Christian joined Watsi on April 18th, 2013. Six years ago, Christian joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Christian's most recent donation traveled 8,500 miles to support Jane, a 70-year-old kiosk owner from Kenya, to fund a hip fracture repair procedure.
Christian has funded healthcare for 80 patients in 13 countries.
Jane is a 70-year-old kiosk owner from Kenya. She is a former civil servant who was released from government duty in 2000. Since then, she has since been running a small kiosk that sells vegetables and other groceries. In March 2019, Jane suffered a fracture on her left distal femur with intraarticular extension, meaning the break crossed into the surface of a joint. To remedy this, she underwent surgery with a locking plate. However, the fracture has not healed properly, which threatens her mobility. Doctors are now recommending a another fracture repair surgery to prevent future complications of her condition, including inability to walk. However, this procedure is costly for Jane. The profit she earns from her small business is not enough to cover her basic needs, let alone her medical bills. Jane has been relying on a small government pension to get by. She separated from her husband over 30 years ago and has since been raising her only son alone. Her son is an adult, but lacks a stable job and works as a casual laborer to make ends meet. Thus, Jane is appealing for financial help. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner can help. On November 11th, Jane will undergo a fracture repair procedure, called an open reduction and internal fixation. After recovering, she will no longer have difficulties in walking or be in constant pain. Now, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,500 to fund this procedure. Jane shared, “I need this surgery to get back on my feet. I am the one taking care of my grandkids since my son has no job. This procedure will help me be able to go get vegetables from the market so that I can sell and continue my business.”
Mo is 22-year-old student from Thailand. Mo lives with his father in a refugee camp on the Thai-Burma border. In the camp, Mo finished high school and is now completing his post-high school education. Their household receives 480 baht (approx. $16 USD) each month as part of their food support from an organization called The Border Consortium. However, this amount is not enough to cover their daily needs. Mo's father also works as a seasonal agricultural day laborer in a nearby village to earn an extra 350 baht (approx. $12 USD) each month. However this amount is still not enough and they struggle to make ends meet despite having free basic health care and education in their camp. Mo was recently diagnosed with a mass in his brain and hydrocephalus, which has caused fluid to build up in his brain. Watsi supporters are helping to fund his brain mass removal surgery, but without immediate surgery to treat his hydrocephalus and alleviate the intracranial pressure that the excess fluid is causing, he 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 Mo, which will drain the fluid that has accumulated in his brain. The procedure is scheduled to take place on October 9th, and, once completed, will greatly improve Mo's quality of life. "I dream of becoming a great medic after I finish my post-high school education, but for now I am in the care of the [hospital’s] medical team," said Mo.
Agnes, a mother of eight children, arrived in our Watsi reps' office looking frail, drained, and in deep thought. She had given up getting medical attention and had requested her children to take her home before we intervened. She is mourning her husband who recently succumbed to cancer. Furthermore, doctors recently discovered she has a high-grade stromal tumor and requires surgery to remove the ovarian mass, which has been causing her severe discomfort. She shared her story with us: during the first week of May 2020, Agnes started feeling a sharp pain in the lower part of her stomach. She thought they were just normal pains and therefore got pain medication from a nearby chemist. Days later, her pains continued to increase, this time accompanied by bleeding. Alarmed she visited the nearest health centre where she was referred to Kijabe Hospital for further review. Several tests were conducted when she visited the facility and doctors discovered that she has symptomatic uterine fibroids. She underwent surgery but later doctors discovered that she has a mass in her ovaries that requires excursion. Despite having approval from the National Health Insurance program, the amount is not enough to cover the cost of surgery and she needs financial assistance. Agnes was widowed barely a month ago after her husband's long battle to cancer. The cost of taking care of her husband has depleted the limited family resources they had. Equally, she has also been sick and had several trips that made her close the little shop they were running from their home. She has no source of income after they closed down their shop. Her kids don’t yet have a stable source of income, and with what they do have, they have been instrumental in paying for her husband’s medical bills and cost of the funeral. Agnes shared, “I recently buried my husband as a result of cancer. I have been ailing and in a lot of pain. I had to close my small shop and therefore have no source of income. I am unable to afford this much-needed surgery and request for assistance.”
