Blake joined Watsi on March 12th, 2013. Six years ago, Blake joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Blake's most recent donation supported Phea, a 37-year-old farmer from Cambodia, to fund fracture repair surgery.
Blake has funded healthcare for 68 patients in 12 countries.
Blake has funded healthcare for 68 patients in 12 countries.
Phea is a 37-year-old farmer. Together with his wife, they have five children, including one son and four daughters. In November 2021, Phea was in a motor vehicle accident where he fractured his right tibia. He visited a Khmer traditional healer for treatment, but unfortunately his leg became infected. He feels very ill and is depressed that he cannot support and feed his family. It is difficult for him to walk and he is in now pain. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, can help. On December 8th, Phea will undergo a fracture repair procedure, which will cost $465. This procedure will rid his leg of the infection and help him walk again. Phea shared, "I hope I can walk again and return to my job as soon as possible."
Hser is a 38-year-old woman who lives with her parents in a refugee camp in Tak Province, Thailand. She and her family fled there many years ago from Karen State in Burma because of civil war. Hser is now a high school teacher in the refugee camp, and she earns 1,000 baht (approx. 33 USD) per month. Hser used to teach groups of students at their home due to Covid restrictions that closed schools in July 2021, but all home teaching was also stopped in September 2021 when Covid cases increased in the refugee camp. Since then, Hser teaches students online, but many of her students cannot afford to pay for mobile data to study from their family’s mobile phones. Since late 2019, Hser has been experiencing pain in the right side of her abdomen every day, especially at night. She says that she has lost her appetite and has lost some weight because of this. She feels like the mass is gradually increasing in size and feels more comfortable lying down then sitting. She also feels tired when she walks. She has been diagnosed with an ovarian tumour, and has been advised to undergo a total abdominal hysterectomy, which involves surgical removal of her uterus and cervix. If left untreated, Hser's symptoms will continue to worsen and put her at risk for further health complications in the future. Fortunately, Hser is scheduled to undergo her hysterectomy on November 9th. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to cover the total cost of her procedure and care. Once recovered, this treatment will help Hser to live free from pain and she has hope that she'll be able to live her life happily with her parents in the future. Hser said, “I love being a teacher and when I have recovered, I will continue to teach. My parents worry about me a lot and they want me to receive surgery as soon as possible. They are stressed about my condition, but I do not want to feel stressed because stress cannot help me feel better. So even though I cannot eat a lot, I try to eat as much as I can to stay strong.”
Winnie is a dedicated and bright student. She goes to the local university in Kenya and studying advertisement and public relations. Winnie aspires to be a renowned media personality in the future. She stays with her parents in Ruiru and relies on them for school fees and upkeep while she is in school. Last month, Winnie was a passenger on a motorbike heading to get the Covid vaccine at a nearby center in their home in Ruiru. Unfortunately, she was hit by another vehicle, thus sending her flying into the air and she landed hard causing serious injuries. She was rushed to a nearby facility with a serious injuries. Her wound is so dire that it requires several debridements under the general surgery team and later grafting with the plastic surgery team. She has so far undergone 8 surgeries (1 colon - colostomy and 7 debridements). She is in pain and cannot sit yet. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is helping Winnie receive treatment. On October 26th, surgeons will perform a debridement and skin graft procedure so that she will be able to sit again and the risk of infection would be reduced. Now, Winnie needs help to fund this $1,185 procedure. Winnie says, "I just joined college to pursue my dream career. I am missing classes because of the injuries and I am afraid it will affect my future. I cannot even sleep well since I only sleep on my belly. I really hope to get well soon.”
