Penelope joined Watsi on March 12th, 2013. Six years ago, Penelope joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Penelope's most recent donation traveled 8,800 miles to support Kry Ya, a 26-year-old man from Cambodia, to fund nerve surgery and restore his mobility.
Penelope has funded healthcare for 81 patients in 11 countries.
Penelope has funded healthcare for 81 patients in 11 countries.
Kry Ya is a 26-year-old factory worker with three brothers and two sisters, all are married and live in other homes. Kry Ya's parents are vegetable sellers. In his free time, Kry Ya enjoys singing, listening to music, playing games, and playing football with friends. In July, Kry Ya was in a motor vehicle accident that caused paralysis of his left shoulder. Kry Ya has been diagnosed with a brachial plexus injury on his left side. The brachial plexus is a nerve network that transmits signals from the spine to the shoulder, arm, and hand. Injuries to this nerve network can result in loss of function and sensation. At this time, Kry Ya is unable to lift his left arm preventing him from working. Kry Ya traveled to our medical partner's care center to receive treatment. This is the only center in the country where this treatment is available. On September 5th, Kry Ya will undergo a brachial plexus repair surgery. After recovery, he will be able to use his hand again. Our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, is raising $709 to fund this procedure. Kry Ya shared, "I hope I can regain function of my arm as soon as possible."
Meet Britney, a sociable, six year old girl, living in a village in rural Kenya. Britney is an only child, and is currently in school. Her mother is unemployed, and relies on family to support her and Britney. While Britney was born a healthy child, her legs began to bow out when she turned two. While her mother, who suffers from the same condition, brought her to various doctors, Britney's condition continued to deteriorate. Well wishers, who noticed Britney's condition, brought her to the AIC Cure International Hospital for further evaluation. Thanks to our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, Britney will undergo surgery on September 27th, to help correct her bowed legs. This procedure will enable Britney to walk more easily, and to live without pain. Britney and her family are seeking $1,224 to fund the operation. "I will be grateful to see my daughter growing and walking well like other children,” Britney’s mother told us.
Aleeson is a three-year-old who needs open-heart surgery. He lives in Port-au-Prince with his parents and one older brother; his father is an accountant and his mother is a homemaker. Aleeson was born with a cardiac condition called Tetralogy of Fallot, which involves several related defects including a hole between two chambers of the heart and a muscular blockage of one of the valves. As a result of these defects, his heart cannot adequately provide oxygen to his body, leaving him weak and short of breath. Doctors will perform open-heart surgery to repair these defects and to allow his heart to function fully. As the care he needs is not available in Haiti, Aleeson will fly to Italy to receive treatment and on September 27th, he will undergo life-saving cardiac surgery. Aleeson's family needs help to fund the costs of surgery prep and travel. The $1,500 bill covers labs, medicines, and checkup and followup appointments. It also supports passport obtainment and the social workers from our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance, who will accompany his family overseas. Aleeson's father shared: "Our family feels very lucky to have this wonderful chance for our son's surgery."
Esther is an adorable two-year-old girl from Kenya who is the only child in her family. Her father used to work in a shop, but he unfortunately lost his job over three months ago. Her mother sells shoes in a local town center to help support their family. When she was seven months old, Esther began experiencing severe constipation, even going two weeks without passing stool. Her worried parents took her to four different hospitals and received different types of medication, which were all ineffective. Fortunately, one of her aunts heard about her condition and referred her to our medical partner's care center, Bethanykids Kijabe Hospital. At the hospital, Esther was examined and diagnosed with Hirschsprung’s disease, a condition that causes difficulty passing stool. She began treatment immediately and eventually underwent several surgeries to rectify her condition. These procedures were all funded by her family's insurance. One of the surgeries Esther underwent was a colostomy, in which the end of the colon is brought through an opening in the abdominal wall. This surgery is often performed to bypass bowel malformations, but colostomies are usually temporary and may call for closure. In Esther's case, her colostomy requires closure in order to restore bowel function and prevent future complications. However, her family is unable to fund this needed surgery, as their insurance rejected their funding request due to a depletion of funds. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF), is helping Esther receive treatment. The surgery is scheduled to take place on July 25th and, once completed, will hopefully allow her to live more comfortably and confidently. AMHF is requesting $1,084 to cover the cost of a colostomy closure for Esther. Esther’s mother says, “As a family, we have gone through a lot with our daughter, but we are grateful to God that the treatment is almost over.”
