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Jessica Nebgen

MONTHLY DONOR

Jessica's Story

Jessica joined Watsi on July 24th, 2014. Four years ago, Jessica joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Jessica's most recent donation supported Alex, a high school student from Haiti, to fund prep for cardiac surgery.

Impact

Jessica has funded healthcare for 54 patients in 11 countries.

All patients funded by Jessica

Alex

Alex is a 20-year-old high school student from Haiti. He lives with his parents and younger brother in a neighborhood of Port-au-Prince. When he's healthy, he enjoys dancing and playing drums in church. Before his most recent illness, he was in his final year of high school. Alex has a cardiac condition called mitral regurgitation. When Alex was a child, he became infected with rheumatic fever which severely damaged one of his heart valves so that it could no longer pump blood through his body. Four years ago, surgeons in the Cayman Islands repaired Alex's existing heart valve in order to avoid replacing it with an artificial valve. This repaired valve worked well for three years, but then began to have difficulty pumping blood as well. Doctors now need to implant an artificial valve to replace the valve that is no longer working well. Alex will fly to the Cayman Islands to receive treatment. On April 7th, he will undergo cardiac surgery, during which surgeons will remove Alex's damaged valve and implant a mechanical replacement valve. Another organization, Have a Heart Cayman Islands, is contributing $20,000 to pay for surgery. Alex's family also needs help to fund the costs of surgery prep. 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 Alex's family overseas. Alex shared, "I am looking forward to this surgery so that I can get back to attending school and going to church."

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Daniel

Daniel is a seven-year-old boy from Tanzania and the firstborn in a family of two children. Daniel is a big fan of football. He is currently in second grade and he shared his best subject is mathematics. Daniel and his younger sister, who is two years old, are being raised by their widowed mother after their father passed away last December after being sick for a long time. This left their mother with no one to give her a hand or support to take care of her children. Daniel's mother depends on small-scale farming of maize and vegetables to be able to provide for her two children, something she says it has not been easy by herself. Earlier this year in April, Daniel was attacked by a hyena as he was taking a bath outside their hut in the evening. The hyena grabbed him by the leg and started running with him towards the bushes. His mother was just close by bathing his younger sister and she ran after the hyena while crying for help. The hyena dropped Daniel but left him with claw injuries, broken bones and a badly injured face. He was rushed to the hospital where he had several surgeries to help repair the places he had been cut open and casting for his fractures. He has been able to recover but the incident left Daniel with damage to his nose. All of his earlier treatment costs were paid for by their church through donations, but his mom is now trying to raise funds for his additional surgery. Daniel has been scheduled for a skin flap cover surgery that will help repair his nose. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is helping Daniel receive treatment. On October 14th, surgeons at their care center will perform a surgery to help correct his nose. Now, his family needs help to fund this $874 procedure. Daniel’s mother says, “All the treatment my son has had ever since the incident it’s through God’s grace. I wouldn’t have been able to afford any of that. Please help fund his nose correction surgery.”

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Yar

Yar is an 18-year-old girl from a Karen community who is now living in Thailand. She lives with her parents, three younger sisters and three younger brothers in a refugee camp on the Thai-Burma border. Yar and her parents are all too ill to work and are homemakers, while her siblings are students. Her family relies on the monthly food allowance they receive from an organization to get by. They also grow vegetables for themselves to supplement this income. Yar completed grade nine, but felt too ill to return to school this year. In her free time, she likes to weave Karen bags for her siblings and help her mother with household chores. One day in the beginning of January 2020, Yar started to experience neck pain, fevers, and chills. When she went to the camp’s hospital, run by the International Rescue Committee (IRC), she was diagnosed with tonsillitis and was given oral painkillers and antibiotics. During her follow-up appointment, the medic gave her more of the same medications. After her follow-up appointment, Yar felt a small growth with her tongue inside her bottom left jaw behind her front teeth. When she went back for her next appointment, Yar told the medic about the growth in her mouth however, this was not checked and she kept receiving more oral medication each week until the beginning of June 2020. During this time, the mass in her mouth increased in size. In June 2020, she was referred to Umphang Hospital. However, Umphang Hospital then referred her to Mae Sot Hospital (MSH) for surgery. On June 16th, IRC brought Yar to MSH where she received a physical examination, a CT-scan, and a biopsy of the mass. The CT result indicated that the mass was benign but the doctor did not explain the results to her specifically. In July 2020, when she went back to MSH for her follow-up appointment, the doctor removed the mass in her mouth as well as five of her lower front teeth during surgery. Since the surgery, Yar has experienced swelling where the mass was removed as well as aches in her neck and back. The mass has now returned and is increasing in size. On August 5th, the doctor told her that the mass in her mouth was increasing in size and that she would need to receive surgery again. However, she would need to receive treatment at Chiang Mai Hospital because they are unable to treat her further at MSH. IRC has referred Yar to Watsi's local Medical Partner Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF) for assistance accessing treatment in Chiang Mai. Now, the doctor in Chiang Mai ordered a CT scan to confirm Yar's diagnosis and plan for her treatment. Doctors want Yar to undergo a CT scan, a procedure in which x-ray images taken from several angles are combined to produce cross-sectional images of the body. This scan will hopefully help doctors diagnose her condition and formulate an appropriate treatment plan. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $469 to cover the cost of Yar's CT scan and care, scheduled for September 29th. “I want to open a small sewing shop in front of my home,” said Yar. "I plan to attend vocational training to learn how to sew clothes in the future."

