Steven joined Watsi on January 14th, 2015. Seven years ago, Steven joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Steven's most recent donation traveled 8,500 miles to support Peter, a farmer from Kenya, to treat his broken jaw.
Steven has funded healthcare for 20 patients in 9 countries.
Steven has funded healthcare for 20 patients in 9 countries.
Peter is a 34-year-old man from Kenya who works as a farmer on his parents' land. "He also earns some money working on other people’s farms," shares our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF). In May 2016, Peter was in a motorcycle accident that left him with a fractured mandible. He was hospitalized for two weeks and had plates fitted on his jaws. Peter has had difficulty eating. He is not able to work, and has to rely on his brothers for daily upkeep. After he was discharged from the hospital, Peter was advised to come for surgery to repair the broken jaw. With help from family and friends, he has raised $208 towards associated costs with his care, but needs help from Watsi to cover the treatment fee of $660. "If not treated, Peter will continue experiencing pain and numbness on his mandible. He might also get an infection further compromising his health," AMHF says. “I want to be well and continue working and providing for myself," Peter shared.
Two-month-old Lewis was born with a head that was not proportional to his body size as a result of hydrocephalus, a condition in which excess cerebrospinal fluid accumulates in the brain. Unfortunately, Lewis' parents could not access immediate specialized treatment for him; however, after two months they traveled several miles to seek the best treatment. Lewis is irritable as a result of his condition, and he is at increased risk for intracranial pressure that could lead to brain stem compression. He requires a $615 surgery to install a shunt-- a drainage tube that would remove fluid from the brain and relocate it to the abdominal cavity. After the surgery and a five-day hospital stay, Lewis' head will be relieved of excess pressure. Even with the combined income of a hair stylist and a casual construction site laborer, Lewis' parents are not able to raise the funds needed for his surgical care. They have, however, contributed $31 towards the procedure. The family of four lives in a single-room house in Eastern Kenya. Lewis’ parents are seeking help so they can see their son develop like other children-- a dream that will be realized if Lewis receives his surgery. "If there is anything I could do to eliminate the condition my son has and make his life easier and free from suffering, I would," says Lewis' mother. "My hope is that once he gets treated, we will have nothing more to worry about."
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."
Rom is a 52-year-old rice farmer from Cambodia. She is married with two sons, two daughters, and seven grandchildren. Rom enjoys visiting the pagoda to join in ceremonies and listen to the monks pray. She traveled two hours with her husband to reach Watsi's medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre (CSC), for treatment. Five years ago, Rom developed a pterygium-- a growth of pink, fleshy tissue on the white of the eye-- in each eye. The cysts that formed cause her blurred vision and irritation. She can't see clearly, do work well, or travel outside alone. With the income that she makes as a farmer, Rom cannot afford the surgery that will alleviate her condition. She requires $150 for surgeons at CSC to perform a pterygium excision surgery and remove the abnormal tissue from her eyes. After this procedure, which includes a two-day hospital stay, Rom's burning and irritation will subside. Let's help make it happen!
Chhroy is a 66-year-old woman from Cambodia. She is a grandmother with two sons, four daughters, and 12 grandchildren. “Chhroy developed a cataract in each eye 5 years ago. This causes her blurred vision and irritation. She can't see everything clearly, do work well, or go anywhere outside on her own,” explains her doctor at Children's Surgical Centre in Cambodia (CSC). Chhroy traveled to CSC for care, as she is unable to afford the procedure on her own. $225 funds cataract surgery that will remove the cloudy lenses from both of her eyes and replace them with artificial lenses. Funding for her surgery includes post-operative care, and after the surgery, she will be able to see clearly again.
