Jennifer joined Watsi on March 12th, 2013. Six years ago, Jennifer joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Jennifer's most recent donation traveled 8,600 miles to support Mo, a refugee and student from Thailand, to fund brain surgery to remove a tumor.
Jennifer has funded healthcare for 67 patients in 10 countries.
Mo is a 22-year-old student from Thailand. He lives along with his father in a refugee camp on the Thai-Burma border. While living in the camp, Mo finished high school and is now completing 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. Therefore, Mo's father works as a seasonal agricultural day laborer in a nearby village. He is able to earn an extra 350 baht (approx. $12 USD) in a month but this amount is still not enough and they shared that they struggle to make ends meet despite having free basic health care and education in the camp. In early September, Mo started to feel dizzy frequently, especially whenever he stood up. At first, he thought he would feel better after he rested and slept. However, he was unable to sleep well for about a week and was suffering from insomnia. After a medic examined him he was referred to the local hospital for treatment. The doctor at the local hospital referred him to Chiang Mai Hospital (CMH) to see a neurologist. After he returned to the camp, Mo rapidly started to lose his vision in both of his eyes. An NGO called Malteser International Thailand (MI) was able to arrange Moses’ travel documents, he was brought to CMH on October 5th, 2020. The next day, he received a CT scan which showed that he has a mass in his brain and a build-up of cerebrospinal fluid in his brain due to the mass. Because of the severity of his condition, the doctor scheduled him to receive surgery right away on October 9th. The mass will be removed and sent for biopsy. He will also undergo a procedure to receive a ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt to drain the excess fluid from his brain. Currently, Mo has a headache, and he is not able to move his eyes from side to side. He needs his father to accompany him wherever he goes because he can no longer see far. He spends most of his time lying down in bed and needs to be pushed in a wheelchair to get around due to his new vision problems. Mo sought treatment through our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund. He is now scheduled to undergo a brain mass removal surgery on October 9th. He is requesting $1,500 to cover the total cost of his procedure and care. “Life suddenly become darker without me knowing why," said Mo. "It is extremely difficult for me to even go to the toilet [by myself]. I cry while I lay in bed for many hours. I really miss seeing colors."
Looking jovial, 26-year-old Emma walks into the office wearing a broad smile. However, behind the joy and smile are recurring stomach pains that give her sleepless nights. Emma was diagnosed with symptomatic cholelithiasis - a gall bladder disorder that requires laparoscopic cholecystectomy analgesia surgery. If left untreated, cholelithiasis can lead to serious complications such as tissue damage, tears in the gallbladder, and infection that could spread spreads to other parts of her body. In Mid-April 2020, Emma started experiencing recurring pains burning in nature. She tried managing the pains using over the counter pain killers but the pain kept recurring. About a week later she was forced to visit a health centre in her home town Kayole for medical checkup. Emma was treated for suspected ulcers at the facility and was discharged with anti-acids. The pains seemed under control for over a month but they recurred in July. She went back to the same facility where a scan, x-ray, and further tests were recommended. Results indicated that she had cholelithiasis and she required urgent surgery. Doctors from the facility recommended she go to Kijabe Hospital for treatment. Emma is a single mother of one. She shared that she is raising her 6-month-old baby on her own after the father of the child left them and declined responsibility. She works as a shop attendant about 10km from her home and earns a total of $100 monthly income as her salary. To enable her to fend for the family, she has a house helper who takes care of her little child while she out looking for their daily bread. She pays the house help $35 a month. The three live in a single room rental which costs $50 a month. The remaining less than $20 is not enough to buy food and basic needs and still cover the cost of surgery. Emma is the oldest in a family of three. Her siblings are unemployed and live with their mother in the village. They depend on produce from their ¼ acre farm for survival. Emma’s employer and few close relatives contributed a small amount for the surgery but she still needs $616 in financial support to fund the treatment. Emma shared, “I need this surgery to get better and take care of my small family. I am the father and the mother to my little kid and my siblings depend on me. The small salary I get I barely make enough for our family and we basically live from hand to mouth. I have to spend all the income I make.”
Joshua is a two-month-old baby and the youngest in a family of three children from Tanzania. His parents are small-scale farmers; his father owns a few cattle and they also have a small farm where they plant food for home consumption. Joshua has been diagnosed with hydrocephalus, a condition in which excess cerebrospinal fluid accumulates in the brain and increases intracranial pressure. As a result of his condition, Joshua has been experiencing challenges since birth. Without treatment, Joshua will experience severe physical and developmental delays. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,362 to cover the cost of surgery for Joshua that will treat his hydrocephalus. The procedure is scheduled to take place on May 20th and will drain the excess fluid from Joshua's brain. This will reduce intracranial pressure and greatly improve his quality of life. With proper treatment, Joshua will hopefully develop into a strong, healthy young boy. Joshua's father shared, "Please help treat our baby, he needs to undergo a surgery which due to financial challenges, we are not able to afford. Please help us."