Min lives with his wife, son, and daughter in a village in Tak Province, Thailand. He moved from Burma to Thailand nine months ago in search of better job opportunities. His daughter is still too young to go to school and his wife and son work as day laborers on a farm, each earning 150 baht (approx. 5 USD) per day. Min had to stop working with his wife and son three months ago because of his condition. Their monthly household income of 3,000 baht (approx. 100 USD) is not enough to cover their daily expenses. Sometimes, they have to borrow money from their relatives to meet their basic needs. Four years ago, Min used to work as a construction worker in Bangkok. One day, he started to experience pain in the left side of his abdomen. He went to a clinic twice and was diagnosed with a kidney stone in his left kidney after receiving an ultrasound. The doctor told him that he would need to undergo laser treatment at a hospital to break up the stone. The next day, Min went to a hospital in Bangkok. He received another ultrasound and underwent laser treatment which he did not have to pay for because he had health insurance at that time. When he returned for his follow-up appointment, he underwent another round of laser treatment, followed by more oral medications to take home. Min was not able to return to the hospital because his father passed away before his next appointment and he had to go back to Burma for the funeral. Before he had a chance to return to Bangkok, his mother also passed away. After spending money on the two funerals, Min did not have enough money to return to Bangkok. He moved back in with his wife and children and started working as a day laborer on a farm with his wife in their village. In May 2019, Min started experiencing pain again in his left lower abdomen. He would also pass small stones about twice a month while urinating. He went to a clinic where he received oral medication as well as an ultrasound. The doctor told him that he has a stone in his left kidney as well as small stones in his urethra. Min went back to the same clinic several times for his follow-up appointments, where he received oral medication each time for his abdominal pain. By September 2019, he was feeling much better and was no longer in pain. He was also no longer passing stones when urinating. Min then stopped going back to the clinic and stopped taking medication. Later in December 2019, Min and his family moved to their current home in Thailand and in May 2020, the pain in Min’s lower abdomen returned. He has pain when urinating and has started to pass small stones again about every two weeks. He went to a local hospital in the beginning of May with his wife, and he received an ultrasound. The ultrasound showed that he now has stones in both of his kidneys in addition to a bladder stone. The doctor referred him to Mae Sot Hospital (MSH) for treatment, but his family was not able to afford the estimated cost so he returned home. At home, Min told his friend about his condition and his lack of funds to pay for it. His friend told him to seek help at Mae Tao Clinic (MTC) and with Watsi's Medical Parter Burma Children Medical Fund. Surgery is now scheduled for August 14th. Min shared, “I had to sell my phone to pay for my treatment [the ultrasounds and oral medications] and my transportation when I sought treatment. For the past few days, we don’t have enough rice and we also don’t have any money to buy more food. So we have to eat rice porridge. I feel so sad for my family.”
Dismus is a small child from Uganda. He is the second born in a family of two children and his parents are eager to see their son get treated. His father works in a local tea farm and his mother is a casual laborer who mostly washes clothes for neighbors. Dismus was born with an anorectal malformation, a congenital abnormality that leads to a complete or partial intestinal blockage. He needs to undergo a series of procedures to eliminate bowel dysfunction. Dismus is scheduled to undergo surgery to correct his condition on July 16th. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,500 to cover the total cost of Dismus's procedure and care. After his recovery, Dismus will no longer experience bowel dysfunction or be at risk of developing health complications in the future. Dismus’ father shared, “I will be grateful for any financial help offered.”
Alex is a 22-month-old boy from Tanzania. He is the youngest of two children. His parents depend entirely on small-scale farming for a living. Alex’s father decided to travel to neighboring Kenya to seek small jobs in order to supplement the little harvest they are able to currently get from their farm. Alex was born with spina bifida, a type of neural tube defect in which the spine does not properly close around the spinal cord. Without treatment, Alex is at risk of lower-limb paralysis, infection of the exposed nervous tissue, development of tethered cord syndrome, and possible developmental delays. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,063 to cover the cost of Alex's spina bifida closure surgery. The procedure is scheduled to take place on June 15th. This procedure will hopefully protect Alex from the risks associated with his condition, allowing him to grow and develop along a healthy trajectory. Alex's mother says, “I will be very happy to see my son walk by himself like his sibling. Please help us as the cost is too high for us to afford."
