Gustaf joined Watsi on March 12th, 2013. Nine years ago, Gustaf joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Gustaf's most recent donation traveled 8,600 miles to support Paw, a Burmese refugee and mother from Thailand, to fund kidney surgery.
Gustaf has funded healthcare for 136 patients in 15 countries.
Gustaf has funded healthcare for 136 patients in 15 countries.
Paw is a 46-year-old woman who lives with her husband, son, and daughter in the refugee camp in Mae Hong Son Province. Originally from the conflict area of Karen State, Burma, she and her family fled to the refugee camp due to conflict in their area. Today, her daughter goes to school in the camp, while her son stays home because he has an intellectual disability. In her free time, Paw enjoys gardening. Paw and her husband also raise chickens and grow vegetables to supplement their family's diet. Every month, their household receives 1,460 baht (approx. $49) on a cash card from an organization called The Border Consortium to support their day-to-day needs. Sometimes, Paw also receives pocket money from her other son, who works as a security guard in the refugee camp and lives with his wife and children. This amount is not enough to cover their daily needs, so they often have to purchase food on credit, which they pay back at the end of the month. They receive free basic health care at the hospital in the refugee camp, provided by Malteser International (MI) Thailand, but surgery there is not available. In early 2020, Paw started to experience pain in her lower abdomen. She also experienced severe back pain, dizziness and nausea when she ate. She went to the hospital in the refugee camp, where she was treated for a urinary tract infection (UTI). When the UTI kept returning, MI staff referred her to Mae Sariang Hospital for further treatment. Paw went to that hospital in February 2020, where she was diagnosed with a stone in her right kidney and acute pyelonephritis, a bacterial infection causing inflammation of the kidneys. She was admitted for five days and received treatment for the infection. Afterwards, she was referred to Chiang Mai Hospital (CMH) for further treatment for the kidney stone. In July 2020, MI staff brought Paw to CMH, where she received various x-rays. Doctors confirmed her diagnosis, but also diagnosed her with severe hydronephrosis, or a buildup of urine, in her right kidney. She received a catheter to drain urine from her kidney, and was brought back to CMH every three months to change the catheter. The doctor also scheduled Paw to have the stone removed from her right kidney on October 31st. Our partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF), is asking for financial assistance to help Paw pay for this surgery. Currently, Paw experiences pain and has difficulty sleeping. Traveling to the hospital regularly is also difficult for her family. Paw thinks a lot about her future and shared: “In the future I want to buy and raise a pig and more chickens. I do not want to be resettled in another country because I love living near my siblings. If they [my siblings] are resettled, I might go with them."
Dennis is a handsome young man aged 28 years old from a village in Kenya. He is married and has two children, ages 8 and 1. Dennis is the bread winner of his young family. He operates a small business selling chicken meat. He is very social and friendly. Recently, as he was going home, he was hit by a hit-and-run motorbike which had lost control. He was injured on the right leg and was taken to the hospital. Now he is not able to walk on his own and is in a lot of pain. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner can help. On October 4th, Dennis will undergo a fracture repair procedure, called an open reduction and internal fixation. After he heals, he will be able to walk again on his own. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1049 to fund this procedure so he can get back to his life and supporting his family. “I am very disappointed because I have a very young family and they all depend on me. I hope I can get help and fast treatment so that soon I can be on my foot again, to restart my small business and earn for my family,” said Dennis.
Aleeson is a three-year-old who needs open-heart surgery. He lives in Port-au-Prince with his parents and one older brother; his father is an accountant and his mother is a homemaker. Aleeson was born with a cardiac condition called Tetralogy of Fallot, which involves several related defects including a hole between two chambers of the heart and a muscular blockage of one of the valves. As a result of these defects, his heart cannot adequately provide oxygen to his body, leaving him weak and short of breath. Doctors will perform open-heart surgery to repair these defects and to allow his heart to function fully. As the care he needs is not available in Haiti, Aleeson will fly to Italy to receive treatment and on September 27th, he will undergo life-saving cardiac surgery. Aleeson's family needs help to fund the costs of surgery prep and travel. 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 his family overseas. Aleeson's father shared: "Our family feels very lucky to have this wonderful chance for our son's surgery."