Naomi is a single mother of three, all of which are still in school. Naomi earns a living through casual jobs, like washing clothes for her neighbors. In 2018, she started experiencing pain on the right side of her abdomen. She was diagnosed with gallstones and her surgeon has shared that she needs a laparotomy. Unfortunately, she could not afford the surgery until a neighbor, who is one of our supportive staff, told her about the Watsi program. If not treated Naomi will continue to experience pain and may develop an infection or inflammation. Fortunately our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, can help. Now, they are asking for your help to fund this $788 surgery. “When I did not have this condition I was able to provide for my children, but now I have difficulties so I plead for help. I hope to get well so that I can take care of my family,” shared Naomi.
Phally is a 35-year-old fruit seller from Cambodia. He and his wife have been married for eleven years, and have two children together. Both children are in primary school. He likes to watch TV and cook food for his family. In May 2019, Phally was in a motor vehicle accident with the car. He suffered a fractured left femur. He first went to a local hospital, but did not have the money for treatment. After that, he was treated by a traditional Khmer healer, but his leg became more painful and weak. It is now difficult for him to walk at all. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, can help. On June 4th, Phally will undergo a fracture repair procedure, which will cost $465. This procedure will stop his pain and allow him to regain strength and walk again. Phally said, "I need to go back to work to keep earning money for my family. I hope that this surgery can help me do that."
Everheart is a primary school student from central Kenya. His hearing has always been low since he was young. His family thought it was his tonsils that had problems and, after he received a tonsillectomy when he was 4 years old, they thought he would recover. Unfortunately, he did not improve as expected. The family has been going from one hospital to another seeking assistance before a friend recommended they visit Watsi's Medical Partner Care Center Kijabe Hospital. When he came to Kijabe, Everheart had an ABR test done, and hearing aids were recommended. He struggles to hear in class but hopes that hearing aids will improve his hearing and learning. Everheart is the youngest child in his family. He had two siblings, but unfortunately, he lost his eldest brother. He lives with his sister’s family since he lost his mother and his father has neglected them. His sister is a general worker in a tea plantation with limited income to meet the cost of treatment as well as their family's basic needs. Everheart’s sister says, “Please help my brother with the aids. I am confident that they will assist him greatly.”
Phyo is a two-year-old boy from Thailand. He lives with his parents and sisters and a brother in Fo Fai Village. His parents are originally from Bago Division in Burma and moved to Thailand in search of better job opportunities around 10 years ago. Both of his parents are agricultural day laborers. Phyo’s parents cannot afford to send him or his siblings to school and they are looked after by his six-year-old sister when his parents are working. Phyo was born a healthy baby boy at Mae Tao Clinic (MTC). In June 2019, Phyo’s mother noticed that both of Phyo’s testicles were swollen. At first she thought that the swelling was caused by an insect bite and that the swelling would come down on its own. However, the swelling never reduced. Busy with work and since Phyo did no complain of any pain and looked otherwise healthy, his mother did not take him to a clinic or a hospital. In the beginning of November 2019, his mother realized that his testicles were increasing in size and he was uncomfortable. His mother decided to have this checked and brought him to MTC in early November. When they arrived at the clinic, the medic completed a physical examination and gave him antibiotics. The medic also told Phyo’s mother that they could not treat him further because the medic was not completely sure what his diagnosis was. They were told that Phyo would need to receive an x-ray at Mae Sot Hospital (MSH) so that they could diagnose him properly. Since his mother did not have enough money to pay for the x-ray and she had work she had to do at home, she brought Phyo back to their village. At home, Phyo took the antibiotics the medic had given him, which seemed to reduce the size of his testicles. However, on April 7th, 2020, Phyo’s mother noticed that his swelling was increasing in size again and that he could not pass urine nor stool; she became worried when she noted that he ate and drank a lot the whole day. The next day, his mother asked her pastor if they could take them back to MTC, as she did not have enough money to pay for transportation. Their pastor agreed to help them and drove them to the clinic. At MTC Phyo received a physical examination and the medic explained to Phyo’s mother that he might have a hernia. The medic diagnosed him with incarcerated inguinal hernia and told them that he would need to receive surgery at the nearby hospital. Phyo has an inguinal hernia and currently cannot pass urine nor stool. He cannot walk or stand for the past two days as his swelling is severe and uncomfortable. Fortunately, on April 8th, he will undergo hernia repair surgery at Mae Sot General Hospital, our medical partner's care center. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund Phyo's hernia repair surgery. The procedure is scheduled to take place on April 8th and, once completed, will hopefully allow him to live more comfortably. Phyo's mother said, “I feel very stressed and worried about my son. I can’t help him any further as I don’t have money. His father has also not come back since he went back to Burma [a month ago to take care of his sick parents]. I cannot work and I have no income as we have less work during this time of the year. Sometimes our neighbors have to give us a meal. Now I have a debt of 600 baht (approx. 20 USD) already from my neighbor, without interest.”
