Andrew joined Watsi on March 12th, 2013. Eight years ago, Andrew joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Andrew's most recent donation traveled 8,300 miles to support Saw Myo, a 14-year-old boy from Burma, to fund surgery to remove a spinal tumor so he can live without pain and go to school.
Andrew has funded healthcare for 95 patients in 13 countries.
Andrew has funded healthcare for 95 patients in 13 countries.
Saw Myo is a 14-year-old boy from Burma. He lives with his grandparents, parents, two sisters and a brother in a village in Karen State in eastern Burma. His grandparents are retired, and his father is a farmer who grows paddy and rubber trees on their own land. Saw Myo’s mother is a homemaker, while his two sisters and his brother go to school. The family income is just enough to cover their daily expenses. They cannot afford to pay for basic healthcare. Saw Myo used to go to school but stopped attending since his condition worsened in 2021. Saw Myo has had a lump at his lower spinal cord since he was nine years old, when he was hit by a slingshot in that area. He was given a medicinal ointment by a traditional healer which appeared to stop the lump from growing and helped with the stiffness temporarily. When Saw Myo was 12 years old, he fell off of his bicycle. He did not have any cuts or bruises but felt stiffness along his spinal cord. Afterwards, the lump appeared to be growing in size again. He was seen at a local clinic and then at a clinic in Hpa-An in January 2021, where he had an X-ray. The doctor suspected a spinal cord problem, so they encouraged Saw Myo and his mother to follow up with a computerized tomography (CT) scan at the Yangon Orthopedic Hospital in Yangon. Due to Covid-19, Saw Myo was unable to get in for a CT scan. Saw Myo’s parents did not want to give up, so they went to the Asia Royal Hospital, also in Yangon. Again, they were told that Saw Myo’s condition could not be treated locally. Finally, they returned to their home without receiving treatment. Saw Myo’s mother then contacted a medic who works at Mae Tao Clinic (MTC) in Mae Sot, Thailand, who is originally from their village. The medic told her to bring Saw Myo to the clinic as soon as possible. They spent the next few months trying to raise money, borrowing from family and neighbours. Doctors recommended Saw Myo to undergo an MRI, an imaging procedure that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce images of bodily organs. After analyzing the MRI, the doctors recommended Saw Myo undergo surgery to remove the tumor on his back. The tumor is cancerous, and Saw Myo will need to undergo chemotherapy after his surgery. Currently, Saw Myo is suffering a lot. He has to be careful when sitting because his whole back along his spinal cord is painful if he does not sit down slowly, and he can only sit for short periods of time before his back begins to ache. The lump is not painful to touch, but when he lays down on his right side, he has to support the lump with a pillow, making it difficult for him to sleep. He also has backpain if he has to walk for more than 15 minutes. Saw Myo sought treatment through our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund. He is now scheduled to undergo mass removal surgery on November 24th and his family needs $1,500 to cover the cost of his procedure and care. Saw Myo said, "I enjoy going to school and my favourite subject is mathematics. I hope that I will be able to go to school after my treatment. I would also like to raise chickens and cows to help my family in the future."
Socheata is an adorable 3-year-old. Her father is a construction worker and currently works abroad in Korea, while her mother stays home with Socheata to care for her and her older sister. Socheata enjoys playing with toys with her sister and friends, watching cartoons on TV, and going to the market with her mother. Her favorite meal is eggs and fresh milk. In 2020, Socheata was in an accident that burned her left hand. Her mother took her to a local hospital for care; however, burn scar contractures have developed, tightening the skin around her affected finger. As a result, it is difficult for Socheata to use her finger, and she cannot hold objects. When Socheata's family learned about our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre (CSC), they traveled for two hours seeking treatment. On May 13th, surgeons at CSC will perform a burn contracture release surgery to enable Socheata to use her finger easily again. CSC is requesting $495 to fund this procedure. Socheata's family gathered $100 to contribute to her care. Socheata's mother shared, "I feel bad because Socheata was with me when she burned her finger, and I am responsible for her pain. I hope the hospital can fix her finger, and she will be able to use it like other children."
