Christopher joined Watsi on April 18th, 2014. Nine years ago, Christopher joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Christopher's most recent donation traveled 8,800 miles to support Yang, a grandmother from Cambodia, for vision-restoring cataract surgery.
Christopher has funded healthcare for 30 patients in 9 countries.
Christopher has funded healthcare for 30 patients in 9 countries.
Meet Yang, a 76-year-old woman from Cambodia. “Yang is married with five sons, three daughters, and 15 grandchildren. She enjoys visiting the pagoda and listening to monks pray," shares our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre (CSC). Three years ago, Yang developed mature cataracts in each eye. A cataract occurs when a thin, cloudy layer forms over the eye’s lens. "This causes her blurred vision, discharge, tearing, and fear of bright lights. It is hard for her to see clearly, do work, or go anywhere outside," CSC explains. "I hope my eyes can see everything clearly again,” shares Yang, “Then, I can work at home and go anywhere outside." After learning about CSC, Yang and her granddaughter travelled three hours to visit their clinic. They learned that a simple surgical procedure may restore Yang's sight. With $292, Yang will undergo cataract surgery, during which her old lenses will be removed and replaced with sheer artificial implants, allowing her to see again immediately after her operation.
Cataracts, or the clouding of the eye's lens, can develop naturally as a person ages. However, at 39 years old, Sokhon is unusually young to have cataracts; most patients with the disorder are over 55. Sokhon, a native of Cambodia, has been living with a cataract in each eye for three months now. The two cataracts make Sokhon’s vision blurry, which has major repercussions for her daily life. Without being able to see clearly, Sokhon has trouble doing her work as a rice farmer, and she can’t travel far from her house on her own. She has also been experiencing headaches due to the cataracts. It is important that Sokhon regain her ability to work soon: she and her husband have three daughters to support. Fortunately, there is a two-step surgical procedure that can make that a reality. Doctors will first remove the cataracts from each of her eyes. Then, they will replace the clouded lenses with functioning artificial lenses. For $292, we can sponsor this surgery, as well as the hospital stay and medications that Sokhon will need to recover from it. After her procedure, Sokhon will be able to see clearly again. Let’s make sure this young mother can return to work—and to spending pain-free time with her daughters—as soon as possible.
B. Kuma, a beautiful and adorable six-month-old girl, lives about 500 kilometers from Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. Her parents are poor farmers and their income is not enough to feed the family well. Thus far, B. Kuma has been fed exclusively on breast milk. B. Kuma was born with an anorectal malformation called imperforate anus, which means she has no opening where the anus usually should be. As a result, she cannot pass stool in a normal way. Due to her condition, B. Kuma developed a bowel obstruction and had to have an emergency colostomy. A colostomy is a surgical procedure in which a piece of the colon is redirected to an alternative opening in the abdominal wall so that waste material can exit the body. However, B. Kuma has had numerous issues with the colostomy, including complications such as leakage and irritation. Her family has suffered throughout this process. They went to a number of hospitals in search of treatment, and they are very worried about their daughter's condition. Children born with birth defects-- and indeed, their parents too-- often fall victim to social stigmas and discrimination. For these reasons, B. Kuma and her parents risk social and psychological problems if she cannot be treated. "I can't pay for my child's medical bill and that worries me for the past six months," says B. Kuma's father. "I did not know what to do. But we heard from another hospital that our child can get the treatment for free at Bethany Kids (a facility run by Watsi's medical partner), and we came here hoping for help." Fortunately, we can help fund B. Kuma's $1,500 procedure, during which doctors will surgically repair her malformation. After her surgery, B. Kuma should be able to pass stool normally, eliminating the risk of future health complications and social barriers.
"I hope I can have good hearing and health," Reaksa shares. "When I grow up I want to be a teacher." Reaksa is a ten-year-old girl in first grade. She lives in Cambodia, and she has one older brother. Reaksa enjoys playing with toys, drawing pictures, and watching TV. She traveled one hour with her dad by motorcycle to reach Children's Surgical Centre (CSC). Reaksa experiences left ear discharge, pain, and hearing loss. ENT doctors at CSC discovered a cholesteatoma in her left ear. A cholesteatoma is an abnormal skin growth in the middle ear behind the eardrum. Over time, it can increase in size and destroy the surrounding delicate bones of the middle ear, leading to hearing loss that surgery can often improve. With $809, Reaksa can undergo a procedure to remove the diseased cells within her ear and prevent further damage. ENT surgeons will perform a mastoidectomy to remove the cholesteatoma. After the operation, her ear pain and discharge will stop.
