Maribel ConiglioneMONTHLY DONOR
Maribel's Story

Maribel joined Watsi on February 21st, 2016. Three years ago, Maribel joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Maribel's most recent donation supported Gebreegziabher, a brave teenager from Ethiopia, to fund surgery to finally heal his birth condition.

Impact

Maribel has funded healthcare for 40 patients in 8 countries.

All patients funded by Maribel

Gebreegziabher is a brave, young, and fun boy who loves to hangout with his friends. He loves to play chase and other games with his friends and brothers. He has five siblings and shared with us that he loves goats! Gebreegziabher never went to school because of his condition. He is a shepherd and helps to keep the sheep and goats of his parents. Because of his condition, he has endured bullying, but he continues to be brave and his dad shared: “He is so strong despite his sickness. When others pick on him and speak bad things about him and things related to his disease he even gets in to fights.” Gebreegziabher's mom and dad counsel him and comfort him and help him to bring out self-confidence and strength. His dad and his mom are farmers and his mom takes care of all the household chores. Dad said: “Our area is dry. We work hard and farm but the harvest is poor with lack of rain. We purchase food because our harvest is not enough to support the family.” They also raise animals to support themselves. The community survives with the dry land and the scarcity of food by donations from the government and NGOs. But the past two years they couldn’t get the donation since they are in the war zone. For these reasons they can’t afford the medical bill for their son. Gebreegziabher was born with congenital anomaly called bladder extrophy. That is an abnormally where the bladder is open to air. Given the pain and risk of infection, he just ties clothes around the wound. His mom is very much worried and concerned because of his condition. She shared that she has excluded herself from the community for years in taking care of him and raises him and recalls that when growing up, he would sit faraway from others and boys in his age. They keep up hope for better days ahead and are a loving family who support each other the best they can. His Dad said: “He learned to exclude himself from others growing up. We are sad as a family because of his condition. The neighbor insults us, discriminate us and we feel so sad about this. We couldn’t tell what will happen to him. And we bring him to God always.”

58%funded
$884raised
$616to go

Pai is a 63-year-old woman who lives alone in a refugee camp in the border region of Thailand and Burma. She receives 350 baht (approx. $12 USD) each month on a cash card from The Border Consortium, to purchase food in the refugee camp. This support is just enough to cover her daily needs, since she sometimes shares meals with her sister. In June 2019, Pai first notice that the vision in both of her eyes was blurry. By late 2021, she could no longer see with her left eye. She then went to the hospital in the refugee camp, run by the International Rescue Committee (IRC). A medic checked her eyes, gave her some eyedrops, and told her that they would refer her to Mae Sot Hospital (MSH) for further follow up. IRC staff brought Pai to the hospital in January where the doctor completed a vision test and also checked her eyes with specialized equipment. The doctor diagnosed her with cataracts and shared that she would need surgery to be able to see clearly again. Currently, Pai can only see objects near to her with her right eye and even then, she cannot see objects clearly. She can only perceive light with her left eye. When she walks, she has to do so slowly to avoid stubbing her toes on stones and other objects. At night, she now needs someone to assist her to get around at all. She also has difficulty cleaning her house and doing other household chores like washing her clothes or cooking. She shared that when she tries to cook on her own, she will sometimes mixed up the ingredients now. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund lens replacement surgery for Pai. On February 22nd, doctors will perform a lens replacement, during which they will remove Pai's natural lens and replace this with an intraocular lens implant. After recovery, she will be able to see clearly. Now, she needs help to fund this $1,500 procedure. Pai said, “I do not want to depend on my sister as she has to look after her family too. However, now I have to depend on her for many things and I feel sad about this.” Pai is thankful to the donors who can help pay for her treatment cost. She is very happy that there will be a donor for her. She said, “I hope that I can see again, and I really want to see the donors and everyone at BCMF’s organisation who was willing to help me. Thank you so much for your kind support.”