Kelvin is a 13-year-old student and the fourth born in a family of six children. The family hails from Karangia village in Nyeri County of Kenya. He is a class 3 student at Karangi Primary School. His mother is a peasant farmer while his father passed away six years ago after a long illness. According to his teacher, Kelvin is a bright boy and performs well in class however she has noted that his self-esteem has been very low. “Kelvin likes playing with other kids but he cannot, he falls every time as his feet knock each other.” Kelvin has clubfoot of both feet. Clubfoot is a condition in which the foot is twisted out of shape. This causes difficulty walking and even wearing shoes. Fortunately, Kelvin traveled to visit our medical partner's care center, AIC Cure International Hospital. There, surgeons will perform clubfoot repair surgery on March 9th. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,224 to fund Kelvin's clubfoot repair. After treatment, he will be able to walk easily. “I am appealing to the people of goodwill to support my son for surgery so that he can live a better life free from struggles/hardships and also progress well in his studies,” Ann, Kelvin’s mother shared with us.
Nosiligi is a child from Tanzania. She is the seventh born child in a family of eight children. She has not been able to start school yet due to her left hand that was deformed after a fire accident when she was two years old. Her mother is scared that if she goes to school with how her hand is now she will be discriminated and made fun of by other children. Nosiligi’s mother is a widow since her father passed away when she was two years old due to illness. This left the mother with no one to help her look after the children. Her husband had left them with a few cattle and through that they are able to get a little milk to sell to supplement their income and do small-scale farming. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is helping Nosiligi receive treatment. On January 31st, surgeons at their care center will perform a burn contracture release surgery to help her use her hand and hopefully join school with no fear of discrimination. Now, she needs help to fund this $832 procedure. Nosiligi’s mother says, “Please help my daughter. She is having challenges performing her daily activities.”
Veronicah is a calm baby. She was diagnosed with anal-rectal malformation a condition where she lacked an anal opening at birth. Veronicah was born normally with a normal birth weight of 2.8 kgs and discharged on the same day. After two days, her mother noticed that her abdomen was swollen and she had difficulties breathing and could barely feed. They later realized that Veronicah lacked an anal opening and passed stool through her vagina. Her parents rushed her to the nearest hospital. It’s from here that their journey in search of a specialist began. Veronicah’s parents have been to two hospitals before they could find a specialist. A colostomy was created 10th June 2019 and supported through the national health insurance system. Veronicah has been attending weekly clinics and is now ready for the second surgery which is to create an anal opening. Unfortunately, having exhausted most of his hard-earned money, Veronicah’s father, the sole breadwinner could not keep up with National Health Insurance premiums and thus had no means to pay for the needed surgical care. The family turned to their local radio station to seek help and a well-wisher advised they visit Watsi Partner BethanyKids Hospital where they could access financial and surgical assistance. If not treated, Veronicah is at a risk of acquiring infection, scaring at the colostomy site due to occasional leakages. Veronicah is the last born of three children. The firstborn who is five years old just joined school. Her father is a subsistence farmer without an external source of income. Veronicah’s mother is a stay-at-home mom. They are not in a position to raise the needed funds and thus appealing for help. “I am willing to clean the hospital as long as you want just to pay for my daughter’s surgical care. I am very desperate,” says Veronicah’s father.
Philemon is a farmer from Kenya. Philemon is a 22 year old father of one and himself is the first born child of a family of four. Being the first born child in a less fortunate family, Philemon’s roles were defined so fast that he dropped out of school so that his younger siblings could get a chance to proceed with their studies. He opted to do farming with his dad so that they can improve their humble background. Philemon is hardworking and energetic man who is depended by the family for its daily needs. Philemon was well until 9th August when he fell from a tree and sustained injury to his left leg and was diagnosed with an open proximal tibia fracture. Philemon was brought to our hospital and was received by our doctors. He underwent his first surgery to clean and close his wounds. He was then admitted to wait for ORIF surgery. He is unable to stand with his left leg. He can only walk with the able of a walker or being wheeled on a wheel chair. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner can help. On August 15th, Philemon underwent a fracture repair procedure, called an open reduction and internal fixation. He will be able to walk normally after treatment. Now, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $968 to fund this procedure. Philemon says, “I need to walk again, I don’t have a sustainable job to feed my parents and siblings. I also want to make sure that they finish school and get proper education."
Chantha is a 4th grade student from Cambodia. She is the youngest of four siblings, and enjoys playing with her toys, watching television, and going for walks around the village with the family. When she was two years old, Chantha accidentally came into contact with an open flame and burned three of her fingers on her left hand. The burn has since healed, but the skin has tightened around the fingers, making it difficult for her to flex her hand. When Chantha learned about our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, she traveled for three hours seeking treatment. On September 11th, surgeons at CSC will perform a burn contracture release surgery to release the skin around her fingers and allow her to move her fingers and hand without difficulty. Now, she needs help to fund this $448 procedure. "I hope that my daughter will be able to move her hand normally and her hand will look better than before." -Chantha's Mother