Caitlin joined Watsi on September 24th, 2016. Six years ago, Caitlin joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Caitlin's most recent donation traveled 8,200 miles to support Misgana, a sweet baby girl from Ethiopia, to fund corrective surgery so she can grow up healthy.
Caitlin has funded healthcare for 74 patients in 11 countries.
Caitlin has funded healthcare for 74 patients in 11 countries.
Misgana is a 15-month-old girl from Ethiopia. She is a happy and friendly baby. She has one older sister she loves to play with, and she also loves playing with her dolls. Her mom makes injera (a traditional Ethiopian food) for a living. She brings her two daughters along with her to work because she has no one to look after them while she is away. Misgana's dad is a farmer and they live in a rented house. Misgana was born with an anorectal malformation, a congenital abnormality that leads to a complete or partial intestinal blockage. She needs to undergo a series of procedures to eliminate bowel dysfunction. Misgana underwent emergency colostomy surgery at BethanyKids Myungsung Christian Medical Centre (BKMCM) and now needs to have her next stage of treatment to fully heal. Her mom shared how difficult this has been on their family psychologically and that they cannot afford Misgana's medical bill. Fortunately, Misgana is now scheduled to undergo surgery to correct her condition on July 7th. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $1,500 to cover the total cost of Misgana's procedure and care. After her recovery, Misgana will no longer experience bowel dysfunction or be at risk of developing related health complications in the future. Her mom says “I hope my child will heal and grow. I want her to learn about God. And I wish she will get a good education and become a teacher.”
Thay is a one-year-old girl from Burma. She lives with her parents, grandfather, three sisters and a brother in a village. Thay's mother looks after her and her brother at home, her grandfather is retired, and her sisters go to school. Thay's father works as a porter, but has has difficulty finding work for over a month. With the increasing number of internally displaced people settling in their village due to the humanitarian crisis, there are now many individuals competing for the same work. When Thay was around eight months old, her parents noticed that her head was increasing in size. As a result, Thay cannot yet sit up or crawl. She is only able to turn her head, and will cry if she cannot see her parents. Thay was recently diagnosed with hydrocephalus, which has causes fluid to build up in her brain. Without immediate surgery to alleviate the intracranial pressure, Thay is at risk of developing severe, potentially fatal medical complications. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund the insertion of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt for Thay, which will drain the fluid that has accumulated in her brain. The procedure is scheduled to take place on May 20th and, once completed, will greatly improve Thay's quality of life as she grows up. Thay's father said, "I am thankful to every organisation and everyone for supporting my daughter’s treatment cost. Because of you, I believe that my daughter will receive surgery and be healthy and live a normal life after treatment."
Gebreegziabher is a brave, young, and fun boy who loves to hangout with his friends. He loves to play chase and other games with his friends and brothers. He has five siblings and shared with us that he loves goats! Gebreegziabher never went to school because of his condition. He is a shepherd and helps to keep the sheep and goats of his parents. Because of his condition, he has endured bullying, but he continues to be brave and his dad shared: “He is so strong despite his sickness. When others pick on him and speak bad things about him and things related to his disease he even gets in to fights.” Gebreegziabher's mom and dad counsel him and comfort him and help him to bring out self-confidence and strength. His dad and his mom are farmers and his mom takes care of all the household chores. Dad said: “Our area is dry. We work hard and farm but the harvest is poor with lack of rain. We purchase food because our harvest is not enough to support the family.” They also raise animals to support themselves. The community survives with the dry land and the scarcity of food by donations from the government and NGOs. But the past two years they couldn’t get the donation since they are in the war zone. For these reasons they can’t afford the medical bill for their son. Gebreegziabher was born with congenital anomaly called bladder extrophy. That is an abnormally where the bladder is open to air. Given the pain and risk of infection, he just ties clothes around the wound. His mom is very much worried and concerned because of his condition. She shared that she has excluded herself from the community for years in taking care of him and raises him and recalls that when growing up, he would sit faraway from others and boys in his age. They keep up hope for better days ahead and are a loving family who support each other the best they can. His Dad said: “He learned to exclude himself from others growing up. We are sad as a family because of his condition. The neighbor insults us, discriminate us and we feel so sad about this. We couldn’t tell what will happen to him. And we bring him to God always.”