79%funded
$1,187raised
$313to go

Emily is a kind 26-year-old woman who recently got engaged to her childhood friend. She is the fourth born in a family of 7 and lives with both of her parents. One day in 2008, Emily started to experience severe abdominal pains. The pains kept increasing and she could not pass stool. On the third day, her parents rushed her the hospital where a diagnosis of bowel obstruction was made. She was taken to the operating room and had an ileostomy done as a temporary treatment for the bowel obstruction. An ileostomy is an opening in the abdominal wall that is made during surgery, part of the small intestines are diverted through an opening in the abdomen called a stoma. A special bag is placed over the stoma to collect fecal matter that are unable to pass through the colon out of the body. An ileostomy is reversible since it is only made to provide a temporary passage for the release of stools out of the body while allowing healing of the operated part of the intestines/ bowels. Emily was scheduled for ileostomy reversal in July 2008 and the parents took her back to the hospital where she was admitted. She was later discharged home and the surgery rescheduled since the there were many patients in the waiting list. She has since had more than 7 admissions for the procedure but each time she is discharged and the surgery rescheduled. They kept going to the hospital and in 2011 they gave up since they were not getting help and had already spent a lot on transport and meals. Emily eventually dropped out of school due to discrimination and the stigma associated with the condition. She now uses cheap thin plastic papers as stoma bags as the family cannot afford to buy the all the bags due to financial constraints. She has grown to live with this condition. Despite all that has been in her way, Emily is still very hard working and earns a living from washing clothes at people's homes. This enables her to buy the plastic bags for the stoma. Often, she runs out of money to buy the bags and is forced to stay indoors. Recently, one of their neighbors had a thyroidectomy done at Partners in Hope Hospital under a special program and urged her parents to bring her for assessment. The surgeon reviewed her and indicated that the condition can still be corrected through laparotomy where an ileostomy reversal will be done. This surgery will greatly improve Emily’s life, restore her dignity as a human being and remove the emotional pain and torture that Emily has lived with the past 13 years. Her parents are seeking financial support to help their daughter undergo the surgery. “I remember that when I was young, I used to use the bathroom normally in the pit latrine. I pray that one day I will be able to use the toilet again. I hope that when I get married I will be like all other women and will not have to embarrass my husband with this condition," shared Emily with a shy smile on her face.

$1,244raised
Fully funded

James is former motorbike taxi driver from Kenya. He's married and is the father of two children 13 and 6 years old. James' wife is works part-time on a rice farm in their hometown. The family currently lives in a rental house paid for by their local church pastor. In November 2017, James was in a motorbike accident. Due to the accident, he lost his job, and he shared that his life became one revolving around experiencing pain and constant hospital visits. He underwent surgery on his broken leg in a nearby health facility in his hometown. Following the procedure he had a challenging recovery due to infections, causing him sleepless nights and visits to different healthcare facilities. James was finally referred to our medical partner's care center Kijabe Hospital where he underwent several treatments in May. James returned home but later came back to the hospital with a wounded leg that was in bad shape with an exposed bone. The doctors originally admitted James for repair surgery, but determined he needed a below-knee amputation which took place in mid-June. James still experiences a lot of pain, so the surgeon recommend he undergo another round of intense debridement in the amputated area to remove his damaged tissue and help him to finally heal. James has national health insurance, which supported his two major surgeries, but his coverage has been depleted and will not support the care he needs now. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is helping James receive treatment. On June 25th, surgeons will perform a debridement and skin graft procedure to prevent the spread of infection and speed up his recovery. Now, James needs help to fund this $1,185 procedure. James wishes to be free from pain, “I, unfortunately, lost my leg due to a sudden amputation, and I am still in shock. I will never be able to use both legs again. I am still in a lot of pain and the wound needs another procedure for me to be well. I need to get out of the hospital and figure out how to take care of my family with my current condition.”

$1,185raised
Fully funded

Veronica is a cheerful, married 29-year-old mother of two children. Veronica shared that she left school in primary school, because her parents could not afford her school fees. Her husband earns a living through helping people lift heavy luggage at a local bus station, and he also does a variety of other jobs when he has the opportunity. Veronica enjoys spending time with her two children, ages two and four; they give her joy and fulfillment as a mother. Her family lives in a one-bedroom rented house. In 2009, Veronica developed a swelling on her neck. She ignored it, thinking it would soon go away, but in 2014, the swelling grew. In 2015, she was diagnosed with a goiter, or enlarged thyroid, and surgery was recommended. As the goiter continues to grow, she has experienced coughing, difficulty breathing and difficulty swallowing. She can no longer sing in church or carry heavy things on her head, and she shared that she can no longer eat hard foods like msima, a Malawian staple. Veronica also told us that the condition has changed her appearance and has impacted her self-esteem. Veronica has visited the government hospital more than 15 times since her diagnosis, but her surgery was always rescheduled. Two weeks ago, she went to a different hospital and was referred to our medical partner's care center, where a surgeon recommended a thyroidectomy. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), is helping Veronica receive treatment. On May 25th, Veronica will undergo a thyroidectomy at AMH's care center. Now, AMH is requesting $1,015 to fund her procedure. The surgery is expected to improve her life and heal her symptoms. With a hopeful smile, Veronica shared, “I am overwhelmed with this opportunity to be sponsored for this operation. After the operation, I hope to live normally and care for my children properly. I believe I should be able to eat hard msima [the Malawi staple food] or raw cassava and potatoes which I now miss greatly. I look forward to sleeping without struggles after this surgery, much appreciation!”

$1,015raised
Fully funded