to an external fixation device. As the fracture begins to heal, the external fixator is adjusted to pull the healing fracture apart approximately one millimeter per day. Separating the fragments in this manner promotes bone growth and results in the restoration of the lost bone over time. Nathaniel has not been able to work since his accident and has to rely on his wife to provide for the family by selling second-hand clothes. His children, who are in college, have to get government bursaries to pay their school fees. The family's financial situation leaves them unable to raise the full amount of money needed for Nathaniel's surgery. He thus appeals for financial support. For $1,500, Nathaniel will undergo bone transport surgery and receive 12 days of hospital care, antibiotic therapy, and physical therapy. “I want to be well and provide for my family," shares Nathaniel. "I would like to relieve my wife of the burden of providing for the family alone."
Di Par is a 14-year-old boy who lives with his mother and three brothers in Burma. He enjoys playing marbles, snapping rubber bands with his younger brothers, listening to music, and visiting with his friends. Di Par enjoys school, but he is only in grade five since his health condition makes it difficult for him to keep up with his classes. Di Par did not present with symptoms until he was five years old. He was easily tired, especially after playing, but his mother did not think it was out of the ordinary and did not seek medical attention for him. When Di Par was 10 years old, the symptoms worsened as he began having difficulty breathing in addition to the fatigue. His mother took him to the clinic where they listened to his heart and detected abnormal heart sounds. He was prescribed medication that seemed to improve his condition, so his mother did not seek further evaluation. In March of 2016, Di Par appeared to go into shock and lost consciousness, and he was brought to the hospital. Although a definitive diagnosis was not made, the physicians thought Di Par might have meningitis and treated him medically. While he was in the hospital, he received a battery of exams: blood tests, urinalysis, CT scan, and X-rays. He also received an echocardiogram, which provided the diagnosis of congestive heart disease — severe tricuspid regurgitation with severe pulmonary stenosis. Di Par was in the hospital for 12 days, and family members helped his mother and brothers pay the hospital costs. Since his hospitalization, Di Par has been experiencing palpitations, fatigue, and difficulty breathing. He is at Mae Tao Clinic (MTC) in the children’s inpatient department. He is also cyanotic with a bluish tinge to his lips and fingers. After evaluation by the medics at MTC, he was referred to Burma Children Medical Fund for surgical consideration. Di Par and his family have lived in their current village for three months; they moved there to be closer to his mother’s sister and to improve chances for employment. Di Par's father passed away several years ago, so the family's financial support comes from his mother, who sells vegetables and flowers in the market, and his older brother, who works as a day laborer. Despite their hard work, the money they earn does not cover daily expenses, savings, or health care costs. His mother has to borrow money at 10 percent interest to meet those costs and is currently in debt. Di Par’s mother is very concerned about him, as he is falling further and further behind with his studies and, more importantly, his condition is becoming more severe. His mother and older brother alternate caring for Di Par, and his younger brothers help with family chores. This arrangement has not yet affected their work schedules, but Di Par's condition will only complicate the family's needs as further care is needed. For $1,500, Di Par will undergo surgery to replace the damaged heart valve and restore proper blood flow through his heart and lungs. Funding also covers the cost of 12 pre- and post-operative consultations, transportation to and from the hospital, and nine days of hospital care after surgery. Di Par's mother looks forward to a successful operation for her son. "My son enjoys teaching his brothers," she shares, "so when he grows up, he may become a teacher in the village."
Tha Dar is a four-year-old boy who lives with his mother, grandmother, and cousin in Burma. Tha Dar is too young to be in school but his cousin is in grade seven. His mother is a shop vender and she is provider for the family. At three years of age, Tha Dar became ill with fever, cough and sneezing. The family took Tha Dar to the clinic in Thaton and he received oral medication and an injection. One day after returning home, he appeared to have a delayed reaction to the treatment as he became rigid. He fell down and had to be supported by his mother. These symptoms lasted for a week and they returned to another clinic. The clinic gave medicine to the mother for Tha Dar and recommended that she seek a consultation with a neurologist to discuss whether he had nerve damage. The clinic provided medicine but didn’t offer any medical diagnosis for Tha Dar. Tha Dar went back and forth to different hospitals and he received physical therapy treatments for over a month, but his condition has not improved. Currently, he cannot lift his left arm and he cannot grab any object with his left arm. He does not feel pain but his mother very worry that he is not be able to use his left hand again. Tha Dar's family was disappointed that they were unable to gain appreciable medical help for Tha Dar's condition in Burma. His mother on the advice of her aunt brought Tha Dar to Mae Sot to visit Mae Tao Clinic (MTC). MTC referred him to Mae Sot Hospital and after visiting Mae Sot Hospital he was referred to Burma Children Medical Fund to be possible surgical patient. Tha Dar has several fractures from his upper arm to his scapula. With $1, 500, the fractures he has will be aligned and allow him to recover his mobility. The family income is sufficient for the family’s basic needs and minor medical concerns; however, they are unable to save any money. Tha Dar’s father is out of the country at this time and presently, he is not sending any money home. Sometimes, the mother’s siblings will help out with finances occasionally. Tha Dar's mother said: "I want my son to go to school next year, get education, and then he can help work in Burma and help the country."