Darensky is a 10-year-old student from Haiti. He lives with his mother and grandparents in a neighborhood of Port-au-Prince. He is in the third grade and likes building things and making crafts. Darensky has a cardiac condition called patent ductus arteriosus and tracheal ring. Two holes exists between two major blood vessels near his heart; blood leaks through this hole without first passing through his lungs, leaving him weak and oxygen-deprived. The treatment that Darensky needs is not available in Haiti, so he will fly to United States to undergo surgery. Many years ago he had one hole closed so this is the second surgery he needs, and his family has been waiting for this moment for a long time. Fortunately, on March 10th, Darensky will undergo cardiac surgery, during which surgeons will close the remaining hole that leaks blood between his two main blood vessels at the same time. During the surgery, he will also have a muscular blockage removed from his trachea that affects his ability to breathe. Another organization, Akron Children's Hospital, is contributing $12,000 to help pay for surgery. Darensky's family also needs help to fund the costs of surgery prep. The $1,500 bill covers labs, medicines, and checkup and followup appointments. It also supports passport obtainment and the social workers from our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance, who will accompany Darensky's family overseas. HIs mother told us: "I am very happy to know that after this surgery my son will finally be able to run and play normally!"
Sioni is a 17-month old girl and the only child to her young mother. Sioni's mom never had a chance to go to school herself, and is the second wife to her husband, who has two wives and seven children. Sioni's father is a livestock keeper and a small-scale farmer. They come from a Maasai community where health facilities are a long distance away, and frequently are unable to go to hospitals due to financial challenges. Due to this reality, Sioni was born at home through the help of midwives. Sioni was born with clubfoot on both feet. Clubfoot is a congenital musculoskeletal condition in which the foot is twisted out of shape. This causes patients to have a great deal of difficulty walking and wearing shoes. Fortunately, Sioni's family traveled to our medical partner's care center, Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre, where she will receive treatment for her condition. There, on February 18th, surgeons will perform clubfoot repair surgery on both of Sioni's feet. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $935 to fund Sioni's clubfoot repair. After treatment, she will be able to walk easily, and grow up to run and play like other children. Sioni’s mother says, “I would like my daughter to be like other children.”
Kiliani is the last-born in a large family of seven children. He was born prematurely along with a twin brother, who sadly did not survive. Kiliani works hard and is now in class three in school. His best subject is mathematics. Currently, he walks to school every day on his crutches because he cannot use his right leg. Kilani was born with a condition impacting his leg and was further made challenging when he had a fracture when learning to crawl. When he was young, his parents tried to seek treatment for him but due to financial challenges, they were not able to continue with treatment. Unfortunately, Kiliani has lived with this condition until now, enduring a lot of pain. Their family depends on small-scale farming where they raise their food for daily use. They are working hard to make ends meet due to the change weather where they live, which is affecting the amount of harvest each year. Our medical partner met Kiliani through a community outreach program. After a medical team reviewed his condition, he has been scheduled to have amputation below his knee which will enable him to use a prosthetic leg. This will make walking for him easier and relieve him from the challenges he is going through. Kiliani’s father says “If this treatment can help my son have ease in walking, please help make it possible, we cannot afford the cost of treatment.”
Bancy shared with us that she has been a widow since 1990 when her husband passed on. She raised her children on her own and they are all adults now. Bancy does small-scale farming on her one-acre ancestral piece of land. Bancy looks uneasy and eager to get treatment. She's had stomach pains for the last ten years. She says the prolonged stomach upsets are making her uncomfortable and in pain. The pain has been on and off but worsened this year. She was diagnosed with Pyloric Stenosis, a condition in which the opening between the stomach and small intestine thickens. Last month before visiting Kijabe Hospital, she had a series of painful instances. She visited a national referral hospital in Nairobi where she was reviewed and an endoscopy requested. She was scheduled for surgery but the cost was too high. She opted to try our medical partner's care center Kijabe Hospital where the same surgical operation can be carried out. There she can undergo a procedure called gastric antiectomy to finally heal her condition. Bancy is appealing for financial assistance. She shared, "For the last ten years, I have had prolonged stomach pains that are so uncomfortable. I have sought several interventions but so far have not received any help. I'm hopeful this surgery is my likely solution to my decade-old problem."
Hannah is a farmer and the 62-year-old mother of four kids. All her children are now grown. She lost her husband in 2014 who was the sole breadwinner for their family. Hannah does not have a job and grows food crops for home use. She depends on her children and some relatives to help pay for her medical bills. Hannah was using her husband's medical insurance but since his death, she has no medical coverage. She recently registered for a national insurance program, but it will be not be eligible for funding for at least a month or longer and her surgery is urgent. Hannah first started feeling a painless lump on her left breast in early 2020 but she did not feel alarmed. She felt better but seven months ago, the painful swelling recurred. She went to a government facility and then Hannah recently visited Kijabe Hospital. Doctors their ordered several tests including a CT scan and core biopsy which revealed cancer of the left breast. She needs surgery to control the spread of the cancer. Hannah 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, is requesting $,1110 to cover the cost of a mastectomy for Hannah. The procedure is scheduled to take place on November 24th. After treatment, Hannah will hopefully return to a cancer-free life. Hannah says, “I worry I have nothing to smile about. I am scared and in pain. If left untreated, this cancer will spread and even cause death. I need this surgery urgently to stop this.”
