Penelope joined Watsi on March 12th, 2013. Five years ago, Penelope joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Penelope's most recent donation traveled 8,300 miles to support Cho, a homemaker from Burma, to treat a severe infection and restore her mobility.
Penelope has funded healthcare for 68 patients in 10 countries.
Penelope has funded healthcare for 68 patients in 10 countries.
Cho is a 50-year-old woman who lives with her husband and their three children in Burma. Cho is a homemaker, and her three children are students. However, their school is currently closed due to the ongoing political and humanitarian crisis in the country. Her husband used to work as a day labourer in Mawlamyine City but stopped working a few months ago because he was afraid of the military arresting him. To support his family, he goes fishing everyday near their village. From selling any surplus fish, he is able to earn about 100,000 kyat (approx. 100 USD) per month. This income is not enough to cover their daily needs or pay for basic health care, but they are working hard to get by. A few months ago, Cho noticed that she had a blister on her left heel. A few days later it burst and became an ulcer. Although she wanted to see a doctor, most of the public clinics and hospitals were closed, and she also could not afford to pay for treatment at them. In early September 2021, she went to a pharmacy nearby to buy medication for her diabetes but they could only provide her with painkillers and cleaning solution for the wound. At home, Cho cleaned the ulcer, but it continued to worsen. One day, her neighbour told her to go to Mawlamyine Christian Leprosy Hospital (MCLH), where she could receive affordable and good services. Cho borrowed money and went to MCLH. She was admitted on September 28th 2021, and the doctor examined her left heel and saw that her heel was swollen and that the ulcer had pus in it. The doctor then scheduled her to undergo surgery on September 30th 2021 to clean the ulcer and remove any necrotic tissue so she can heal. Our care center is requesting $694 to fund of Cho's wound debridement surgery, including her hospital stay and all other medical costs. Currently, Cho is in a lot of pain. When the temperature is cooler, especially at night, the pain worsens. If she does not take pain medication, she cannot sleep at night. Cho said, "When I heard donors may support my surgery, I felt very happy. Even though we have not met you in person, I want to thank you so much for helping me. I just want to live a healthy and happy life with my family.”
Salome is a jovial but very timid student. Her mother does most of the talking as she lovingly clings to her. Currently a fourth-grade student, and she aspires to be a teacher in the future. Salome is the second born in a family of four. Her older sibling is 17 years old, and the youngest is 8 years of age. Her father is a casual laborer who transports meat to butcheries around the Kagwe area in Kenya. Her mother is also a casual laborer and tends to farms for a living. They live in their ancestral home on a quarter an acre farm. Since birth, Salome has had an umbilical hernia. If not treated, the hernia could result in intestinal tissue damage and/or death. Fortunately, on August 26th, she will undergo repair surgery at our medical partner's care center, BethanyKids Kijabe Hospital. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $585 to fund Salome's surgery. Once completed, this procedure will hopefully allow her to live more comfortably and to continue her studies. Salome’s mother says, “My baby has had this condition since birth. We have not been able to take her to a hospital because we are financially struggling. I hope her condition does not threaten her life.”
Hy is a 38-year-old fisherman from Cambodia. He has been married for 9 years and has 2 young sons. His wife worked in a factory but now stays at home to look after Hy. One year ago, Hy was in a motor vehicle accident that left him with fractures that caused paralysis of his left arm. He was brought to a government hospital for treatment, but his arm still did not recover sensation or feeling after weeks of treatment. Hy 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. He is unable to lift his arm, is in chronic pain, and can't work Fortunately, Hy traveled to our medical partner's care center to receive treatment. On July 30th, he will undergo a brachial plexus repair surgery so that he will be able to use his arm again. Our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre (CSC), is requesting $696 to fund this procedure. He hopes that he can use his arm as soon as possible and can return to work to support his family.
Chan is a 37-year-old rice farmer. He's married and has a one-year-old daughter. His wife is also working as a rainy season rice farmer. Chan enjoys listening to the news and taking care of his daughter. In May of 2021, Chan was injured by a large piece of falling wood when he was cutting a tree, causing fractures on his arm and elbow. After the accident, Chan first turned to Khmer traditional medicine for treatment, but his condition did not improve. It is still difficult to for him to use his hand and he still experiences chronic pain. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, can help. On June 23rd, Chan will undergo a fracture repair procedure, which will cost $465. This procedure will let him use his left hand easily again. Chan shares, "I am so thankful for the help and hope I will heel soon so I can return to work."