Nancy is a small-scale farmer from Kenya. Together with her elderly husband, they grow food crops for home use on their half-acre piece of land. She is a mother of eight children who are all adults. All her children don’t have a stable source of income at the moment. She needs care but does not have medical coverage and hasn't been able to raise the required amount for treatment. In early July this year, Nancy was tripped by her dog and fell on a stone, hurting the left side of her hip. She sustained a left sub-trochanteric fracture that is making her immobile. This is a fracture of the proximal femur located a few centimeters from the hip. She was taken to a nearby health facility and had an x-ray done after review. She was then referred to our medical partner's care center Kijabe Hospital for surgery. She is unable to walk and is currently using a wheelchair and although jovial and smiling, she is in pain. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner can help. On September 30th, Nancy will undergo a fracture repair procedure, called an open reduction and internal fixation. This procedure will relieve her of her pain and help her walk easily again. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,500 to fund this procedure. Nancy says, “I am unable to walk. I am desperate, and also struggling to pay for my treatment. I need this treatment to be able to get out of this wheelchair.”
Meet Djounailena, an 11-year-old girl who lives with her parents and two sisters in a small city on the west coast of Haiti. Djounailena is currently in fifth grade and shares that she aspires to become a teacher when she grows up! As a result of a bout of rheumatic fever, Djounailena developed a cardiac condition called rheumatic mitral regurgitation. Since her rheumatic fever was not treated quickly enough, one of the four valves of her heart was severely damaged. This now causes her to experience weakness and shortness of breath because her heart cannot adequately pump blood throughout her body. Fortunately, Djounailena is scheduled to fly to the Cayman Islands where she will undergo cardiac surgery at Health City Cayman Islands on September 13th. Surgeons will initially attempt to repair her damaged valve; however, if they are unsuccessful, an artificial replacement valve will be implanted. A portion of the cost of Djounailena's treatment is being supported by Have a Heart Cayman. Our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance (HCA), is raising the remaining $1,500 to cover the costs of her surgery prep, which includes all labs, medication, check-up and follow-up appointments, and the passports needed for HCA’s social workers to accompany Djounailena and her family overseas. Djounailena's mother says, "Our family is all praying for our daughter's heart to be healthy after the surgery is finished."
Alejandro is a tech-savvy 11-year-old boy from western Bolivia who just finished fifth grade. He loves everything related to computers and video games. He lives with his parents, who are both schoolteachers, and his two younger brothers. Alejandro was born with a ventricular septal defect, a cardiac condition in which a hole exists between the two lower chambers of the heart. Blood leaks through this hole without first passing through the lungs to obtain oxygen, leaving him feeling weak and short of breath. Fortunately, Alejandro is scheduled to undergo heart surgery on July 27th with the support of our long-standing medical partner Haiti Cardiac Alliance, which is now growing and expanding into Bolivia. Surgeons will close the hole with a patch, allowing blood to properly flow through his body and improving his quality of life. Another organization, Gift of Life International, is contributing $2,500 to pay for a portion of Alejandro's procedure costs. Our medical partner is requesting $1,500 to cover the remaining costs, which cover surgical expenses, cardiac exams, medications, and travel fees so Alejandro and his family can travel to receive his life-changing cardiac procedure in La Paz. Alejandro shares, "I am excited to be allowed to play soccer once I have recovered from my surgery!"