Elia is a three-year-old boy and the youngest child in a family of three children. Eli's mother sells sugar, salt, tea leaves and kerosene to people in her village to provide for the family. Elia has clubfoot of his right foot. Clubfoot is a condition in which the foot is twisted out of shape causing difficulty walking and even wearing shoes. Due to financial challenges, his parents have never been able to seek treatment for their son. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH) is helping Elia receive treatment. He traveled to visit AMH's care center after a passerby who saw him struggling to walk recommended the place to their family with hopes he could be treated. On October 8th, surgeons will perform clubfoot repair surgery. After treatment, Elia will be able to walk easily. Now, AMH is requesting $935 to fund Elia's procedure and care. Elia’s mother shared, "I am struggling alone to find food for my children. Getting the money need to cover the treatment cost is not something I can afford."
Angel is a three-year old girl and the firstborn in a family of two. Her younger sister is only three months old. Her mother is a homemaker without a source of income and her father is a driver at a local tea plantation. They live in a two-room house costing $50 a month and have been relying on her father's employer to help pay their bills. On September 17th, Angel suffered 2nd-degree burns. Angel's mother was preparing bathing water for her and her little sister. Her mother poured hot water into a basin and had gone to get cold water to cool the bathing water. While away, Angel unknowingly stepped into the basin with the hot water and got burnt. Angel sustained burns on about 12% of her total body surface area (TBSA), including to her gluteal region, her feet, and her right hand. Due to these injuries she is unable to sit and she sleeps on her belly. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), is helping Angel receive treatment. On September 23rd, surgeons will perform a debridement and skin graft procedure to help her heal well and be able to sit again. Now, Angel's family needs help to fund this $1,185 procedure. Angel’s mother says, “I want to see my little angel grow into a successful lady. She is constantly crying because of the pain and discomfort. I hope this surgery relieves her of these predicaments.”
Elsa is a 9-year-old boy from Ethiopia. He loves to play football with his dad and other kids. He is the first born in a family of three. His father is a daily laborer and his mother takes care of their house and family. Elsa and his family live in a rented house. Their family shared with us that Elsa does not go to school because his father hides him from the community for fear of gossip and stigma due to his birth condition. His parents are highly affected psychologically as a result of his affliction. His father is planning to send him to school in September after his surgery and recovery. Elsa was born with hypospadias, a congenital abnormality. Without treatment, he will continue to experience uncomfortable symptoms and will be at risk of infertility. Elsa had his first stage of hypospadias repair surgery in January and is now planned for a second stage surgery. He will be healthy and active after this treatment. Elsa is scheduled to undergo corrective surgery on August 31st. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,293 to cover the total cost of his procedure and care. His father said, “I hope my child goes to school after the treatment. I hope he will mingle and play with other children and that will make him happy, break his isolation, and resolve the tension in his mind. If God wills he will be a doctor.”
Paw is a 59-year-old woman who lives with her husband, son, daughter-in-law and two granddaughters in a refugee camp. In her free time, Paw like to feed her three chickens and sing gospel songs. She also loves looking after her granddaughters at home when their mother is teaching. On a late evening earlier this month, Paw was walking home in the rain when she slipped and fell on the muddy road. She accidentally hit her forehead against a tree stump and tried to break her fall by sticking out her right arm. Right after she fell, Paw experienced a sharp pain in her right arm and forehead. Her son and daughter-in-law brought her to the camp hospital, where Paw was given stitches for her forehead as well as pain medication, and her arm was put in a splint and a sling. The medic then referred her to another hospital, where she was finally admitted at two days later when a car became available to take her. At the hospital, Paw received a X-Ray and was told that her right wrist is broken and requires surgery. With her hand wrapped in a bandage, she was referred to our medical partner's care center, Chiang Mai Hospital, for further treatment. Currently, Paw cannot move her right wrist, not even to lift her hand. Without more pain medication, her hand and forearm experience severe pain with any movement, so Paw has to be careful to keep her right hand straight. Because of this, Paw cannot complete her daily chores nor look after her grandchildren. Fortunately, with the help of our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, Paw will undergo surgery to reset her fractured bones and ensure proper healing. The procedure is scheduled for July 23rd and will cost $1,500. This surgery will help Paw move her hand around and resume her daily activities again with ease. “I want to get well soon so that I can go back to taking care of my grandchildren,” Paw said. “They are waiting for me at home to go back to my daily life. Now, I have to come for my treatment and there's nobody look after them. It is hard for my daughter in-law.”