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 Lydia, a 25-year-old farmer and loving mom from Kenya, to fund burn treatment on her hand.
Blake has funded healthcare for 73 patients in 12 countries.
Blake has funded healthcare for 73 patients in 12 countries.
Meet Lydia, a 25-year-old mother of three, living with her husband and children in rural Kenya. Lydia and her husband both work as farmers, and live with her husband's parents. Lydia, who has epilepsy, fainted while she was preparing food for her children. She sustained severe burns on her left hand, extending to the left forearm. Lydia was admitted to the hospital, where she was treated, but her wounds became infected, and she lost her fingers. After three weeks of medication and surgeries, Lydia’s medical costs rose to a level that her family could not sustain, so the decision was made to discharge her from the hospital, even though her condition had not improved. Lydia is worried about being able to care for her children now that she can no longer work as a farmer. Her mother-in-law is also concerned about her future, and the difficulties she may face: will she be able to do laundry and cook, will she face social problems or financial challenges? Lydia requires skin grafting to heal her burn wounds and treat her infection. Her family, who sold everything at home to raise funds for Lydia's initial treatment, cannot afford the cost of her procedure. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $1,089 to fund her surgery, which is scheduled to take place on May 25th, at AIC Kapsowar Hospital. Lydia shared: “It is difficult to look at my hand; I want to get better than this. Please help me improve the quality of my life.”
Stefano is a 5-year-old child from Tanzania. Stefano’s parents are small-scale farmers and livestock keepers. They are not able to afford their son’s treatment costs thus they are asking for help. When we first met Stefano he was having difficulty walking and it was challenging for him to do day-to-day tasks. He looked tired despite being carried on her mother’s back. Stefano has needed support from the hospital to get healthy enough for surgery and has been receiving care since last November. He now is healthy enough to undergo surgery for his leg condition. Stefano was diagnosed with windswept deformity. His legs bow so that the knees appear windswept. 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 has a difficult time walking and experiences pain. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $880 to fund corrective surgery for Stefano. The procedure is scheduled to take place on April 22nd. Treatment will hopefully restore Stefano's mobility, allow him to participate in a variety of activities, and greatly decrease his risk of future complications. Stefano’s mother shared in her language, “Mchugaji alituambia tunaweza kupata msaada wa matibabu kwa ajili yam toto wetu hapa.” Meaning: "The pastor told us our son could get treatment help from here."
Feven is a beautiful 7-month-old baby girl from Ethiopia. She has two older brothers and five sisters. She loves to play with her mom. Her dad is a farmer and he works hard, but his income is not enough to maintain the family so his brother often helps. All their children are in school and Feven's mom sometimes is able to sell items at the market. Feven was born with a birth defect called anorectal malformation. She developed bowel obstruction because of her condition and had an emergency colostomy surgery. Her parents shared that they are highly affected psychologically and are sad and worried about their baby. Feven now needs a follow up surgery to help her eliminate bowel dysfunction. She is scheduled to undergo surgery to correct her condition on March 22nd. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $1,500 to cover the total cost of her procedure and care. After her recovery, Feven will no longer experience bowel dysfunction or be at risk of developing related health complications in the future. Her mom shared, “We were so worried. But thank God he gave us this opportunity.”
Benzaqueen is a 4-month-old baby and the second born in a family of two children. Her parents work hard to make ends meet for their family. Before she was caring for Benzaqueen, her mother used to do jobs like plowing and house chores for people to earn a living. Her father mostly works in construction sites when he can find jobs to provide for their family. Benzaqueen 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, Benzaqueen has been experiencing an increasing head circumference. Without treatment, Benzaqueen will experience severe physical and developmental delays. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $720 to cover the cost of surgery for Benzaqueen that will treat her hydrocephalus. The procedure is scheduled to take place on February 24th and will drain the excess fluid from Benzaqueen's brain. This will reduce intracranial pressure and greatly improve her quality of life. With proper treatment, Benzaqueen will hopefully develop into a strong, healthy young girl! Benzaqueen’s mother says, “We just cannot wait for our child to be fully out of the hospital and treated. We hope for the best.”
Jacinta is a beautiful 38-year-old small-business woman. She is the third born in a family of four, and a mother of one 15-year-old child. Jacinta was married but due to challenges, she separated from her husband and has been taking care of her son alone. Jacinta was trained in hotel management and was working in a big hotel before Covid-19 when she and some of her colleagues lost their jobs. She shared that since then, life has not been easy. Jacinta decided to start a small food kiosk to help meet the basic needs of herself and her son. Since one year ago, Jacinta has been experiencing on and off pain at the lower abdomen and irregular bleeding. She has been diagnosed with multiple myomas and now needs to undergo a hysterectomy, a procedure in which surgeons will remove her uterus. She had a previous surgery, but doctors have recommended that this will help fully heal her condition. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $755 to fund Jacinta's surgery. On January 28th, she will undergo gynecological surgery at our medical partner's care center. Once recovered, Jacinta will be able to resume her daily activities free of pain. “I am ashamed to keep asking for help. If I was still employed, I would be able to take care of my medical bills. I kindly request assistance again, so that this condition can be treated and I can regain my normal life. This will enable me to work hard and support my son,” said Jacinta.
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.