Blake joined Watsi on March 12th, 2013. Four years ago, Blake became the 1699th member to automatically support a new Watsi patient every month. Since then, 4,350 more people have become monthly donors! Blake's most recent donation supported Ezekiel, a 6-month-old from Uganda, to fund hydrocephalus surgery.
Blake has funded healthcare for 51 patients in 12 countries.
Ezekiel is a baby from Uganda. Ezekiel’s parents are both small-scale farmers and they keep a few goats. They depend entirely on their harvest to meet their day to day basic needs Ezekiel 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, Ezekiel has been crying a lot, vomiting, and experiencing seizures. Without treatment, Ezekiel will experience severe physical and developmental delays. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,300 to cover the cost of surgery for Ezekiel that will treat his hydrocephalus. The procedure is scheduled to take place on July 22nd and will drain the excess fluid from Ezekiel's brain. This will reduce intracranial pressure and greatly improve his quality of life. With proper treatment, Ezekiel will hopefully develop into a strong, healthy young boy. Ezekiel’s mother shared, “Please help my son, he was a happy boy before he started getting sick. Please help him get better.”
Fred is a jovial 15-year-old who likes learning. He is a student at Mary Mother of Grace School in Laikipia and his family hails from Naivasha in Nakuru county. Fred is the oldest child in his family of three children. His mother is a housewife while his father works in one of the flower farms in Naivasha. In 2019, Fred's parents realized that his posture was not okay and he was taken to Naivasha District Hospital for checkups where he was diagnosed with scoliosis. He was then referred for advanced treatment to Watsi's Medical Partner Care Center Cure International Hospital. While being attended to at the hospital, the doctor suggested taking two MRI images which were very costly to the family who earns low monthly wages. After the MRI the doctor scheduled a much-needed surgery on Fred's spine (Posterior Spine Instrumented Fusion). The hospital bill is $3350, of which the National Health Insurance Fund has agreed to pay $1300. Fred is straining when standing and while sitting. After receiving the treatment Fred will be able to continue with his studies without physical straining and his posture will be normal again. “We are appealing for support from well-wishers to enable our son to continue with his life and studies normally. We will appreciate any kind of support,” Fred’s mother told us.
Cha is a 20-year-old young man from Burma. He lives with his father, older sister, brother-in-law, and three nieces in Hpapun Township of Karen State. Cha is a student and his oldest niece goes to school while the other two are still too young to attend. His father and brother-in-law are subsistence farmers while his sister is a homemaker. In his spare time, Cha loves to play cane ball and football with his friends. He also likes to help his family with farming during school holidays. Cha goes to the nearest high school to his village, located four to five hours away by motorbike in the village of Day Bu Noh. During the school year he lives in a dormitory and he does not have to pay for school and dormitory fees. On May 6th, Cha was getting ready to move back home for the summer holidays. He borrowed his friend’s motorbike and started the trip back to his village. Not long after he left Day Bu Noh Village, his motorcycle slipped on the uneven dirt road and he fell from the motorcycle. The next thing Cha remembered was waking up at a clinic in Day Bu Noh Village with his friend beside him. When he asked his friend what had happened, his friend told him that some of the villagers had found him unconscious on the side of the road and brought him to the clinic. The medic at the clinic examined Cha and told him that his lower jaw was fractured but they could not treat him at the clinic. The medic gave him injections and oral medications to help control the pain. Cha’s friend, who works for the district’s office in the Day Bu Noh village, told his superiors about Cha’s situation and that Cha did not know how he could receive treatment at another clinic in Mae Sot, Thailand where another friend works. However, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Thailand had shut its borders to neighboring countries. His friend’s superiors were able to arrange for Cha to be brought to Mae Tao Clinic (MTC), accompanied by Cha’s friend. Cha was discharged from the clinic in Day Bu Noh Village on May 15th and started to make their way to MTC. After they crossed over into Thailand on a boat, Chan and his friend arrived at MTC on May 16th. At the clinic, the medic examined Cha before telling him that he will have to go to Mae Sot Hospital (MSH) for an x-ray. He also received some oral pain medication from the medic and, on May 20th, Cha received an x-ray at MSH. The x-ray showed that Cha had fractured his lower jaw in two locations, the left side and in the middle, as well as that the fracture was now infected. He was told that he will need to receive injections to treat the infection and that he will need surgery to help his jaw heal properly. Currently, Cha’s jaw is swollen and painful. He cannot eat solid food and is only able to eat boiled rice and drink liquid food. One of his teeth hurts and he cannot open his mouth wide. He is not able to speak properly, and his lower jaw is extremely painful, especially on the left side. With the help of our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, Cha will undergo surgery to reset his fractured bones and ensure proper healing. The procedure is scheduled for May 29th and will cost $1,500. The surgery will help Cha to be free from the pain and he will be able to talk properly again. “I feel sad that I cannot help my family during this summer holiday,” Cha said. In the future, Cha said that he plans to continue his studies next year at Mu Traw Junior College in Day Bu Noh Village. He is also interested in working with his friend at the district office in the branch that looks after the environment, forest, and wild animals.