Meet Namayani, a baby girl born in mid-March who lives with her family in Tanzania. "Namayani was born with a lesion on her lower back, which is leaking cerebrospinal fluid," our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF), reports. "She also has hydrocephalus." As many as 90% of children with spina bifida also present with hydrocephalus. Spina bifida is a neural tube defect where part of the tube fails to develop properly, causing defects in the spine. Hydrocephalus occurs when there is a build-up of fluid in the brain, causing the head to swell. Because Namayani has both conditions, she is in need of treatment to prevent her head from increasing in size, as well as to protect her from contracting infections. If she goes untreated, "Namayani could end up blind or completely disabled," says AMHF. Though she's living with two serious conditions, Namayani is a sweet and quiet baby. "She is feeding well and only cries when hungry, wet, or held in a position which is uncomfortable," AMHF shares. To treat both of her conditions, Namayani will undergo surgery to repair the spine defect and will need a ventriculo-peritoneal shunt to drain the excess fluid from the brain to to the abdomen. The procedures, and her hospital stay, will cost $1,200. After treatment, Namayani will no longer be at risk of contracting an infection, and her head will cease to swell. Her parents, who have seven other children, are concerned for their new baby, and are eager to get the correct treatment for their daughter. "We just hope that our daughter will get well and grow up like other children," Namayani's father shares.
Mayda, a 10-year-old girl from Guatemala, is the fourth of seven children. "Mayda's father works as a farm hand, harvesting coffee on their neighbor's plantation," our medical partner, Wuqu’ Kawoq (WK), tells us. “Mayda’s mother cooks, cleans, takes care of the children, and helps harvest coffee.” Two years ago, Mayda underwent successful surgery for a heart murmur, which was funded by Watsi. Recently, she was also diagnosed with epilepsy. Mayda was doing well until last December. "She came home one day from school with a note from the school nurse saying that she had a seizure that lasted several minutes,” WK explains. “She had lost consciousness and did not remember anything. Since then she has had two more seizures at home." Because of these seizures and the resulting symptoms, Mayda has been unable to attend school. With $967, Mayda can receive the medical care and anticonvulsant medications that she requires for a healthier life. She will receive a brain MRI and other diagnostic workup for preliminary testing. She will also receive anti-epileptic medication to control her spastic episodes and to improve her mobility and independence. With treatment, “Mayda will gain control of her body,” WK continues. “This will increase her quality of life and put her on track to receive the education she deserves and live a healthy and productive life.” "We want her to grow well and be healthy,” Mayda’s parents share. “She has already been through so much with her surgery and now her seizures. We just want her to get better."
"Nazrawit fell inside the house about one year ago and sustained an open fracture," our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF), tells us. She is 11 years old and lives in Ethiopia with her large extended family. Since the fall, Nazrawit sustained a tibia fracture and developed osteomyelitis (infection in the bone) due to her lack of treatment. Her open wound has kept her from going to school, as she is unable to walk normally. Without treatment, she will have to leave school permanently and may develop a deformity or possibly have to amputate her leg. $1,470 will cover the surgery, cast, and medication she needs. "When the bone heals, Nazrawit will be able to walk without assistance and live a normal life," AMHF explains. Due to the size of Nazrawit's immediate family, she lives with her maternal aunt, uncle, and cousins. When possible, she likes to help out with the younger children, however it is often difficult due to her condition. "Nazrawit is very eager to learn and is looking forward to going back to school and eventually becoming a teacher," her uncle expresses.
"It has been difficult for my wife to support our family alone over the past year,” says Julius, a 37-year-old man who lives with his wife and two young children in Kenya. “Julius first began having back problems in 2009,” our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF), tells us. “His limbs often become numb, and he cannot bend or lift anything. If not treated, Julius could suffer permanent nerve damage, and this might render him disabled.” Julius has a condition known as spinal disc prolapse, commonly known as a slipped disc or herniated disc. Spinal discs sit between adjacent bones (vertebrae) of the spine. When the fibrous outer covering of the disc weakens, the gel-like core expands and contacts a nerve from the spinal cord, causing pain, weakness, numbness, and tingling in the legs. Julius has not been able to work as a driver since last year because of his condition. To support the family, his wife farms arrowroot to sell and use at home and also works on other farms for additional income. Doctors recommend surgery—laminectomy, discectomy, and spinal fusion—to cut away a portion of the vertebrae and the prolapsed disc and join the adjacent vertebrae. With $1,500, Julius can undergo back surgery and receive 10 days of hospital care and physiotherapy. “We expect that after treatment and recovery,” says AMHF, “Julius will no longer be in pain or suffer numbness. He will be able work again.” “I hope to get well soon so that I can work again and provide for my family," says Julius.
