Grace joined Watsi on June 22nd, 2012. Three years ago, Grace joined the Universal Fund and became the 56th member to automatically support a new Watsi patient every month. Since then, 2,905 more people have joined! Grace's most recent donation traveled 8,500 miles to support Mary, a student from Kenya, to fund mastectomy surgery.
Mary is a 77-year-old woman from Kenya who loves reading. She has 13 children, all of whom have families. She is a student at an adult education school, and she wants to learn how to read the Bible and write her own signature. About two years ago, Mary discovered a lump in her left breast. After having several tests done, doctors concluded that the lump is cancerous and recommended a mastectomy. On April 18, Mary's doctors at our medical partner will perform a mastectomy to remove the cancer. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $816 to fund the procedure. Mary shares, “I want to see my grandchildren grow and to continue with my education.”
Meet Francisco, a 83-year-old grandfather from Guatemala. He has worked as a farmer for most of his life but has recently retired due to his age and worsening eyesight. Francisco has been diagnosed with a case of complicated cataracts. The clouding of the lenses in his eyes makes it very difficult for Francisco to see. Francisco is very sad about his current inability to see but is very hopeful about his upcoming surgery. Francisco will undergo surgery on March 3 to remove his cataracts. Our medical partner, Wuqu' Kawoq (WK), is asking for $1,500 to help pay for Francisco's surgery. This will also cover travel costs to and from the hospital, pre- and post-operative treatment, and medical evaluation by an ophthalmologist (eye specialist). Francisco shares with WK that his dream is to regain enough eyesight to be able to get his driver's license again and drive himself around. He says, "I give thanks for the opportunity you are giving me in surgery to be be able to see, and therefore live out my old age happily."
"I really need this surgery," explains 50-year-old Yohane. Yohane is a farmer who lives with his wife in central Malawi. They have five children and eight grandchildren. When Yohane is not working on his farm, he likes to weave mats and chat with his friends. For the past year, Yohane has experienced difficulty urinating and pain due to an enlarged prostate. He has been unable to afford treatment. On February 23, Yohane will undergo a prostate resection. This is a minimally-invasive surgery to remove part of the prostate gland and improve the flow of urine through the urethra. This surgery costs $733. Yohane and his family are excited for him to recover and return home.
Moh Zin is a 19-year-old woman. She has been diagnosed with hydrocephalus, which means excess cerebrospinal fluid accumulates in her brain. Moh Zin lives with her parents and two older brothers in a village in Burma. Her parents own a plantation, on which they grow beans. Her father and brothers work on the plantation, while Moh Zin and her mother do housework. As a child, Moh Zin did not exhibit any symptoms. However, not long after she began attending school, her parents noticed that she was walking strangely. She continue to study for several years. Unfortunately, Moh Zin stopped attending school after grade seven, as she could no longer complete the thirty minute bicycle ride to school. Though she experienced limited mobility, Moh Zin could still walk around the house and the neighborhood. She helped her mother at home and carried water from the river. In her free time, she watched Korean dramas on television. Five months ago, however, her symptoms deteriorated. Her vision became blurry, and she developed a fever. Moh Zin visited an ophthalmologist, who performed a CT scan and learned that she had an abnormal brain condition. Certain that they could not afford treatment, Moh Zin’s family returned home. Fortunately, a monk told Moh Zin’s uncle about our medical partner. At this point, Moh Zin was experiencing blurry vision, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and back pain. On November 26, she underwent a shunt insertion surgery to drain the fluid from her brain. Now, her family needs help to fund this $1,500 procedure. After recovery, Moh Zin plans to “work hard and earn money to help support my family.”
Meet Julia, a stay-at-home mother of nine children from Port-au-Prince, Haiti. After the birth of her ninth child, Julia noticed that a large mass had developed in her left breast and formed a ball under her armpit. Julia experienced extreme pain, resulting in loss of sleep and limited function of her left arm. After a consultation at a local hospital, Julia was diagnosed with breast cancer. Julia was referred to our medical partner's care center, St. Luc Family Hospital, where she received four sessions of chemotherapy. On February 15, Julia will undergo a mastectomy to remove all the breast tissue and cancerous cells. Our medical partner, Innovating Health International, is asking for $1,085 to fund Julia's surgery. Julia says that her husband is her biggest supporter and that their family encourages her to keep fighting.
Kamugisha is a 57-year-old father of two girls and five boys. He is a taxi driver and the sole income earner in the family. Kamugisha has difficulty paying for the education of his children and providing for all the needs of the family. Seven months ago, Kamugisha developed a swelling on his left shoulder blade. Over time, the swelling has increased in size. He is unable to sleep on the left side of his body. Kamugisha visited our medical partner's care center, Holy Family Virika Hospital, where he was diagnosed with a lipoma, a fatty lump between the skin and muscle. Without treatment, the mass will continue to grow and cause discomfort and pain. Fortunately, he is scheduled to undergo a mass excision procedure on November 23. After surgery, Kamugisha hopes to continue with his work as a driver. He also wants to start a retail shop to support to his family.
Shankar is a 28-year-old man from Nepal. While he was loading stones onto a truck, a large stone fell on his left leg and fractured his toe. Since then, he has been in pain and has had difficulty moving the injured foot. Shankar visited the primary health post near his village. He was diagnosed with a fractured toe and was referred to our medical partner's hospital, Bayalpata Hospital. To seek medical treatment, Shankar and his family drove for two hours to reach the hospital. He underwent a fracture repair procedure on December 23. Shankar lives with his wife and children. He is a microfinance officer, and his wife works in the field and looks after their children. They need help to fund this $541 procedure.