Wilna is a 13-year-old student from Haiti. Her family lives in a rural area in northwest Haiti, as Wilna's parents both work as farmers. Wilna is in the sixth grade and enjoys her math and social studies classes. Wilna has a cardiac condition called severe mitral regurgitation, which means one of Wilna's heart valves was damaged due to an infection she experienced earlier in childhood. As a result, Wilna's heart is not adequately pumping blood through her body. The care that she needs is not available in Haiti, but fortunately, Wilna will fly to the Dominican Republic to receive treatment. On July 26th, she will undergo cardiac surgery, during which surgeons will either repair her damaged heart valve or implant an artificial replacement, so that her heart can pump blood normally. Wilna's family is requesting assistance to cover the costs of her surgery prep, as our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance (HCA), is contributing the funds to cover the cost of surgery. HCA is requesting $1,500 to cover Wilna's surgery prep, which includes all labs, medication, check-up and follow-up appointments, and the passports needed for HCA's social workers to accompany Wilna and her family overseas. Wilna shared, "I am glad to be having this surgery so that I will be able to walk without feeling tired."
Gay is a one-year-old boy living with his family in a refugee camp. His family is originally from Burma, but they left for Thailand due to conflict in the area. Gay lives with his parents, grandparents, aunt, uncle, and brother. Gay and his brother are too young to go to school, so they stay home with their mother. Gay's aunt and uncle are in school, while his father and grandfather work on a farm near the refugee camp. Gay was born with an inguinal hernia. The condition causes him severe pain, and he often cries, so his mother sits quietly with him to help reduce the pain he is experiencing. Gay needs to undergo surgery to finally heal. Fortunately, our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF), can help Gay receive treatment. On May 27th, he will undergo hernia repair surgery to help him live more comfortably in the future. BCMF is requesting $1,500 to fund his procedure and care. Gay's mother shared, “I have to be with him constantly. He cries and does not let anyone else hold him except me. I also have to look after my mother and sister, and sometimes we do not have time to cook. I cannot take care of everyone. I felt so happy when I heard that an organization will pay for my son's surgery. I would like to say thank you to all the donors who will help my son. I believe my son will get better soon and that he will grow up without feeling ashamed of himself due to his condition. I want him to become an educated person in the future.”
Dismas is a boda boda taxi driver from Kenya. He is a bright and hardworking young man from a highland region in Elgeyo Marakwet County. Dismas is the third born in a family of four. He studied up to the 7th grade in primary school, but then had to stop attending due to the school fees. Now he lives in a rental house with his wife and their son. His parents live in a place far from him in a semi-arid area, and he moved to look for work and to earn a living. Before his recent accident, Dismas was employed as a motorcycle driver and his limited wages enabled him to sustain his family and give his parents a little support. After a severe road traffic accident about three weeks ago, Dismas was taken to the hospital on a stretcher and is still unable to walk. The bill for his care has been accumulating and he had no funds to pay due to his current state and inability to work. Well-wishers helped him pay the bill and he was discharged home with his fracture stabilized on a splint. One of his brothers reached out to a friend who knew of our medical partner's care center, Kapsowar Hospital, and he was brought in to see if they could help him. An x-ray found that he sustained fractures of the distal tibia and fibula. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner can help. On April 26th, Dismas will undergo a fracture repair procedure, called an open reduction and internal fixation. After he heals from this surgery, he will be able to walk easily again. Now, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $1145 to fund this procedure. Dismas says, "It really hurts when I see my family suffering. I am worried about their future if my condition doesn’t change. Kindly help me get well so that they may not be impacted even more.”
Romeo is a 67-year-old former carpenter and driver from the Philippines. Romeo has five children, and one his sons lives with and supports Romeo through part-time work as a call center agent. In January, Romeo was diagnosed with a hernia, a condition that causes Romeo severe pain on the left side of his abdomen. Romeo has had to stop working due to worsening symptoms. Fortunately, on March 30th, Romeo will undergo hernia repair surgery at our medical partner's care center, Our Lady of Peace Hospital. Our medical partner, World Surgical Foundation Philippines, is helping Romeo raise $1,130 to fund this life altering surgery. Once completed, this procedure will allow him to live more comfortably and confidently. Romeo's son shared, "We pray and hope that this treatment will be the way for my father's body to be healthier and his life to be even longer. We want to thank Dr. De Leon who referred us to World Surgical Foundation Philippines and Watsi. Because of this, our father will get the much needed surgical treatment."