Lay is a 45-year-old man from Burma. He lives with his family in a village in Karen State. His wife is a homemaker while his son and daughter-in-law work as a day laborers. He also used to work as a day laborer before he stopped two months ago due to his loss of vision in his left eye. He has blurred vision and sometimes he also feels dizzy. When the doctor checked his left eye, he was diagnosed with a cataract as well as glaucoma. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund lens replacement surgery for Lay. On March 17th, doctors will perform a lens replacement, during which they will remove Lay's natural lens and replace with an intraocular lens implant in his eye. After recovery, he will be able to see clearly. Now, he needs help to fund this $1,500 procedure. Lay said, "Now I am happy that I will receive surgery with the help of donors. Thank you everyone for helping me and I pray for you all with all my heart. I know this surgery will return my vision and will be a great benefit for my family if it will allow me to go back to work.”
Marvalie is a preschooler from Haiti. She lives with her parents and three siblings in a rural area of southwest Haiti; her parents are farmers. She has not yet started school due to her illness. Marvalie has a cardiac condition called Tetralogy of Fallot. This condition involves several related defects including a hole between the two lower chambers of the heart, and a muscular blockage of one of the valves. Marvalie will fly to Cayman Islands to receive treatment. On March 6th, she will undergo cardiac surgery, during which Surgeons will close the hole in her heart with a patch, and remove the muscular blockage from her valve. Another organization, Have a Heart Cayman, is contributing $17,000 to pay for surgery. Marvalie's family also needs help to fund the costs of surgery prep and travel. The $1,500 bill covers labs, medicines, and checkup and follow-up appointments. It also supports passport obtainment and the social workers from our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance, who will accompany Marvalie's family overseas. Her mother said, "Our family has been praying for a cure since our daughter was a small baby, we are very happy to know our prayers are being answered!"
Aung is a 15-year-old novice monk from Hpa-An. He lives with other monks in the monastery. His parents own a piece of land where his father and oldest brother grow vegetables and fruits for sale. The family also grows vegetables for their own consumption. He was born with encephalocele and it was the size of a fingerprint. It grew bigger over the years and was the same size for the last three years before receiving surgery in 2015. He also suffers from hydrocephalus and he received ventriculoperitoneal shunt (VP) in 2016. Two months ago, Aung developed headaches and his head has grown bigger on the right side. At that time, his father bought medicine from the pharmacy to reduce his headaches. He took it for two days, but he did not feel better. Later on, his father took him to Hpa-An hospital where he received a blood test and x-ray. The doctor suggested his father to take him to Yangon but his father returned to Mae Tao Clinic (MTC) in Mae Sot instead of going to Yangon. On February 25th, he arrived at MTC and he was referred to Watsi Medical Partner's Care Center Mae Sot Hospital to be seen the next day. At MSH, the doctor recommended a CT scan, which Watsi donors have also generously supported, and with these results Aung's father was told that doctors need to replace Aung's VP shunt as the previous shunt from 2016 is blocked. Aung’s father said, “I am very worried for him as he is my son and I hope that he will be healthy as soon as possible. In the future, I want him to be a monk for the rest of his life. Because I know my other older sons will not take good care of him as he is not a healthy boy. If he stays at the temple, he can be able to sleep and eat regularly."
Chit is a 39-year-old woman from Burma. She lives with her daughter, mother-in-law, and her sister-in-law’s three children. Her husband has recently left the village to work in Bangkok so he could increase his income, especially since her condition has worsened. Since she became ill, she feels bored because she is unable to work. Around five months ago, Chit started to feel unwell with a stiff neck, headaches, and pain in her right eye. Soon after, she noticed that the black part of her right eye started to move inward toward the middle of her face, becoming crossed eyed. As soon as she noticed a change in her right eye, she went to a hospital to see a doctor about her condition. At the hospital, she underwent a CT scan of her head which showed normal findings. Therefore, the doctor just gave her an injection and oral medications. A week later, she decided to go see a local medic in her village because she felt like the medications were not helping. The medic looked at her medical test results, assessed her and said she might have a neurological condition. The medic gave her oral medication and another injection. She took the medication she received from the medic, and her symptoms subsided gradually. Chit's symptoms disappeared completely about 20 days ago, but this only lasted around 10 days because she noticed that the black part of her right eye had started to become white and the rest of her eye, normally white, started to turn red. She bought eye drops at a local medication stall, but they did not help. A few days later, she learned about Mae Tao Clinic (MTC), a charitable clinic, from one of her nephews. On January 11th, Chit visited MTC regarding her condition, and a medic explained that unfortunately her eye was not functional anymore and that it needed to be removed due to a severe infection. The medic also explained that if her right eye was not removed, the infection could spread to her left eye and cause the same problem. MTC then brought Chit to Mae Sot Hospital (MSH) and the doctor there confirmed that her eye needs to be removed as soon as possible. Chit said, "It's upsetting to know that I need to have one of my eyes removed. But then, I feel that since the eye is bad, there is no sense in keeping it. In the future, if possible, I want to get a prosthetic eye."
