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, 3,055 more people have joined! Grace's most recent donation traveled 1,900 miles to support Ketchina, a young girl from Haiti, to fund prep for cardiac surgery.
Ketchina is an eight-year-old girl from Haiti. She lives with her parents, and two sisters. She is in the third grade and enjoys drawing and playing with dolls. Ketchina was born with tricuspid atresia, a condition in which her heart only has three valves, instead of the normal four. This prevents oxygen-rich blood from properly circulating throughout her body. On July 11, Ketchina will be traveling from her home in Haiti to our medical partner's care center, Health City Cayman Islands, in the Cayman Islands. There she will undergo heart surgery. Our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance, is asking for $1,500 to help cover the cost of Ketchina's surgery prep. Another organization, Have a Heart Cayman, has contributed $27,000 towards her treatment. We are also fundraising for her [transportation costs](https://watsi.org/profile/e94e481a0a43-ketchina). "I will be glad for the surgery to be over so that we can let Ketchina go to school and play with her friends without worrying about her," says Ketchina's mother.
Nyein is a 12-year-old student who lives in Thailand with his parents and two younger brothers. Nyein’s father works as a delivery man for construction sites, while his mother looks after the children at home. One day, Nyein was playing outside with his friends and younger brother. While they were playing, one of them accidentally threw the ball they were playing with over a tall fence. Nyein started to climb over the fence to fetch the ball, but while he was climbing, he lost his grip, fell, and broke his ankle. Nyein’s younger brother ran home and fetched their father, who hired a motorcycle taxi and took Neyin to a clinic. When they arrived, a medic told Nyein's father that they could not treat his son and suggested that Nyein’s family bring him to the hospital. Nyein’s father did not have any money and was worried Nyein would be refused treatment. Luckily, Nyein can receive the treatment he needs with help from our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF). Nyein says, "I hope that I can recover soon so that I can continue to study and become an educated man in the future." Watsi is requesting $1,500 to help fund the operation Nyein needs to treat his fracture, along with crutches, and his hospital stay. He will receive treatment on June 2.
Raphael is a 13-year-old boy from Kenya who is his mother's only child. He was born with an abnormal mass between his eyes called a frontal encephalocele. His ability to engage in the same activities as his peers has been severely impacted. As the mass continued to grow and worsen throughout the years, Raphael began to have impaired vision and difficulty breathing. Simple tasks are rendered difficult. If left untreated, his condition could also result in mental and growth retardation. His school teachers became concerned and decided to bring him to our medical partner's care center, Bethany Kids Kijabe Hospital, to seek treatment. It was determined that Raphael would need an encephalocoele repair to remove the mass from his face. Since Raphael's mother is the only provider for their family and earns a small income, it is difficult for her to come up with the funds herself. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $929 to help fund young Raphael's surgery, which is scheduled for April 12.
Roberto is ten years old and lives in the outskirts of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic with his mother and two sisters. He is in the fourth grade and would like to be a pilot when he grows up. Roberto was born with a cardiac condition called ventricular septal defect, in which a hole exists between the two lower chambers of his heart. Blood leaks through this hole without first passing through the lungs to obtain oxygen, leaving him sickly and weak. Although Roberto is not Haitian, our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance, is collaborating with their partners in the Dominican Republic to offer treatment to Dominican children. He will undergo cardiac surgery at our medical partner's care center. First, Roberto will undergo a full cardiac assessment on February 13. This assessment will include physical exams, labs, and an overnight stay at the hospital. Haiti Cardiac Alliance is requesting $1,500 to fund these procedures. Funding for Roberto also covers the cost of medications and social support for him and him family. Gift of Life International is contributing $7,000 to cover additional costs associated with Roberto's surgical care. "I want to say thank you to everyone who is helping me to get my heart fixed," says Roberto.
Micaela is a 55-year-old mother of five from Guatemala. She's lived alone since her husband died ten years ago. For a living, she sells tortillas and manages a small store near her home. She's worked incredibly hard to raise her children, and she's very proud of them now that they're grown. Micaela has been diagnosed with cervical cancer, which is the leading cause of death among women in Guatemala. Early stage cervical cancer is asymptomatic. Most women in rural indigenous communities, like the one Micaela is from, cannot afford and do not have access to the pap exam and the follow-up. Micaela first visited our medical partner, Wuqu' Kawoq, in 2015. Her pap results were abnormal, so she received a colposcopy to test for further cell changes. She now needs to undergo radiation. However, she makes very little money and cannot afford the therapy. Wuqu' Kawoq is requesting $1,487 to fund Micaela's treatment. Radiation therapy will give Micaela her best chance to get well and beat her cancer.
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.