Hai lives in Kandal province in southern Cambodia. He is married and has a son who is one year old. Hai's wife was a factory worker, but she stopped when their child was born. Hai enjoys playing football and listening to music in his free time. Hai was involved in a motor accident in October 2020 and experienced trauma to his back and lower limbs. After the accident, Hai went to a government hospital where he received X-rays and medications and was then sent home. Hai still feels poorly, continues to feel pain in his back, and has difficulty walking. He remains in a wheelchair and cannot work. Surgeons plan to use posterior instrumentation to stabilize his spine. A posterior instrumented fusion involves the placement of screws and rods in the spine. This procedure will provide realignment and stabilization of the spine allowing fusion to occur. Hai is seeking $1,500 to fund his surgery, as he is unable to pay for this treatment on his own. Hai shared, "I hope that I will walk again and can get my job back to support my family."
Bo is a 16-year-old student. He's in eighth grade and lives in the school dormitory in the Tak Province during the school year. His parents and his siblings live on the Thai-Burma border. His brother and his mother are day labourers while his father is retired. During his free time, he likes to play the guitar, cook, and garden. In May 2021, Bo began to experience pain in the top of his left arm, close to his shoulder. In June 2021, the top of his left arm began to swell until it spread towards his shoulder. The swelling is now very large, encompassing his left shoulder and upper arm. Bo is in a lot of pain and cannot use his left arm. He cannot lift it, nor carry anything due to the pain and the swelling. Bo sought treatment through our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund. Bo is now scheduled to undergo mass removal surgery on August 18th. He is requesting $1,500 to cover the total cost of his procedure and care. "I want to become a policeman one day but I do not know if this will be possible," said Bo.
Benjamin is a father of a four-year-old child who works as a motorbike (boda-boda) driver, earning about $3.70USD per day. His income is also inconsistent and depends on the availability of customers. He is the sole breadwinner for his family. Unfortunately, he has no active medical insurance coverage and has had to rely on relatives and friends to settle hospital bills. Benjamin is full of smiles but finds it difficult to sit up while sharing his story. He opts to talk while lying flat on his back. Benjamin is currently immobile, unable to sit and walk, as a result of a road traffic accident from the beginning of the month. When the 25-year-old hitched a ride on his friend's water truck, the vehicle lost control and he was thrown out the window. He immediately experienced severe back pain and lost consciousness. The accident left Benjamin with multiple fractures and wounds that will require several fracture repair and spine surgeries in order for him to sit, walk, and be able to continue with his normal routine roles again. After stays at various hospitals and numerous referrals, Benjamin arrived at our medical partner's care center, Kijabe Hospital, for care on July 17th. One of the obstacles to treatment he had faced at other hospitals was a long waiting list that meant a delay in much-needed care, but fortunately Kijabe is able to offer his needed care more urgently. At Kijabe Hospital, the doctors recommended a spinal fusion procedure for him to help regain his mobility. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), is requesting $1,500 for Benjamin's critical surgery, scheduled to take place on July 26th. Benjamin shares, “I just sleep on my back and cannot even sit or walk. I cannot work and fend for my family. I need this surgery to get back to my Boda-boda job and raise my family."
Robson is a friendly and calm baby. He is the youngest sibling of the family, and they all live in an urban settlement in Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya. Robson's mother takes care of their family and home while his father used to be a cook, but was laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While his mother was outside washing clothes, Robson was in his grandmother’s grass-thatched house in their village. Suddenly, a mattress caught fire, causing burns on Robson's face and fingers. The burns led to contractures on the fingers, so that Robson is unable to hold things and use his fingers well. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMH), is helping Robson receive treatment. On July 17th, surgeons from the care center will perform a burn contracture release surgery. Now, AMH is requesting $840 to help fund this procedure. “I hope and pray that with the assistance accorded to my son, he will be able to hold things and start crawling with support as he learns to walk,” Robson’s mother told us.