Dylan is a child from Kenya. Dylan and his mother depend on his aunt who sells cereals and has two children besides Dylan. Dylan's mother just completed school and yet to land a job. Dylan’s father left them days before he was born and does not want to be associated with them. Dylan 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 infertility. Fortunately, Dylan is scheduled to undergo corrective surgery on November 15th. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $700 to cover the total cost of his procedure and care. “It pains to know that I cannot fully support my son but I trust God will make a way,” says Dylan’s mother.
Paw is a 62-year-old widow from Thailand. She lives with her older brother in Thaw Lae Hta Village, Mae Sariang Town, Mae Hong Son Province. Paw has works as a homemaker taking care of her brother who cannot work due to congenital mental and physical disabilities. Paw has a younger sister in the same town who supports her financially and is her main source of income. Since 2014, Paw has been experiencing some abnormal pain in her right lower abdomen. She has been diagnosed with a myoma. She has been advised to undergo a total abdominal hysterectomy, the surgical removal of her uterus and cervix. If left untreated, Paw's symptoms will continue to worsen and put her at risk for further health complications in the future. Fortunately, Paw is scheduled to undergo her hysterectomy on November 19th. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to cover the total cost of her procedure and care. Once recovered, Paw will no longer abdominal pain and she will be able to take care of her brother. Paw said, "Since 2019, I have been experiencing increased levels of pain in my right lower abdomen, increased back pain, and difficulty sleeping. Riding a motorbike aggravates the pain even more. I also experience dysuria and sometimes it takes me longer to use the bathroom. My appetite is good, but I cannot eat as much as I want because I experiences abdominal tightness, difficulty breathing, and fullness in my stomach when I eat too much."
Aziza is a pupil from Tanzania. Aziza is a twelve-year-old girl who hopes to become a teacher in future. The class five pupil enjoys learning mathematics and Swahili. However, she struggles with her left land due to secondary burn contractures. When she was three years old, Aziza fell on an open fire when playing with her two siblings. She suffered wrist burns and after a hospital stay, she was discharged to continue with dressing at home. Unfortunately, she healed with contractures on her left wrist. One of her aunts referred her to our facility whereupon review, contracture release was advised. The aunt is afraid that she might not receive surgery as they do not have sufficient money. Aziza's mother passed away three years ago. Aziza currently lives with her aunt who does laundry labourer to provide for the family. Their income is limited to meet just basic needs. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is helping Aziza receive treatment. On October 17th, surgeons at their care center will perform a burn contracture release surgery to allow Aziza fully utilize her hand. Now, she needs help to fund this $832 procedure. Aziza’s aunt says, “Aziza already has a lot of challenges we would be happy and life would be easier for her if she could get her hand treated and be able to use both of her hands in her daily activities.”
Mary walks into my office with the top of her cardigan covering her chin. She sits on the chair opposite me with one hand clasping the top of her black cardigan to veil the swell running from her jawline to her neck. The lower lip protrudes with a peeping swelling attached in so that her upper lip cannot touch the lower one. This has been Mary’s life for over 6 months. Late last year, Mary developed a small swelling on her jaw. It was not painful and therefore she did not think of it as serious. As time passed, the swell grew in size. Mary who could eat just about anything now has restrictions on what she can eat. There is pain when she bends and this has also obstructed her working. Mary is married with two children. She was a subsistence farmer before the condition restricted her activities. Mary and her husband depend on one of their daughter who sells second-hand clothes. Besides helping her parents, she has four children under her care. Mary says, “Please help me because I can barely eat."
Vichhai is a 31-year-old rice farmer from Cambodia. In his free time he likes to go on walks with his family, watch television, feed the animals, and help his family with the work around the house. In March 2019, Vichhai suffered injuries to his right ankle resulting from an accident at work. He is unable to walk without support and often experiences pain. When Vichhai learned about our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, he traveled for over ten hours seeking treatment. On July 10, surgeons at CSC will perform a joint arthrodesis procedure to fuse his right ankle and will help him walk again without difficulty. Now, Vichhai needs help to fund this $480 procedure. He says, "I hope that after my surgery, I will have no pain and can walk again and return to work."