Blake joined Watsi on March 12th, 2013. Seven years ago, Blake joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Blake's most recent donation supported Thu Ya, an earnest young man from Thailand, to fund mitral valve surgery to fix his severe heart condition.
Blake has funded healthcare for 78 patients in 13 countries.
Blake has funded healthcare for 78 patients in 13 countries.
Thu Ya is a 24-year-old man who moved to Mae Sot in April to live with his older sister and search for better job opportunities. Thu Ya’s sister works in an electronics factory, and his brother-in-law works as an agricultural day labourer. Thu Ya does not have regular work yet, but he is paid per task for completing miscellaneous jobs for the factory where his sister works. Their monthly income is just enough to cover their daily needs and pay for basic health care. Every month they send money to Thu Ya and his sister’s parents, who look after his sister’s daughter. Thu Ya was diagnosed with a heart condition that involves a malformation of the mitral valve, the valve between the left atrium and left ventricle. This valve controls the flow of blood, but certain conditions may cause blood to flow backward or the valve to narrow. Currently, Thu Ya experiences shortness of breath when he walks longer distances or whenever he is active. He often experiences rapid breathing and feels tired. He cannot sleep well at night, and he has heart palpitations. He has a poor appetite, and he has not been able to help his sister much around the house since early September 2022. His sister is very worried about his condition. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund a mitral valve replacement for Thu Ya. The treatment is scheduled to take place on November 22nd and, once completed, will hopefully allow him to live more comfortably. His sister said, “I have a few sisters, but Thu Ya is my only brother. When I see him in this condition, I feel sad and worried about him. I hope that he will receive surgery and that he will get better soon."
Monicah is a shy four year old girl who loves being with her grandmother. She is the first born in a family of two. She hails from a village in Machakos county, Kenya. Monicah was diagnosed to have hemiplegic cerebral palsy, a condition that paralyses one side of the body. She also has clubfoot of her right foot. Clubfoot is a condition in which the foot is twisted out of shape. This causes difficulty walking and even wearing shoes. Fortunately, Monicah's family traveled to visit our medical partner's care center, AIC Cure International Hospital. There, surgeons will perform clubfoot repair surgery on October 25th. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,286 to fund Monicah's clubfoot repair. The surgery will be impactful to her since she will be able to walk without pain and finally she will be able to step on the ground with her right foot. “I am pleading support for my daughter to undergo surgery. I would love to see her stepping on the ground confidently,” Monicah’s mother told us.
Grace is a happy 9-year-old from Kenya and the fifth born in her family of six. Grace is close with her mother and helps care for her younger brother. Grace's mother works as a farmer to support her family. Grace is experiencing clubfoot of both her feet. Clubfoot is a condition in which the foot is twisted out of shape, which causes difficulty walking and wearing shoes. Fortunately, Grace's family was able to travel to our medical partner's care center for support. On September 26th, surgeons will perform clubfoot repair surgery that will allow Grace to walk well upon her recovery. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), is requesting $1,286 to fund Grace's surgery. Grace's family shared, "I am so grateful to Watsi for the support. May you be blessed and continue helping needier patients.”
Samuel is a nine-year-old student who lives with his parents and three siblings in Haiti's capital city, Port-au-Prince. He is currently in third grade and enjoys studying history and science. Samuel has a cardiac condition called Tetralogy of Fallot, which is a combination of four different congenital heart defects, including a hole between two chambers of the heart and a muscular blockage of one of the valves. Fortunately, Samuel is scheduled to travel to the United States where he will undergo cardiac surgery on September 14th at Akron Children's Hospital. During the procedure, surgeons will sew a patch over the hole in his heart and remove the blockage from his valve. A portion of the cost of Samuel's treatment is being supported by Akron Children's Hospital. Our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance (HCA), is raising the remaining $1,500 to cover the costs of his surgery prep, which includes all labs, medication, check-up and follow-up appointments, and the passports needed for HCA’s social workers to accompany Samuel and his family overseas. Samuel's mother says, "I have been very worried about my son's health for many years. I am looking forward to being able to stop worrying so much after this surgery!"
Alison is a sweet 6-year-old from Bolivia who loves princesses and coloring in coloring books! She lives with her parents in a small town on the border between Bolivia and Argentina. Her father is a minibus taxi driver, and her mother is currently finishing her university studies. Alison also attends school and recently finished first grade. Alison was born with a ventricular septal defect, a cardiac condition in which a hole exists between the two lower chambers of the heart. Blood leaks through this hole without first passing through the lungs to obtain oxygen, leaving her feeling weak and short of breath. Fortunately, Alison is scheduled to undergo heart surgery on July 26th with the support of our long-standing medical partner Haiti Cardiac Alliance, which is now growing and expanding into Bolivia. Surgeons will close the hole with a patch, allowing blood to properly flow through her body and improving her quality of life. Another organization, Gift of Life International, is contributing $2,500 to pay for a portion of Alison's procedure costs. Our medical partner is requesting $1,500 to cover the remaining costs, which funds surgical expenses, cardiac exams, medications, and travel fees so Alison and her family can travel to receive her life-changing cardiac procedure in La Paz. Alison's mother shares, "Our family is so grateful for this opportunity to save our daughter's life!"
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.”