“I want to be a car driver and see the country when I grow up," says 12-year-old Htet Aung. He is a third grade student from Burma, and likes to watch television, play sports, sing and play with toys. When Htet Aung was born at home in his village, his mother noticed a small bump on the bridge of his nose, directly between the eyes. About six months later, doctors diagnosed this bump as an encephalocele. This is a neural tube defect caused by the failure of the neural tube to close completely during fetal development. The growth of the mass has been slow but steady over the years and affects Htet Aung's vision. To read, he has to bring the book very close to his face. The mass is generally not painful but occasionally, he will feel sharp pangs. It also causes him tearing. Besides this encephalocele, Htet Aung has been in relatively good health. However, he is becoming increasingly sensitive about the mass on his face. Htet Aung's family tried to find him proper medical services at a larger hospital about ten years ago. However, they realized they could not afford the expensive surgery that he would need to remove the growth. Htet Aung's father works as a carpenter and his siblings work in a sewing factory-- their income is not enough to pay for major surgery in addition to supporting their family. After learning about Burma Border Projects (BBP) from a neighbor, Htet Aung travelled four hours with his mother to reach BBP for treatment. $1500 will cover the cost of his operation to surgically remove the growth, as well as any additional transportation and hospital costs before and after the procedure. Although Htet Aung's family is nervous about possible adverse affects of the surgery on his vision or cognition, they are eager for him to finally receive treatment. After the operation, Htet Aung will be able to return home and lead a normal childhood.
Chandra is an eight-year-old boy from Nepal and a patient with our medical partner, Possible. “Two years ago, Chandra's father abandoned his family and settled in India. Soon after, his mother left him behind with her relatives and decided to start her life afresh,” explains Possible. Chandra’s grandmother and aunt now take care of him. Chandra, a fourth grade boy, loves to play outdoors. Unfortunately, one day when he was somersaulting, he broke his hand. There was no one home who could take him to the hospital, and he had to wait two weeks before he was able to visit Possible. Due to his circumstances, Chandra needs our financial support. For $579, we can fund treatment that will heal Chandra's fracture. The cost of the treatment includes medicine, anesthetics, the surgery, as well as follow-up treatment from community health workers. After about a month, Chandra will be able to resume his daily activities. Chandra's aunt shared: “This child has been through so much, yet he continues to smile. I love that about him.”
Meet Uzeyfen, a two-month-old baby boy living in Ethiopia with his parents. Uzeyfen was born with a birth defect known as anorectal malformation. According to our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, (AMHF), "Children with this defect have an imperforate anus or they have no opening where the anus should have been. Uzeyfen developed bowel obstruction because of this condition and an emergency colostomy was successfully done when he was four days old." Uzeyfen has not yet had the definitive procedure to treat this condition; Posterior sagittal anorectoplasty (PSARP) and colostomy closure. As a result, he cannot pass stool in the normal way. Uzeyfen's mother is worried about her son because there is a high social stigma against children with this condition. Although Uzeyfen's father works hard in a government office to provide for his family, his income is not enough to cover all of the medical procedures that Uzeyfen needs. With a donation of $1,500 we can help Uzeyfen recover without long-term complications from his imperforate anus. He will undergo a PSARP procedure and a colostomy closure. After these two procedures, "Uzeyfen will then be able to pass stool in a normal way," AMHF says. "When we were informed there is hope for our baby to get treatment through donors, we were happy and full of hope,” shared Uzeyfen's parents in their pre-operative interview at AMHF.