Hamza is a 4-year-old boy from Ethiopia and the sixth child of his parents. He loves to play football. He joined school but had to stop going as a result of his condition. Hamza's father died a year and a half ago and his mom runs a small business selling charcoal in their village. His three older siblings do small business as shoe shiners and daily workers. Hamza's mom shared that most of the time, their family eats twice a day because their income can't afford three meals a day. Hamza has been diagnosed with an abdominal mass called Neurofibomatosis. This causes swelling and a change of the shape of the abdomen. It also causes abdominal discomfort, pain, and bloating. Doctors have done a CT scan and identified a mass is on the wall of his abdomen that needs to be removed. His mother shared: “Hamza wants to learn and I want him also to go to school. I hope after the treatment he'll be as healthy as others and go to school.”
Phuon is a 27-year-old tuk tuk driver. He's married and has three sons. In his free time, Phuon shared that he enjoys listening to romantic music and pop songs, playing volleyball, and relaxing at home. On March 14th, Phuon was shocked on both hands in an accident with electrical wires. This badly damaged the tissue and after three days in a government hospital he ran out of money to cover treatment. He is in pain and cannot use his hands to hold anything. When Phuon learned about our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, he traveled for two and a half hours seeking treatment. On April 22nd, surgeons at Children's Surgical Centre will perform a debridement procedure to remove the dead tissue to preserve and return the function of his hands. Now, he needs help to fund this $787 procedure. Phuon shared, "I hope after surgery I can use my hands again and get back to work to support my family."
Rickshadez is a young student and the third of four children. He's a very active and clever boy. His parents sell clothes in Nairobi to earn a living. They live in a small house on the same property where they work. In the middle of last year, Rickshadez began to experience swelling on one side of his lower abdominal area, and his father brought him to the doctor. Rickshadez was diagnosed with cryptorchidism, a condition in which one or both of the testicles remains undescended. If left untreated, Rickshadez has an increased risk of developing hernias, testicular cancer, and fertility problems in the future. This condition can be healed through corrective surgery, which will help prevent these potential complications. Rickshadez will be receiving assistance from our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF). Fortunately, he is scheduled to undergo corrective surgery on March 25th. AMHF is requesting $561 to cover the total cost of his procedure and care. Rickshadez’s mother says, “We are not blessed enough to raise the required amount for Rickshadez’s surgery.” With some financial help, Rickshadez can undergo this surgery to heal the swelling and protect against future risks.
Lonyori is a 6-year-old child from Tanzania. He is the first born child of two in his family. Lonyori has a young sister, Mengori, who also has a similar health condition. Lonyori's parents are small scale farmers of maize and vegetables. They make extra income by selling these crops and also working casual laboring jobs when they can. Lonyori was diagnosed with bilateral genu valgus, or knock knees. His legs bow inward so that his knees touch. This condition is typically caused by an excessive accumulation of fluoride in the bones, which often stems from contaminated drinking water. As a result, he is unable to walk for a long distance and he complains of pain after a long day. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $880 to fund corrective surgery for Lonyori. The procedure is scheduled to take place on February 9th. Treatment will hopefully restore Lonyori's mobility and allow him to walk comfortably again. It will also prevent his risk of future complications with his legs. Lonyori’s uncle shared, "My nephew is struggling a lot and his parents can’t afford this treatment cost. They are struggling to make ends meet, and they did not have enough to travel to this hospital with Lonyori, so I helped to bring him. Please help my nephew get this treatment.”
Godfrey is a 49-year-old manual labourer from Kenya. He currently lives alone since separating with his wife. Godfrey has one daughter who lives with his mother. He works hard in order to support his family. Though Godfrey completed secondary school, he did not attend college, so he started working casual jobs. He mostly works at construction sites. On January 12th, as Godfrey was working, he fell from the first floor of a building under construction and badly injured his right leg. He has sustained a fracture, it is difficult for him to walk, and he is in chronic pain. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner can help. On January 28th, Godfrey 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 $1,049 to fund this procedure. Godfrey shared, “I am so desperate and just don’t know where to go for help. If not for my friend, I would have just stayed in the house with my sick leg. I plead for help so that I can be well to go back to my work to support myself and my daughter."