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John Utterback

MONTHLY DONORDesigner/Photographer

United States   •   •   Born on March 31

John's Story

John joined Watsi on January 29th, 2015. Five years ago, John became the 881st member to automatically support a new Watsi patient every month. Since then, 5,128 more people have become monthly donors! John's most recent donation traveled 8,800 miles to support Ha, a factory worker from Cambodia, for mobility-restoring leg surgery on both of his legs.


John has funded healthcare for 19 patients in 8 countries.

All patients funded by John


Lyamuleme is a 65-year-old husband and father who cultivates beans and groundnuts in Uganda. He sometimes works as a casual laborer to supplement his farm income. One year ago, Lyamuleme developed a swelling in his scrotum that continues to increase in size. He experiences occasional pain and a great deal of discomfort because of the swelling. As result, he is unable to walk long distances, and he has to wear larger trousers. Lyamuleme has a hydrocele, a sac of watery fluid around one or both testicles that causes swelling in the scrotum or groin. The fluid comes from the abdomen and travels along the same paths that the testes follow when they descend into the scrotum before or shortly after birth. Hydroceles can occur at any age, and their cause is generally unknown. At the start of 2016, Lyamuleme visited a health center and was advised to have surgery. He could not afford to pay for the procedure, as the swelling and his advancing age prevent him from working as much as he used to. On the advice of his younger brother (who underwent surgery funded by Watsi earlier this year), he came to Holy Family Virika Hospital to seek assistance for his condition. For $215, Lyamuleme will undergo a hydrocele repair to decrease the scrotal swelling. The surgeon will make a small incision in his scrotum to remove the sac of fluid and then use stitches to close the path between the scrotum and abdomen so that no more fluid can accumulate. Funding also covers the cost of a two-week hospital stay and medicine to prevent infection. "I feel uncomfortable because of my condition," shares Lyamuleme. "After surgery, I hope to [feel comfortable again] and to continue working to produce food."

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Meet Frank, an active five-year-old boy from Tanzania. He enjoys coloring pictures and playing with balls, and lives with his parents and three siblings on their small farm. A few years ago, Frank began developing leg problems that impaired his ability to walk. "He was born without any deformities but his parents noticed something was wrong when Frank turned one," says our medical partner African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF). "He was able to sit and stand, he was even holding on to things and taking a few steps, but slowly his limbs started getting weak. Then they saw his limbs were bowed inwards preventing him from walking." Frank's parents took him to the hospital where he was diagnosed with genu valgus, also known as knocked knees. This is an abnormal bone development where knee joints and thighbones weaken and become misaligned, and make it very difficult to walk. "Frank delayed to start walking and when he eventually started to walk, his gait was not normal," explains AMHF. "Frank's parents are small scale farmers trying their best to take good care of their children. Coming up with enough cash to cover the cost of operation which Frank needs has been a challenge," AMHF shares. $940 will pay for a combination of surgery and casting to cut and realign Frank's bones and joints. This will allow him to walk properly without knocking his knees, and will reduce the risk of developing osteoarthritis at a young age. Frank's family is very hopeful for his operation. "In our village, we get from one point to the next mainly by walking. We hope that our son will have the ability to walk properly so that he can walk to school in the future," says Frank's father.

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Mary Gold

This is Mary Gold, a 39-year-old woman who lives in the Philippines. Mary Gold has an angiomyolipoma, a common variety of benign tumor, in her right kidney. “Mary Gold is experiencing a tingling pain in her right flank area, which she rated an eight out of ten on the pain scale. Furthermore, she has a mass that has been growing for the past seven months,” explains our medical partner, International Care Ministries (ICM). Although this type of tumor is benign, it can impair kidney functionality or even lead to the dilation and eventual rupture of blood vessels in the area. ICM reports, “Mary Gold’s daily activities are limited because of her condition. With an enlarged abdomen, it is uncomfortable for her to move around and perform necessary activities such as household chores, laundry, and fetching water.” For $1,395, we can fund surgery to remove Mary Gold’s right kidney. “With treatment, she will be freed from the pain her tumor brings and from the increasing possibility of bleeding," ICM says. ICM describes Mary Gold as “responsible and patient in taking care of her family.” They continue that she “really wants peace with everyone. Whenever her husband gets angry, she always walks out of the room so as to avoid arguments. Whenever she has nothing else to do, she usually entertains herself by watching TV shows.” “I really want to be well. Though there is a strong feeling of fear, I am trying to stay strong. I am excited to be well and take care of my family without out pain,” Mary Gold explains.

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