Nancy is a bright and social 12-year-old student from Tanzania. She is the youngest in a family of three children. Her and her siblings are being raised by their grandparents with the help of amazing well-wishers, since their grandparents are older and appreciate the extra help. Nancy currently attends primary school, and her favorite subjects include Swahili, mathematics, and social studies! She is very friendly and loves to play netball with her schoolmates. However, playing is becoming increasingly difficult due to her condition. Nancy has clubfoot of the left foot. Clubfoot is a condition where the foot is twisted out of shape, which causes difficulty walking and even wearing shoes. Fortunately, Nancy and her family traveled to visit our medical partner's care center, Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre. There, surgeons will perform clubfoot repair surgery on July 15th. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $935 to fund Nancy's clubfoot repair. After treatment, she will be able to walk easily. Her grandmother says, "Nancy and her siblings have been in my care since they were babies. We struggle to raise them. That's why well-wishers help. Unfortunately, they can’t help her with her treatment. Please help us."
Elisa is a hardworking 37-year-old from the Philippines. She works as a coconut juice vendor, and her partner works different part-time jobs, both working to provide for their family. Elisa has been experiencing abdominal pain and vomiting since 2018, but she decided to take herbal medicines as an alternative to provide temporary relief. However, her pain continued to intensify, so she checked herself into a nearby hospital. Her ultrasound test revealed that she has gallstones that need to be surgically removed. Due to financial constraints, her needed treatment was delayed, resulting in further damage to her health. Fortunately, Elisa was referred to our medical partner, World Surgical Foundation Philippines (WSFP), and is now scheduled to undergo surgery to correct her condition on June 29th. A portion of the cost of her care is being supported by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation and WSFP raising the remaining $826 to cover the cost of Elisa's procedure. "Every episode of pain hinders me from working and providing for my family. This surgery will be very beneficial to me," Elisa shared. "Thank you, Watsi and World Surgical Foundation Philippines, for choosing me as one of your beneficiaries."
Htun is a four year old boy living with 12 other children and a pastor and his wife who are helping to raise them in Tak Province, Thailand. Htun enjoys riding bicycles, watching cartoons, and playing with action figures. Towards the beginning of April, Htun began experiencing discomfort while walking and when he was sitting down. According to his guardian, whenever Htun begins to feel pain, he will point to where the pain is coming from and cry. Htun has been diagnosed with an inguinal hernia, which will need to be treated with surgery. Fortunately, he was brought to our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, and he is now scheduled for hernia repair surgery on May 31st, at Mae Sot General Hospital. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund Htun's hernia repair surgery, after which Htun will be able to live a full and healthy life ahead. "I want to support him as if he were my own child, and I want him to feel like we are his family," shared the pastor.
Klyn is a 12-year-old boy who lives in a small town in central Haiti with his parents, grandparents, and several other relatives. He likes school, especially science and math. Klyn was born with a condition called atrial septal defect. The defect means there is a hole between the two upper chambers of Klyn's heart. Blood leaks through this hole, which leaves him often weak and short of breath. Our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance, has arranged for Klyn and his mother to travel to the Dominican Republic for surgery since this treatment is not available within Haiti. On May 24th, doctors will first attempt to use a catheter to close the opening between Klyn's upper cardiac chambers. If that's not possible, they will need to perform open-heart surgery and use a patch to close the hole in Klyn's heart. Another organization, Gift of Life International, is contributing $5,000 for Klyn's care. His family is raising $1,500 to help cover remaining costs of the procedure and related care, including travel expenses for Klyn. Klyn's mother says, "We are very thankful to everyone who is making this surgery possible for our son!"
Pheap is a 49-year-old rice farmer and a caring father to his three sons and daughter. Unfortunately, Pheap's wife died of cancer last year, so now he only lives with his youngest son. On the weekends, Pheap likes to watch boxing on TV and go fishing with his son. When he was a child, Pheap had an ear infection, which caused the tympanic membrane, or the ear drum, in both ears to perforate. For this reason, Pheap experiences ear discharge, hearing loss, and tinnitus. In the last three months the symptoms have worsened. He cannot hear well and has a lot of trouble communicating clearly with others. Luckily, Pheap traveled to our medical partner's care center, Kien khleang National Rehabilitation Centre, to receive treatment. On February 24th, Pheap will undergo a myringoplasty procedure in both ears. During this procedure, surgeons will close the perforations, which will hopefully allow for Pheap to hear and communicate clearly again. Our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, is requesting $913 to help fund this procedure. This cost covers medications, supplies, and inpatient care. Pheap says, "I really hope the infection will stop and I can hear people again."