Abegaelle is a five-year-old girl from Haiti. She lives in the capital city of Port-au-Prince with her parents and older brother. Some of her favorite activities include going to preschool and attending church with her family. Abegaelle was born with a cardiac condition called atrial septal defect, which means a hole exists between the two upper chambers of her heart. As a result, blood leaks through, leaving her weak and short of breath. The care she needs is not available in Haiti, but fortunately, our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance (HCA), is helping Abegaelle receive treatment. She will travel to the Dominican Republic to undergo surgery on July 26th, during which surgeons will insert a catheter to plug the hole in her heart and restore a healthy blood flow. Abegaelle's family is raising $1,500 to cover the costs of her surgery prep, which includes all labs, medication, check-up and follow-up appointments, and the passports needed for HCA's social workers to accompany Abegaelle and her family overseas. Abegaelle's mother shared, "Our family is all very thankful that Abegaelle will have this chance to have her heart fixed!"
Guerdina is a 15-year-old girl who lives in the mountains of central Haiti with her parents and four siblings. When she was 10 years old, Guerdina suffered from rheumatic fever. Her illness severely damaged one of the valves of her heart, making it unable to adequately pump blood through her body. In 2019, she underwent a surgery to repair her damaged heart valve. That procedure helped for several years, but her repaired valve is becoming less functional and now needs to be replaced with an artificial valve. After surgery, Guerdina's heart should be able to pump more normally and her doctors share that she should be able to lead a full and active life. Because the surgery she needs in not available in Haiti, Guerdina must travel overseas to receive surgery. On June 2nd, she will undergo heart surgery with the Cardiac team at the Cleveland Clinic, where surgeons will replace her mitral valve. Our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance (HCA) is helping Guerdina's family raise $1,500 to cover the cost of labs, medication, and follow-up appointments. This will also support her family to obtain passports and the HCA social workers who will accompany Guerdina's family during their travels. Guerdina shared, "my entire family and I would like to say thank you to everyone who has been helping me!"
Erna is a 41-year-old woman and small business owner from the Philippines. She makes a small income from her grilled skewers and juice selling business, along with her husband's work as a company driver. Having had a family history of myoma, a type of tumor that can occur in the uterus, Erna frequently checked herself as a precaution. Unfortunately, in January 2022, she found a mass which was causing minor pain. Erna sought medical consultation and found out that she has myoma. This condition needs to be treated surgically. Erna cannot afford to cover her treatment on her own. Fortunately, a rural health worker helped her reach out to our medical partner, the World Surgical Foundation Philippines. On April 29th, Erna will undergo a hysterectomy to manage her condition and prevent further risk. Our medical partner, World Surgical Foundation Philippines, is requesting $1,485 to cover the total cost of her procedure and care. Once she recovers, she will no longer have a hypogastric mass or be at risk of developing severe health complications in the future. “We were anxious when we found out about my condition. It’s also especially hard for us to think where to find the money to finance my surgery," Erna shared. "The support coming from World Surgical Foundation Philippines and Watsi will be a big help for me and my family. Thank you so much for helping people like me," she added.
Jackson is a fifteen-year-old student and the last-born child to his mother. He has a large family, as is common in the Maasai community where he lives. Jackson is a very hard-working boy both at home and at school. He is social and self-driven. He shared that most boys his age don’t like school or don’t get the chance to attend school, but not Jackson! His favorite subjects are Physics, Swahili, and History. He wishes to be a teacher in the future to help educate his community. Jackson is a big football fan, but he had to stop playing because his legs started hurting and it has gotten difficult for him to walk. Jackson was diagnosed with Bilateral Genu Varus, where both of his legs are curving outwards. 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 experiences pain and difficulty walking. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $880 to fund corrective surgery for Jackson. The procedure is scheduled to take place on March 22nd. Treatment will hopefully restore Jackson's mobility, allow him to participate in a variety of activities, and greatly decrease his risk of future complications. Jackson says, "My legs have made walking very difficult due to the pain. I would like to walk to school without difficulty and enjoy playing sports and helping my parents."