"Magdaline is a vibrant woman who loves teaching," our medical partner, Hope for West Africa (HWA), shares with us. The 43-year-old woman lives in Nigeria with her husband, where she works as a teacher. Recently diagnosed with uterine fibroids, "Magdaline experiences heavy bleeding, painful menstrual cramps, prolonged flow, and has an enlarged abdomen," HWA reports. Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths that form in the walls of the uterus, and can often lead to other conditions, like anemia, if left untreated. Because of the pain she experiences, Magdaline often has to miss some days of work. "She loves teaching and imparting her knowledge to the students," HWA shares. After receiving treatment, she will be able to work without missing days. In order to cure the uterine fibroids, Magdaline will undergo surgery. She will stay in the hospital for seven days for follow-up care. $1,500 will cover the cost of surgery along with the hospital stay. After surgery, "Magdaline looks forward to having the full time with her students as she won't need to be excused from her duties due to her condition," HWA shares with us.
Bishal, a 12-year-old boy from Nepal, is in seventh grade and is a bright student. He enjoys reading Nepali stories, playing volleyball, and eating roti and curry. A few months ago Bishal developed a hernia, a condition where part of the intestine bulges through the abdominal wall. According to our medical partner, Possible, Bishal initially didn’t notice it, but recently he has began to experience pain. “He cannot walk or run long distances,” says his mother. “It also hurts when clothes rub against it or it is touched accidentally.” Bishal’s family lives on a small farm. His mother tends to the farm while his father works in India to support the family. Bishal’s job is to look after and collect fodder for the cattle. If left untreated, hernias not only cause pain but can become strangulated. $491 will fund Bishal’s surgery to reposition his intestine behind the abdominal wall. “Having the surgery will not only prevent Bishal's hernia strangulation but it will also relieve his discomfort,” shares Possible. "I hope Bishal's condition will not cause any complications in future. I wish for his treatment to be successful," said his mother.
“Beautiful, confident, and composed are just a few of the impressions you get when you meet Dorcas,” shares our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare foundation (AMHF). Six-year old Dorcas is also one of the brightest pupils in her class, with aspirations to become a pilot. The last born in a family of five children in Kenya, Dorcas has suffered loss at an early age. At two-months old, Dorcas lost her only then surviving parent - her mother - to a brain tumor. Since then, Dorcas and her siblings are under the care of their elder sister who is only 20 years old. For three years, Dorcas was healthy, until she developed severe headaches, nosebleeds, and seizures, causing her to miss most of her classes. Her condition progressed until her sister had no choice but to reach out to a relative to bring Dorcas to the hospital, as she had no funds to bring her on her own. There, Dorcas was diagnosed with a brain tumor. “Dorcas is at high risk of increased intra-cranial pressure, which is likely to cause brain damage or even death," AMHF says. "She is also at risk of losing her eyesight.” With a small profit made by selling vegetables in a stall near their one room rental house, the family has no additional funds for Dorcas' treatment, and her symptoms are getting worse. Nearly two weeks ago, Dorcas’ left limbs became numb. Her mobility has become infrequent, and she staggers while she walks. $1,260 will pay for Dorcas’ brain surgery. AMHF says that with it, “Dorcas will be relieved from experiencing severe headaches, nose bleeds and seizures; she might also regain use of her hand and leg.” “If only I was informed earlier, maybe it could have been less severe...we are not too late though, Dorcas will be well again. Our plea is for financial help,” says Dorcas’ aunt.
