United States • linkedin.com/in/penelopekim
Penelope joined Watsi on March 12th, 2013. Seven years ago, Penelope joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Penelope's most recent donation traveled 8,600 miles to support Pwey, a 72-year-old man from Thailand, to fund lens replacement surgery.
Penelope has funded healthcare for 85 patients in 12 countries.
Penelope has funded healthcare for 85 patients in 12 countries.
Pwey is a 72-year-old man from Thailand. He lives alone in a refugee camp in northern Thailand. He raises chickens and receives some financial help from his daughter who also lives in the camp. He has cataracts and his vision is blurred. His eyes are also sensitive to light and from his right eye, he can only make out shapes. He can still see with his left eye but he is unable to cook and walk without assistance. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund lens replacement surgery for Pwey. On February 22nd, doctors will perform a lens replacement, during which they will remove Pwey's natural lenses and replace them with an intraocular lens implant in each eye. After recovery, he will be able to see clearly. Pwey needs help to fund this $1,500 procedure. He said, “I like living alone. Even though my daughter asks me to move in with her, I don’t want to. Since I live alone, I want my vision to improve so that I can cook and do everything on my own. Most importantly, so that I can walk faster without worrying about slipping or tripping on something.”
Miheretu is a sweet nine month old boy, who loves to play with his mother and other children. Miheretu's father works as a day laborer, while his mother stays at home to care for their children. Sadly, the family's income is insufficient to supply adequate food for the children, leaving Miheretu nutritionally deprived. Due to the concerns of his doctors, Miheretu underwent a colostomy for what was determined to be Hirschsprung's Disease. This is a condition that is present at birth, in which the baby's colon is missing necessary nerve cells. Without these cells, the muscles of Miheretu's gut cannot move contents through his colon, which can result in the contents backing up and causing a bowel blockage. After the colostomy, Miheretu's parents brought him back home, as they were unable to pay for the additional medical care that he needs. Thanks to the intervention of a local charitable organization, Miheretu was brought to BethanyKids Myungsung Christian Medical Centre, where on January 5th, doctors from our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, will perform a Hirschsprung Pull Through. During this procedure, doctors will remove the damaged section of Miheretu's colon, which will alleviate the bowel obstruction, and allow for normal colon function. Miheretu's parents cannot afford the $1,500 cost of the surgery, and are looking to you for help. Miheretu's mother says: “If my child gets the surgery and recovers, I will give thanks to God in front of all church members and tell my testimony. I will take care of him to the best of my capacity. I want him to get an education and to get married one day.”
James is a 63yr old man from Elgeyo Marakwet County in Kenya. He is married and has eight children - some of still in high school while others are married. Formerly, James worked in the forestry department for twenty years and he managed to educate his children as he used to earn a salary. Currently he is a farmer who plants maize, millet and sorghum in his small piece of land for consumption and sale. He has been able to get his basic needs and that of his family through the sale of farm produce. He has no medical coverage or insurance at the moment. Recently, James fell down and rolled down a hill when he was attempting to move his cow. He is in a lot of pain, unable to use both legs. The timing of his injury is unfortunate, because he needs to tend to his farm. He has nothing that can enable him get funds at the moment. Two of his sons managed to get ksh 10,000 which is not even a quarter of the required amount for his procedure. James has suffered fractures around both his knee joints, and they require special attention so that they may not damage the articular cartilage. He needs an urgent procedure on one of his limbs, which will also enable him undergo the surgery he needs on his other leg more quickly as well. The finance issue is barring him from getting his surgery. He is now appealing to all well-wishers for help in order to get his surgery done. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner can help. On December 7th, James will undergo a fracture repair procedure, called an open reduction and internal fixation. He will no longer be in pain, and will be able to walk, work and provide for his family. Now, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,145 to fund this procedure. James says, “I am in so much pain. I cannot imagine that I am not able to walk and do things on my own. I don’t regret anything, I just thank God who protected my life. Kindly help me so that I may not become a burden to my children.”
Andy lives in a neighborhood of La Paz with his parents and younger sister; he is in the fifth grade and likes playing video games and spending time with his friends and family. Andy was born with a heart condition called ventricular septal defect: a hole exists between the two lower chambers of his heart, and blood leaks through this hole without passing through his lungs to obtain oxygen, leaving him weak and short of breath. During surgery, doctors will sew a patch over this hole to close it. His surgery costs $1,500, and Andy's family needs help to pay for it. Andy's mother said, "Our family is very hopeful that after this surgery Andy will have more energy and will grow bigger and stronger!"
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."