San is a 38-year-old woman who lives with her daughter and two sons in a village near Mae Sot, Thailand. San’s two sons work as agricultural day labourers on a farm. San’s daughter is a second grade student. San stopped working on the farm about four months ago when she first developed problems with her vision. The money that her two sons earn is not enough to cover their household expenses and pay for her daughter’s school fees since she stopped working. They have had to borrow money to pay for basics like food. San has cataract and glaucoma. Currently, San has lost most of her vision in her right eye. Her right eye is painful and always waters. If she tries to focus her vision to make out someone’s face, her eyes will hurt, and she develops a headache. In her free time, San like to clean her house and plant vegetables. She said, “I hope that I will get better soon so that I can go back to work and pay back my debts. I want to support my daughter so that she can become an educated person. I want to live happily with my family for the rest of my life.” Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund lens replacement surgery for San. On February 22nd, doctors will perform a lens replacement, during which they will remove San's natural lenses and replace them with an intraocular lens implant in each eye. After recovery, she will be able to see clearly. Now, she needs help to fund this $1,500 procedure. San said, “I am so upset that my condition worsens every day. I cannot sleep well because I am worried about what will happen if I do not get better. I am upset that I cannot work and my two sons have to work and support me. I feel so sad for my two sons.’’
Serah is a hard-working farmer and mother. Sadly, she has been widowed for over 30 years but is happy to have a loving family of seven children who are now adults that live with their own families. She has a small quarter-acre tea farm, but largely depends on her children for support in her older age. In December 2021, Serah found a painless lump that worried her. She visited a local health center where additional testing was recommended. She was diagnosed with breast cancer and a mastectomy, or a surgery to remove breast tissue, was recommended to rid her body of the cancer and to prevent the cancer from metastasizing. Without treatment, the cancer could spread to other organs. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), is helping Serah receive treatment. On January 25th, she will undergo a mastectomy at AMH's care center. After treatment, Serah will hopefully return to a cancer-free life. Now, AMH is requesting $1,110 to cover the cost of her procedure and care. Serah shared, "all my life I have had the privilege of good health. We thank God. The news of cancer and surgery came as a surprise to me considering I am an old lady and fragile. I need this surgery to save my life from the jaws of this fatal disease."
Velonica is a 43-year-old woman and a mother of three living children. She shared that she lost a set of twins just a few days after birth some 15 years ago but still holds fond memories of her lovely tiny twins. Her children are aged between 25 and 8 years old and they are all in school. The oldest daughter is at a teachers' training college and the youngest in 4th grade in primary school. Velonica lives with her children and husband in Dowa about 40 kilometers away from the city of Lilongwe in Malawi. She and her husband are subsistent farmers, although they usually don’t have enough food for the year and they seek support from her husband’s relatives that live in the same village. In 2013, Velonica developed a swelling on her neck. She visited different hospitals and finally was referred to Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) where a diagnosis of goiter was made. A partial thyroidectomy was done at the facility in 2014. However, in 2019 her neck swelling resurfaced again. She started feeling pain, having sleepless nights, difficulties in swallowing, feeling neck tightness, and headaches. She reported again to Kamuzu Central Hospital and a rescan was recommended but unfortunately, it was not done at the time. While seeking alternatives, Velonica came to Partners in Hope Medical Center. She was seen by a surgeon who, after laboratory tests and a scan, concluded that her goiter has recurred. He recommended surgery to remove the enlarged thyroid gland in a procedure called a total thyroidectomy. Velonica is currently unable to help her husband on the farm and has challenges in performing daily duties. She is unable to lift water on her head or to carry other heavy loads. Velonica feels the condition is interfering with her life and is looking forward to living her normal life again soon. Velonica said, “I live at my husband’s village among my in-laws and it has been about 2 years now of failing to do the things that every woman does, this is threatening my marriage and makes me feel bad. I hope this operation will bring an end to all this and I will be able to do my household chores again.”