Guy is an 8-year-old student from Haiti. Her lives with his parents and younger brother and sister in the outskirts of Port-au-Prince. He likes going to school and dressing up for church. Guy has a cardiac condition called atrial septal defect. A hole exists between the two upper chambers of his heart; blood leaks through this hole without properly circulating through his body, leaving him sickly and weak. Guy will fly to nearby Dominican Republic to receive treatment as the care he needs is not currently available in Haiti. On February 28th, he will undergo cardiac surgery, during which surgeons will sew a patch over the hole in his heart so that blood can no longer leak through it. Our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance, is contributing $8000 to help pay for his surgery. Guy's family also needs help to fund the costs of surgery prep. The $1,500 bill covers labs, medicines, and his check-up and follow-up appointments. It also supports passport obtainment and the social workers from our medical partner who will accompany Guy's family overseas. His mom is relieved that his surgery is finally happening and shared: "I am looking forward to seeing my son gaining weight and strength after his surgery!"
Hezron is a talkative 26-year-old and hard working man. He gets work where ever he can and rents a small house in someone else's compound. When he doesn't have work to do, he helps care for the cattle on the farm or runs errands for his landlord. In August of last year, Hezron was attacked while transporting farm equipment. His leg was cut badly and his lower fibula was broken in the attack. He is at risk of infection and cannot walk like he used to. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), can help. On January 31st, Hezron will undergo a fracture repair procedure called an open reduction and internal fixation. After treatment, Hezron will hopefully be able to return to his normal life. Now, AMH is requesting $1,500 to fund his procedure and care. Hezron shared, "I’m really looking forward to this surgery as it might be the last one in my treatment."
Jane is a strong 34-year-old woman from Zambezi in Kiambu County. She is married with 3 children. Jane began having abdominal pains and vomiting about four years ago. She visited various hospitals and was treated for ulcers but her symptoms persisted. At one point she was told she had an issue with her liver and was sent to a specialist. Jane had extensive lab tests done and several scans which showed she has cholelithiasis or gallstones. These are hardened deposits of digestive fluid that form in the gallbladder. She came to Nazareth Hospital and consulted the surgeon who recommended laparotomy to finally remove the gallstones. Jane’s husband, who runs a small shop to fend for his family, has registered with the national health insurance program but their coverage has not yet been approved. On seeing his wife’s worsening pain and discomfort he decided he couldn’t wait any longer and came to the hospital to find out about the estimated cost of surgery so that he can organize a community fundraiser (Harambee). The family members are not able to raise the money required on their own and need support. Jane says, “I hope to be treated and get relieved of these symptoms so that my family can stop being in a constant state of worry and uncertainty.”
Desiree is a three-year-old girl from Venezuela. Seven months ago, her family left Venezuela for Colombia seeking better opportunities. After tragically experiencing the loss of Desiree's siblings, Desiree fills her parents' life with joy and happiness. She loves playing with dolls and dancing. One day, her parents hope she will become a ballerina. Desiree was born with amniotic band syndrome. Her condition has affected one of her right toes, which frequently bleeds. Fortunately, our medical partner, Clínica Noel, is helping Desiree receive treatment. On December 7th, she will undergo surgery to stop the bleeding and help her live a healthy and active life ahead. After surgery, she will be able to walk, run, and dance without pain. Now, her family needs help raising $1,500 to fund Desiree's procedure and care. Desiree's mother shared, "first of all I would like to thank you all for making this all possible. Thanks to you and the donors my daughter will stop her pain. I would love to invite people to continue making their donations in order to help families that unfortunately can't pay for their kids' treatment."