Aracely is a nine-month-old girl from Guatemala. Her parents cannot afford to give her the calories, protein, and nutrients she needs to grow. For this reason, she is only the size of a healthy three-month-old. She also experiences frequent gastrointestinal infections. Aracely has been diagnosed with acute malnutrition. She has little energy to grow, and her immune system is weak and vulnerable to illness. She is also at risk of chronic disease and delayed development. Fortunately, she began malnutrition treatment on November 24, 2016. Aracely loves to play with her stuffed animals with her older sister, Martina. She also loves eating bananas, apple, and beans. She lives with her older sister and her parents in a one-room house with a tin roof. Her father works as a day laborer, harvesting crops on a local plantation. Her mother is a weaver of traditional Mayan textiles. Her parents need help to fund this $512 treatment. While malnutrition can have devastating effects, it is also very treatable. Growth monitoring, micronutrients, and food supplementation will help Aracely recover. She will gain weight and grow taller to catch up with other children her age, and her immune system will grow stronger. Community health workers will teach her mother about creating a nutrient-rich diet from limited resources. Treatment will give Aracely a chance to grow healthy and strong. "I am so appreciative to be able to enter into this program for my daughter," says Aracely's mother. "I did not know that she was malnourished, and now I am excited to learn how I can help her recover."
Komuhimbo is a 27-year-old mother of one child who lives in Uganda. She owns a retail shop selling herbicides for tomatoes, onions, oranges, and eggplants. She also grows food for her family. Her husband works as a porter at construction sites. In 2013, Komuhimbo developed a growth on her right shoulder. Over time, it increased in size. The growth was painful when she worked, especially when she washed clothes or fetched water. Komuhimbo visited a hospital, where she was diagnosed with a lipoma. Lipomas are benign, fatty tumors that grow between the skin and the underlying layer of muscle. They can occur anywhere on the body. Lipomas can be painful if they press on nearby nerves or blood vessels. "I am afraid the swelling might prevent me from taking care of my family in the future when it grows bigger," shared Komuhimbo Komuhimbo was advised to have surgery to remove the lipoma. Knowing she could not afford healthcare, she decided instead to use herbal medicines. When her symptoms did not improve, she visited our medical partner's hospital, Holy Family Virika Hospital. There, she underwent a mass excision procedure on November 16. Surgeons removed the lipoma from her shoulder. Komuhimbo earns little money from her shop. She and her husband cannot afford this surgery, so our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $196 in funding. After surgery, Komuhimbo hopes to continue with her retail shop and to work hard on her farm to produce enough food for the family.
Maikon is an 18-month-old boy from Guatemala. When he was an infant, his mother was unable to produce breastmilk, and Watsi donors funded lactational failure treatment. Now that Maikon is eating solid foods, his parents have had trouble affording foods rich in calories, protein, and nutrients. He has been diagnosed with acute malnutrition. Fortunately, Maikon began malnutrition treatment on October 28, 2016. Maikon is the youngest child in his family, and he is always making his family members laugh. He loves to play with his toy car and ball, a gift from his older sister. Even though Maikon loves to eat carrots and papaya, his parents often can't afford to give him these foods. His father is a farmer, and his mother weaves traditional Mayan textiles. Together they only make a couple dollars per day. They need help to fund this $512 treatment. While malnutrition can have devastating effects, it is also very treatable. Growth monitoring, micronutrients, and food supplementation will help Maikon recover. He will gain weight and grow taller to catch up with other children his age, and his immune system will grow stronger. Community health workers will teach his mother about creating a nutrient-rich diet from limited resources. Treatment will give Maikon a chance to grow healthy and strong.
Torn is a 49-year-old rice farmer with one son, two daughters, and three grandchildren. He likes to watch the news, music videos, and concerts on TV. One year ago, Torn developed a cataract in each eye, causing him blurred vision and irritation. He has difficulty seeing things clearly, working, and going anywhere by himself. When Torn learned about our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, he traveled for three hours seeking treatment. On November 7, doctors performed a small incision cataract surgery and an intraocular lens implant in each eye. After recovery, Torn will be able to see clearly again. Now, he needs help to fund this $292 procedure. "I hope that I can see everything more clearly," he says, "so that I can continue my work as a farmer and drive my motorbike easily. I want to be able to go anywhere by myself."
Kris is a two-year-old boy who lives with his grandmother in a wooden house. His father is a tricycle driver, and he has difficulty providing enough for the family. As a result, Kris Robert is much lighter than other children his age. He has been diagnosed with severe acute malnutrition. Kris began $268 malnutrition treatment on October 19. He is being treated by International Care Ministries (ICM), a Watsi medical partner. One out of five children under five in ICM communities is either severely or moderately acutely malnourished. Worldwide, poor nutrition is associated with nearly half of all deaths in young children. In remote communities and urban slums of the Philippines, the lack of clean water and unclean environments add risk to potentially fatal childhood diseases. ICM’s Home-Based Feeding program provides nutrient-enriched food packs to ensure malnourished children get additional food to regain normal weight and achieve optimum physical and mental development. After identifying a child as malnourished, staff and community volunteers make weekly visits to monitor this child’s progress. To help sustain the health of the child, ICM's professional staff educate the mother, guardian, or other family members about proper nutrition, sanitation, hygiene, and organic vegetable gardening. Kris's grandmother says, "I hope Kris will recover from malnutrition."