38-year-old Dah lives in Burma with her husband, her 18-year-old niece, and her three children. Our medical partner, Burma Border Projects (BBP), says that both Dah’s niece and 13-year-old daughter are in school. To support the family, Dah’s son earns a modest income working as a hunter. This past August, Dah felt a palpable mass in her abdomen caused by ovarian cysts. When her symptoms persisted, Dah initially sought medical care locally, but her condition was misdiagnosed and left untreated. Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled masses that develop within the uterus. BBP explains that without treatment, “Dah's abdomen is growing bigger everyday and she suffers from back pain. She did not want to seek treatment for her condition in Burma, because she knows that she would not be able to afford the medical costs.” For $1,500, Dah will receive a total abdominal hysterectomy--removing her uterus, cervix, and painful masses during a single operation. This treatment will alleviate Dah’s immediate symptoms and prevent her condition from recurring in the future. “Following surgery for ovarian cysts, Dah will no longer have bloating of her stomach and back pain,” BBP states. “After recovering, she will be able to commence looking for work in a local clinic.” Burma Children's Medical Fund, an organization that facilitates the transportation and treatment of Burmese people at Thai hospitals, is subsidizing this surgery by $1,421. "I want to get surgery for my condition so I don’t have to worry about that anymore," Dah shares. "When I have recovered from that, I would like to start working in a clinic and helping people. My first priority now is to get healthy and feel better. Then, I can continue with my dreams.”
Linda is a three-year-old girl from Guatemala. A few years ago, Linda's older sister passed away from symptoms consistent with Rett syndrome, a neurodevelopmenal disorder resulting in delayed development. However, she was never properly diagnosed, as her family could not afford diagnostic tests. Linda is now showing the same symptoms as her sister. Linda was born a seemingly healthy child, however, “Around the age of 2 1/2 she started to lose development milestones—she used to be able to talk and walk and slowly that dissolved,” says our medical partner, Wuqu' Kawoq (WK). "Now, she has lost the ability to walk, talk or communicate in any way. She has muscle contraction in her hands and legs and has difficulty controlling her movements." WK suspects that Linda has a metabolic disorder such as Tay-Sachs disease or Rett syndrome. Given Linda’s sister’s early death and her mother’s pregnancy history, Rett syndrome is a possible diagnosis. A confirmed diagnosis is needed to help Linda and her family plan how to best care for her. With $1385, Linda will receive a full workup screening for conditions associated with developmental delays, receive routine physical therapy, and receive anti-epileptic medication to decrease muscle convulsions and allow her more comfort. “I will take her anywhere, wherever she needs to go to get care,” says Linda’s mother. “If it’s for her I want to fight."
Meet Justin, a two-year old baby boy from Kenya. Justin is “the first born to a young couple,” shares our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF). AMHF shares that Justin is a very active baby boy, and fell from his bed accidentally on October 3rd, fracturing his right elbow. He specifically has a right displaced supracondylar fracture, a frequent injury in children and that often leads to complications if not treated quickly. Justin requires an open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) to fix his elbow. This first puts the broken bone back into place, and then places a fixation device on the bone to prevent it from moving. "His mother is a college student and his father is currently jobless: Justin's father used to do casual work at a cyber café," AMHF reports. They rely on their parents for support, and are unable to pay for Justin's surgery on their own. $1,125 will fund treatment to heal Justin's bones. The cost of the treatment includes surgical, hospital, and all medication costs. “We expect after an ORIF, Justin will recover fully. He will no longer be in pain, and his hand will heal well. He will be able to use it again. Justin will have a chance to grow up normally and healthy,” says AMHF. “This is my first baby and I am distressed because of his suffering from this pain," Justin's mother shares. "I hope we can get financial assistance and the surgery will be successful. I can’t wait to see my child able to use his hand again, so that he can grow up like other children.”
"Fabrice became very ill with rheumatic fever when he was 13 years old," shares our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance (HCA). "This fever severely damaged his mitral and aortic valves, leaving his heart unable to properly pump blood through his body. As a result, he has been very weak and unable to attend school for the past five years." "18-year-old Fabrice lives in Haiti with his grandmother and his aunt. He lost his parents when he was young," HCA continues. "He has many friends even though he cannot attend school. He likes watching soccer on TV and would like to study to become either an engineer or a doctor." $1,500 will fund overseas transportation and preparation for Fabrice's heart surgery. Maine Medical Center has contributed $25,000 to fund the procedure itself. "Following surgery, Fabrice will require lifelong anticoagulation and blood testing but should otherwise be able to lead a full and normal life," HCA adds.