Meet Willis, a 10-month-old Haitian boy with a congenital heart disease. Our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance (HCA), explains, “Willis was born with a cardiac condition called ventricular septal defect, in which a hole exists between the two lower chambers of his heart. Blood leaks through this hole without first passing through the lungs to obtain oxygen, leaving him sickly and weak.” HCA continues, “Willis lives with his mother and father and is their first child. His mother works as a market vendor, and his father repairs vehicles. Although the family has known about his heart problem since birth, they were first told that it would be better to do the surgery when Willis was slightly older. However, he recently became much sicker and is being rushed to surgery earlier than originally planned.” If Willis goes untreated, not only will he become sicker and weaker, but his condition will eventually be fatal. With $1,500 in Watsi funding, along with a $5,000 subsidy from Development for Freedom International, this outcome can be avoided. Willis will undergo open heart surgery, during which a portion of the outer lining of his heart will be sewn over the hole between the lower chambers to seal it. HCA predicts, “Following surgery, Willis should be able to lead a normal life with no further cardiac symptoms.” With treatment, 10-month-old Willis will be much safer and healthier. "I wish I could give gifts to everyone who is helping Willis get better, but I know that God will reward them all even if I can't," shares Willis’ mother.
Meet Zacharia, an eight-year-boy from Kenya whose favorite subject in school is social studies. Zacharia came to our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF), with hypospadias. "Zacharia’s urethral opening is abnormally placed on the ventral side [underside] of his penis, and as a result, he has an irregular stream," explains AMHF. "Passing urine for him is a challenge and leads to teasing by his brother and friends." AMHF adds, "Zacharia is likely to experience urinary tract infections and impotence if not treated." Treatment for hypospadias is surgery. The surgeon takes tissue grafts from the foreskin or from the inside of the mouth to extend the length of the urethra so that it opens at the tip of the penis. Zacharia’s father is retired and receives a monthly pension, but it is not enough to pay for surgery for Zacharia, in addition to the family’s household needs and education expenses for the children. $655 will cover the cost of surgery for Zacharia, as well as 10 days of hospital care. "If treated," says AMHF, "Zacharia will be able to pass urine normally and the risk of urinary tract infections will also reduce." "I don’t want my brother to laugh at me anymore," says Zacharia. "I hope I will be treated."
Meet, Alinafe, a one-year old baby girl living in Malawi. To support the family, “Alinafe’s mother runs a small scale business to earn their living,” shares our medical partner, World Altering Medicine (WAM). At a crucial point in her early childhood development, Alinafe has experienced growth issues as a result of a condition called hydrocephalus. Alinafe was brought to WAM’s clinic when her mother observed a growth on her head. A medical examination confirmed the diagnosis of hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus is a rare neurological medical condition caused by a fluid buildup in a localized area of the brain. Without intervention, the pressure and fluid buildup can lead to long term health complications, especially throughout important stages of childhood development. At this point, Alinafe is beginning to have problems with her vision and is experiencing issues with walking. With, $992, Alinafe will undergo surgery to drain the excess fluid from her brain. This procedure will be done by means of an endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV), which will naturally drain out the blocked fluid. In addition to her operation, Alinafe will receive seven days of hospitalized care as well as all of the necessary preoperative and postoperative examinations required for a safe surgery. This procedure is expected to have a great impact on Alinafe’s childhood growth and overall health, allowing her to “regain her sight and start walking again,” comments WAM. “I am hopeful to have the surgery done,” Alinfe’s mother shares.
"Renette was diagnosed with breast cancer years ago when she felt a bump on her breast that caused severe pain," explains our medical partner, Project Medishare (PM). Renette is a 29-year-old woman from Haiti. "She is interested in cosmetology, and hopes to return to high school before pursuing a vocational education," continues PM. Renette's current focus, however, is recovering from breast cancer. "She is waiting to go to the Dominican Republic to receive radiation therapy and complete her breast cancer treatment," PM reports. Watsi previously funded surgery for the removal of Renette's tumor, but funds are still needed to continue treatment. $1500 will cover the remaining radiation treatment, as well as transportation, housing, and a visa to enter the Dominican Republic for treatment.
“Once my foot is straight, I will go to school and study hard to become a doctor,” says Joseph. Meet Joseph, an energetic 13-year-old boy from Tanzania. Joseph is one of five and is the fourth born child in his family. “Joseph refused to go to school because other children laugh at him whenever they see him walk abnormally,” our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF) explains. “He recently agreed to home schooling so he is now working hard to learn how to read and write.” Joseph has unilateral clubfoot. AMHF explains, “Joseph cannot walk properly because he is using the lateral aspect of his right foot for walking. He can’t wear shoes because his right foot doesn’t fit any regular shoe. If not treated, Joseph’s gait will continue to be affected and he will also be at a risk of developing early osteoarthritis.” “Joseph’s parents are small-scale farmers. They rely on growing maize, beans, potatoes and sunflower. What they earn from farming is not enough to cover their daily expenses as well as the treatment, which Joseph badly needs," AMHF continues. For $1,160, Joseph will be able to walk properly, without the fear of being teased. The cost of treatment covers everything from Joseph’s surgery and hospital stay, to his painkillers and physiotherapy. Let’s help give Joseph access to the healthcare he needs, and help him return to school.