Rexa is a 47-year-old mother from Malawi. She has four children, and her sister lives together with their family. Rexa has been selling second-hand clothes called kaunjika locally, but had to pause her business last December due to her health condition. Rexa’s husband is an electrician and is currently unemployed. Two of their children are in college, and they shared that their family is struggling to pay their school fees. Rexa also cares for her mom, who lives in the village. Last December, Rexa started having sharp pains in her abdomen radiating to the back and both legs. Her husband has taken her to many hospitals to figure out the cause of her pain, and it has cost their family a significant amount of money. After being evaluated for peptic ulcers, heart, liver, and kidney problems to no avail, she finally was diagnosed in April with uterine fibroids. Fibroids are abnormal growths that develop in or on a woman's uterus. These growths may become quite large and cause severe abdominal pain and heavy bleeding. If left untreated, fibroids can continue to grow, both in size and number, and could result in increased heavy bleeding or a fatal case of anemia. Rexa was referred to Partners in Hope Medical Center for further review and the gynecologist recommended that she undergo a hysterectomy, which will remove her uterus and cervix and hopefully cure her of this pain. However, she has no insurance and is unable to pay for the cost of her care due to her family's earnings. Rexa will be receiving assistance from our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare. She is scheduled to undergo a hysterectomy on May 28th, and African Mission Healthcare is requesting $1,363 to cover the total cost of her procedure and care. After the surgery, Rexa is hopeful that she will stop having abdominal pains and can return to normal life, which can help her resume her business and support her family members again. Rexa's husband shared, “I am excited that finally there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel. When my wife feels pain, I also feel pain and I fail to go and look for work to support the family. I strongly believe that this surgery will bring an end to our misery and sleepless nights. Now we will stop begging relatives for support with even transport money to the hospital, I am very grateful to the donors!”
Jane is a 53-year-old woman who works as a street vendor in Kenya. Her husband was a hotelier, but she shared with us that he has been jobless for over ten years since he suffered a stroke. She shared that he has been in and out of the hospital seeking treatment and the family has been relying on friends and relatives to settle bills and cover medical trips. Jane herself has now been diagnosed with breast cancer. A mastectomy, a surgery to remove breast tissue, has been recommended to rid her body of the cancer and to prevent it from metastasizing. Without treatment, the cancer may spread to other organs. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), is helping Jane to receive treatment. On May 3rd, she will undergo a mastectomy at AMH's care center. After treatment, Jane will hopefully return to a cancer-free life. Now, AMH is requesting $857 to cover the cost of a mastectomy for Jane. Jane shared that she is feeling, “I have nothing to smile about, the cancer is threatening my health and we have been treating my husband who had a stroke. I hope I will be able to get help.”
Senghong is an 18-year-old driver who lives in a province outside of the capital city of Cambodia with his older sister and parents. Senghong's mother is a factory worker, his father is a rice farmer, and his sister is studying at university. Two years ago, Senghong stopped school after 10th grade and has been working as a driver for a construction company. In his free time he enjoys playing football, volleyball, meeting up with friends, and listening to music. In December 2020, Senghong was in a motor vehicle accident that caused a mal-union fracture of his right wrist. It is difficult for him to use this hand now and he is in chronic pain. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, can help. On March 15th, Senghong will undergo a fracture repair procedure, which will cost $465. This procedure will allow him to use his hand and start working again. Senghong said, "I am thankful for your help and I hope I can return to work soon once I am healed."
In late January, the Muinde family from Kenya was blessed with their firstborn child, a daughter they named Emmaculate. Emmaculate's mother works in a mobile money shop and Emmaculate's father has a small electronics shop. They live in a small rented house in Nakuru, and are able to use their income to cover most of their family's basic needs. They learned that Emmaculate was born with a rare form of craniosynostosis, which meant that her eyes were not fully formed and her pupil was not visible in both of her eyes. A few days after her birth, Emmaculate was reviewed at her local clinic, and the doctor referred Emmaculate to a nearby facility for further examination. Ultimately, Emmaculate was seen by the doctors at our Medical Partner Care Center BethanyKids Kijabe Hospital (BKKH). On March 1st, Emmaculate will undergo a craniotomy in order to release the pressure in her brain. However, Emmaculate’s parents are not able to cover the amount needed for her surgery. Emmaculate’s father says, “When I was told about my child’s condition and the treatment required, my heart sank as we could not afford any of this treatment. As a family, we are requesting financial help.”