Elliud is a 12-year-old student from Kenya and the second born child in a family of three. They live in a small village called Koisungur where most of the inhabitants work in farms or other small not very stable jobs. His parents are farmers in the village, they plant maize and beans in their small farm. Like many in this region, money has always been an obstacle for families like Elliud’s to seek proper medical care. Saturday evening, on May 9th, Elliud was playing with friends in their homestead when he experienced a very painful accident on his right leg. He is now in pain and he cannot walk on his own. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner can help. On May 13th, Elliud will undergo a fracture repair procedure, called an open reduction and internal fixation. This procedure will help him walk easily again. Now, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,065 to fund this procedure. Elliud’s father says, “We wanted to return home because of lack of means but he was crying in pain. We were assisted by a well-wisher to the hospital. My hope is to see him walk again and not to be in pain.”
Sopheak is a 38-year-old construction worker from Cambodia. He has one son and two daughters, and has been married to his wife for the last 22 years. In his free time, his favorite activities include looking after his children, doing the housework, feeding his chickens, and cooking. Last year, Sopheak was in a motorcycle collision and fractured his left leg. He experiences pain, swelling, and is unable to walk or stand without support. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, can help. On March 4th, Sopheak will undergo a fracture repair procedure, which will cost $465. Surgery will allow Sopheak to walk independently again and return to his activities with little difficulty. "My family is worried because they are no longer able to afford treatments. I hope that after my surgery, I will no longer have any pain or swelling, and will be able to walk on my own again. My wife is looking forward to getting back to her normal activities without having to look after me everyday," he said.
Oliva is a baby from Tanzania and is the first born child in her small family. Since Olivia’s mother is a stay-at-home mother and her father is a subsistence farmer, they are not able to afford Oliva’s needed treatment. Oliva has been diagnosed with hydrocephalus, a condition in which excess cerebrospinal fluid accumulates in the brain and increases intracranial pressure. As a result of her condition, Oliva has been experiencing vomiting and irritability. Without treatment, Oliva will experience severe physical and developmental delays. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,238 to cover the cost of surgery for Oliva that will treat her hydrocephalus. The procedure is scheduled to take place on March 11th and will drain the excess fluid from Oliva's brain. This will reduce intracranial pressure and greatly improve her quality of life. With proper treatment, Oliva will hopefully develop into a strong, healthy young girl. Oliva’s mother says, “After my daughter had her VPS shunt placed earlier she got better but due to her shunt having failed her head is increasing and she is having fevers and vomiting a lot. Please help my daughter."
Roth has a two-year-old son, and enjoys reading books and taking care of his family and household in his free time. Since Roth was born, he had a curvature in his spine, making it difficult for him to walk and sleep comfortably. He was diagnosed with scoliosis and the curvature of his spine is nearly 80 degrees. Roth will undergo spinal surgery, where implants will be inserted along his spine to help correct the deformity and prevent the curve from developing in the future. He shared, "I hope that I will be able to recover from my surgery and ... I will be able to walk again without any difficulty."
Kheang has one son, and enjoys playing soccer, feeding the animals, helping cook food, and listening to the radio. Six days ago, Kheang fell four meters off the roof of his house and fractured his lower spine. He has lost sensation of his lower limbs and he is now unable to take care of himself on his own. Surgery will help to fuse his fractured spinal vertebrae into place, securing the bones and allowing them to heal together. Surgery will give him the chance to return to his normal activities again without difficulty. He shared, "I hope that I will be able to walk again and work the same as before."
Fauzia is a beautiful-20 months old girl, the only child to her parents. She was born normal but as she progressed, her mother noted her legs to be bowing outwardly. She was concerned and decided to seek a doctor. She was put on calcium medication and diet to strengthen the bones. However, she did not improve. They had little income to seek further care for their child. Fortunately, her mother was referred to our facility by a neighbour and encouraged to take the child soonest they could. She was diagnosed with genu varus, a condition where the legs bow outwardly, and surgery recommended to correct the deformity. Fauzia's parents are quite needy. Her father is a truck driver with limited income which he uses to meet the needs of his family. Her mother is a housewife. The family appeals for financial assistance. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $940 to fund corrective surgery for Fauzia. The procedure is scheduled to take place on October 18th. Treatment will hopefully restore Fauzia's mobility, allow her to participate in a variety of activities, and greatly decrease her risk of future complications. Fauzia’s mother says, “We have tried calcium medication but it has not helped correct her legs, please help her get this treatment the cost is too high for us to afford.”