Phoeun is a 36-year-old construction worker from Cambodia, where he lives with his wife. When he isn’t working, he enjoys playing soccer and helping his wife on their farm. Our medical partner, Children’s Surgical Centre (CSC), informs us that since Phoeun was five years of age, he has had recurring discharge from his left ear. The discharge is due to a cholesteatoma, which is a cholesterol-filled cyst that develops in the mid region of the ear. “I get ear discharge every day so I am upset. Sometimes I can't go to work because of pain in my ear,” shares Phoeun. CSC has informed us that, without treatment, this condition “causes hearing loss, pain, and tinnitus.” These complications can be eliminated with a mastoidectomy. During this procedure, portions of mastoid tissue near the ear will be removed in order to allow surgeons to remove the cyst. Treatment will cost $809, a fee that includes surgical and medical fees, meals during his stay in the hospital, and three post-surgical follow-ups. "After the operation I hope I stop having ear discharge and won't have any more ear pain,” shares Phoeun.
Three-year-old Andrea was born in Tanzania with clubfoot, a congenital condition that causes his foot to twist inwards. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF), informs us that Andrea has been walking on the sides of his foot. This has caused him to experience pain and difficulty walking. “If not treated, Andrea will be at risk of developing osteoarthritis at a young age," AMHF shares. Working as farmers, his parents do not make enough money to provide for their six children and pay for Andrea’s treatment. For $1,160, we can help Andrea to get treatment; including all surgical and medical fees, leg casts and four months at a rehabilitation center. During surgery, Andrea's feet will be repositioned so that he can walk normally. AMHF expects that Andrea will have "improved gait and reduced risk of developing osteoarthritis" after treatment. “I pray that my son will have normal feet, ability to walk properly and that God will grant him a long and successful life,” says Andrea’s mother.
Mi Mi, a 48-year-old woman from Burma, was recently diagnosed with uterine fibroids--noncancerous growths that develop on the uterus and cause abdominal pain. While she and her husband run a small shop from their home, Mi Mi's condition limits her everyday activities. Our medical partner, Burma Border Projects (BBP) explains, “Mi Mi feels lethargic and finds it difficult to breathe. Also she finds it difficult to move around. When she feels pain she leaves her work and her husband has to prepare and look after the shop.” “When Mi Mi walks a lot she has to stop because it is difficult to breathe well," BBP continues. "She can eat and sleep well but she has discomfort. Mi Mi is so worried because this is the first time she has had a major medical problem and is scared of the surgery, but she knows that she needs it.” For $1,500, Mi Mi will receive a total abdominal hysterectomy. This operation will remove her uterus and cervix--preventing the uterine fibroids from redeveloping in the future. In addition to alleviating her pain, this procedure will prevent Mi Mi from developing anemia by stopping any excessive bleeding caused by her condition. Mi Mi--who enjoys praying in her spare time--plans to return to helping her husband run their small shop after her recovery.
Meet Norma, a 10-year-old girl from Guatemala. “Norma is in second grade and loves physical education class, but wishes she could play more,” shares our medical partner, Wuqu’ Kawoq (WK). Norma has severe asthma, and she regularly experiences asthma attacks. “She cannot play with the other kids, and, even when she feels well, she fears that if she joins them for a soccer match or a run around the coffee fields, she will have an attack," WK says. Norma has gone several years without treatment. Her father works as a construction worker and her mother tends to the house, and they are unable to afford any treatment. For $595, Norma will receive an inhaler and the medication necessary to help her control her asthma. “She will no longer need to live in fear of having an asthma attack in front of her friends, and will be able to exercise freely,” reports WK. Norma, who dreams of becoming a teacher, tells us, “I just want to run like a normal kid. I like watching fútbol (soccer), but playing is more fun.”
Meet Emebet, a six-month-old baby girl from Ethiopia. Emebet lives with her mother and father in a remote village, where her father works to support the family with a limited income. “Emebet was born with a congenital anomaly, and as a result, she could not pass stool,” our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF), tells us. “A colostomy was done recently to relieve Emebet from the partial intestine obstruction. This condition and use of a colostomy is hard on Emebet's mother.” For $1,500, Emebet will receive surgery to remedy the anorectal malformation. “This surgery, anorectoplasty, involves forming a new anus so that Emebet can pass stool normally,” says AMHF. “Three months after this surgery, the final surgery (colostomy closure), will be performed.” Emebet will be able to pass stool and lead a normal life. “Emebet's mother hopes that she will send her daughter to school once she is of age and healthy,” shares AMHF.