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Wai

Wai is a 14-year-old student from Thailand. He temporarily lives with his grandparents and great grandmother in Huay Ka Lote Village in Thailand, but Wai usually lives with his parents across the border in Burma. He came to visit his grandparents during his school break in mid-March 2020 after completing seventh grade, however, he was unable to return to his parents and home when Thailand closed it borders due to COVID-19. His parents are subsistence farmers and they also raise a few chickens, pigs, and goats to sustain their livelihood. When they need money to buy clothes or pay for healthcare, they sell some of their livestock. Meanwhile, his grandparents look after a landowner’s garden and land for 2,000 baht (approx. 67 USD) per month. The income that Wai’s grandparents earn from the landowner is just enough for their daily expenses. Wai is diagnosed with cataract and currently he has lost most of the vision in his right eye and is only able to see light. His right eye also looks red. Aside from that, he has no other symptoms and his eye does not hurt. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund lens replacement surgery for Wai. On June 16th, doctors will perform a lens replacement, during which they will remove Wai's natural lens and replace it with an intraocular lens implant. After recovery, he will be able to see clearly. Now, he needs help to fund this $1,500 procedure. “I want to become a farmer when I grow up and follow in my parent’s footsteps, but I also want to become a nurse if I receive a chance to do so. I overheard my parents say that they don’t have enough money to continue supporting my studies once I graduate from grade eight, so I’m not so sure whether I’ll be able to continue my studies after next year,” said Wai.

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Thi

Thi is a 31-year-old woman who lives with her husband, father-in-law, nephew and daughter in Shwepythar Town in the Yangon Division of Burma. Thi is a homemaker while her husband is an electrician. Thi’s nephew and her daughter are students. In mid-February 2019, Thi developed a fever, a cough, and difficulty breathing. She went to the nearest clinic where she received an injection and oral medication to treat her fever and cough. When she took the medication she felt better, but the next day, she had difficulty breathing, felt tired, had a sharp pain in her chest, and a rapid heartbeat. She then went to a hospital in Yangon, where she received another injection, oral medication, and an x-ray. After the doctor diagnosed her with asthma, she also received a nebulizer for her asthma. Once the doctor checking her had the x-ray results, the doctor told her that her heart is enlarged and referred her to another hospital for further investigation. There she received an echocardiogram (echo) and another x-ray. After her results came in, the doctor told her that her heart valves are not working well and that she might have to replace two of the valves in her heart. She was diagnosed with mitral valve stenosis, mitral valve regurgitation, aortic valve stenosis, and aortic valve regurgitation. The doctor also told her that the surgery would cost 2.5 million kyat (approx. 2,500 USD). Thi could not afford to pay such a large amount and when she told the doctor this, the doctor provided her with oral medication every month. She did not feel better after she took the medication. Last month, Thi’s husband was setting up the electricity in his friend’s house when he met a cardiologist. The doctor had come to look after his friend’s sister, who has a heart condition. Thi’s husband had told his friend about Thi’s heart condition and his friend introduced him to the cardiologist. After he told the doctor about Thi’s condition, the doctor told him to bring her in to his office with her medical records. After they came into his office and doctor reviewed her medical records, he referred her to Watsi's Medical Partner Care Center Pinlon Hospital to finally receive the treatment she needs. Currently, Thi feels tired, has difficulty breathing and cannot walk long distances. Aside from her symptoms, she is very stressed and upset about her financial situation. In her free time, Thi likes to do housework and bring her daughter to and from school. In the future, when she is fully recovered, she would like to work as a seamstress and save money for her family. Thi said, “I think too much about my condition and worry about the treatment’s cost. So, I cannot sleep at night and I have a small appetite.” Thi’s husband said, “I have to accompany her whenever my wife visits the hospital. My daughter and I have had to stop working and attending school whenever she is sick. I feel bad for my wife because she cries every night since she found out that she needs to receive surgery.” Thi added, “I am very afraid to die and to lose my family as my daughter is still young.”

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Chan

Chan is a 36-year-old woman who lives with her husband and father-in-law in Shwepyithar Town, Yangon Division. Chan’s husband works as a day labourer on a construction site, while Chan is a seamstress who works from home. In 2010, Chan started to feel tired, had a rapid heartbeat and developed joint pain. She went to the clinic in Thaton, where she lived at that time, and received an an echocardiogram (echo) and x-ray. The doctor also told her that, if her heart became too enlarged, she would not be able to control her condition with oral medication and she would not be able to have a baby. She then received oral medication for a week which made her feel better for a while. In September 2019, when she went back for her follow-up appointment, she received another echo. Following this, the doctor explained to her that her condition could no longer be stabilized with medication. As he knew that Chan could not afford to pay for her surgery, he referred her to Pinlon Hospital. On 17th September 2019, she met the staff at Pin Long Hospital and who then referred her to Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF). Currently, Chan suffers from chest pain, has difficulty breathing, has a rapid heartbeat and has lost weight. In her free times Chan likes to sew, cook and do housework. “When I’m fully recovered, I will continue to work as a seamstress, save money and live happily with family,” said Chan. “Once I have enough money, my husband and I have decided to adopt one child. And I want to do charity work and help poor people as much as I can.”

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