Deborah is a nine-year-old student from Haiti. She lives with her parents, several siblings, and her grandparents. She enjoys singing and listening to music in her free time. Deborah has a cardiac condition called atrial septal defect, where a hole exists between the two upper chambers of her heart. Blood leaks through this hole without properly circulating through her body, leaving her feeling sick and weak. To receive treatment, Deborah will fly to Dominican Republic. On March 2nd, she will undergo cardiac surgery, during which surgeons will sew a patch over the hole in her heart so that blood can no longer leak through it. Our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance, is also contributing $8,000 to pay for her surgery. Deborah's family needs help raising money to fund the costs of her surgery prep. The $1,500 prep bill covers labs, medicines, and check-up and follow-up appointments. It also supports passport obtainment and the social workers from our medical partner who will accompany Deborah's family overseas for her surgery. Deborah's father shared, "our family has been praying for years for this surgery to happen, and would like to say thank you to everyone who is helping!"
Joseph is a sweet two-year-old boy and the second born in a family of two children. Even at his age, Joseph already likes to play a lot and makes his parents very happy. Joseph’s father did an electrical course but has not been able to find formal employment so has started doing casual work in the electrical field. Joseph's mother takes care of their home and the family. From the moment he was born, Joseph's parents noticed that he wasn't passing urine normally. They took him to the hospital, but it was suggested that they wait until he was around two years old to undergo surgery. When he reached this age, his parents brought him to our medical partner's care center Nazareth Hospital, where the surgeon recommends that he undergoes hypospadias repair. Joseph was born with hypospadias, a congenital abnormality that causes urinary dysfunction. Without treatment, he will continue to experience uncomfortable symptoms and will be at risk of future complications. Fortunately, Joseph is scheduled to undergo corrective surgery on February 1st. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $710 to cover the total cost of his procedure and care. Joseph's parents shared, "We humbly request support in order for our son to be cured and lead a normal life in the future. In the future, we'd like to see him start a family. According to the doctor, if he is not cured, he will never be able to have his own children. This is a condition that we really want to get healed."
Myat lives with his elderly mother. He stopped working two years ago after a stroke left the right side of his body weak. He is now unemployed and relies on his mother’s support. His mother is a street vendor, selling foraged vegetables and plants as well as sticky rice that she makes. The income she earns is not enough for their daily needs. They survive thanks to the generosity of their neighbors, who support them with food and allow them to live on their land in a hut rent-free. Starting three years ago, Myat has experienced pain in his lower right abdomen whenever lifting something heavy and now the pain is more regular. At the beginning of December, the pain in his lower right abdomen increased and became constant. His neighbor lent him 50,000 kyat (approx. $50 USD) and told him to seek treatment at Mawlamyine Christian Leprosy Hospital (MCLH). Myat traveled to the hospital and was admitted right away. A doctor completed a physical examination, diagnosed him with an inguinal hernia, and told him that he would need surgery. When Myat told the doctor that he cannot afford to pay for it, the doctor referred him to our medical partner Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF) for assistance accessing treatment. “When I recover, I want to sell traditional medicine again,” Myat shared with a renewed sense of hope that he might be able to finally have surgery.
Baraka is a very active and jovial 7-year-old boy. Baraka and his twin brother are the only children in the family. His parents separated when they were still young babies and left them under the care of their grandmother. When Baraka was 1 year old, his grandmother noticed that she could not feel both of his testes. She took Baraka to the hospital where he was examined and diagnosed with bilateral undescended testes. Due to lack of finances, she went home and never returned to the hospital. A few weeks ago, a friend referred her to a medical camp that was visiting the neighborhood. She rushed Baraka to the clinic, he was examined and referred to BethanyKids Hospital. Upon arrival, he was examined again and booked for the surgery he needs. Baraka's grandmother does casual laundry work or any house chores she comes across to raise a living for her grandchildren; their parents are out of reach and do not support them financially. She can not raise the required amount of money to cater for Baraka’s hospital bill and is seeking financial aid. Baraka was diagnosed with cryptorchidism, a condition in which one or both of the testicles remains undescended. If left untreated, Baraka has an increased risk of developing hernias, testicular cancer, and fertility problems in the future. Baraka will be receiving assistance from our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF). Fortunately, he is scheduled to undergo corrective surgery on November 16th. AMHF is requesting $646 to cover the total cost of his procedure and care. Baraka’s grandmother says, “It is very difficult for me to even provide for them as work is hard to come by. Any help offered to us will be highly appreciated.”