Jonah is a 9-year-old student from Kenya. He is a jovial and high-spirited boy. Jonah is the seventh born in a family of eight children. Under the sponsorship of a well-wisher, he is a second grade student at Mwiteria Vision Academy. Jonah's family hails from Iteria Village in Meru County. His mother is a single parent who used to be a farmer, but now stays at home to take care of her children. She recently underwent an amputation on her leg after suffering from diabetes. Jonah has clubfoot, a condition in which the foot is twisted out of shape. This causes difficulty walking and even with wearing shoes. His mother, sister, and elder brother brought him to AIC Hospital's mobile clinic in Meru to seek treatment. Watsi donors supported surgery for his left foot and now his family has returned to help heal is right foot as well. Jonah will be receiving assistance from our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation. Fortunately, he is scheduled to under go a clubfoot repair surgery on January 25th. African Mission Healthcare Foundation is requesting $1,286 to fund Jonah's clubfoot repair. After treatment, he will be able to walk and play easily again. Rosaria, Jonah's mother shared, “We are grateful for helping my two sons undergo surgery. We have seen a lot of impact on their feet. Previously, they used to complain of pain while walking and they like playing a lot. We plead for more support to ensure that their feet can be able to step on the ground and walk like other children. God bless you."
San is a 23-year-old fisherman from Cambodia. San has been married for two years and has a son who is one. His wife is a farmer. In his free time, San enjoys meeting friends, doing house work, taking care of his son, and taking his wife to their local market. San had an accident with a machine on a fishing boat that caused a fracture of his right arm and damaged the nerves. He has been diagnosed with a brachial plexus injury on his right 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. He is unable to lift his arm and he cannot work. San traveled to our medical partner's care center to receive treatment. On December 21st, he will undergo a brachial plexus repair surgery. After recovery, he will be able to use his arm again. Our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, is requesting $696 to fund this procedure. San said, "I hope after surgery I get back full arm function and can work again."
Jackline is a 13-year-old girl from Kenya and the fifth born in a family of six children. Her father works as a farmer, while her mother is a housewife. In school, Jackline is a humble and hardworking Class 8 student. She aspires to be a doctor in the future so that she can be of help to her village, where the community feels they are marginalized and lack facilities like hospitals and schools. Jackline was born with a condition known as bilateral genu valgum, or knock knees. This condition has severely affected her mobility. She cannot walk for a long distance or play with her friends, and this has greatly affected her self-esteem. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner's care center can help. On December 1st, Jackline is scheduled to undergo corrective surgery on her left leg, and then will subsequently undergo surgery on her right leg. The surgery will be of great impact because, once recovered, she will be able to walk well without pain and discomfort. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $1,224 to cover the total cost of her procedure and care. Jackline shared, "I will be very happy if my legs are corrected and I can walk to school like my friends." Hellen, Jackline's mother, added, “We are appealing for help from well-wishers so that our daughter can walk normally.”
Mary is a businesswoman from Kenya. She is married and is a mother of three adult children. Two months ago, while relaxing at home, Mary felt a lump in her breast with a burning sensation. She ignored it at first, but it gradually became painful. Worried, she visited Watsi's Medical Partner Care Center Kijabe Hospital in mid-September for medical attention and care. After review, doctors ordered a CT scan and a core biopsy, which confirmed her worst fear - that she had breast cancer. The biopsy test found an infiltrating ductal carcinoma, but luckily she had no metastasis yet. Doctors recommend she undergo a mastectomy procedure as soon as possible to prevent the spread of the deadly cancerous cells. Although she is struggling to come to terms with the shocking news, Mary's main worry now is the high, unaffordable cost of the surgery. She runs a small kiosk that generates little profit each day. Her husband is a small-scale farmer who owns one cow. The family relies on the proceeds from their eatery and milk sales to survive. Sadly, they had to sell their only cow to raise money for Mary’s treatment. However, the money from the sale is barely enough to cover the cost of mastectomy surgery. Her kids do not have stable jobs, and Mary says they are struggling. She has no national health insurance or any medical coverage, and is thus appealing for financial help. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $857 to cover the cost of a mastectomy for Mary. The procedure is scheduled to take place on October 23rd. After treatment, Mary will hopefully return to a cancer-free life. Mary shared, “I am shocked that I was diagnosed with this deadly cancer. But I am more worried that I am unable to afford the only procedure that can stop the spread of the disease. I wasn’t prepared for a procedure of this magnitude. I appreciate any support you can provide.”