Brigitte joined Watsi on July 1st, 2015. Five years ago, Brigitte became the 1415th member to automatically support a new Watsi patient every month. Since then, 4,538 more people have become monthly donors! Brigitte's most recent donation traveled 8,800 miles to support Sambo, a single mom-of-five from Cambodia, to fund spinal surgery following a serious fall.
Brigitte has funded healthcare for 55 patients in 10 countries.
Sambo is a 39-year-old rice farmer. She has five children, three of whom are in primary school. Her husband passed away after a traffic accident three years ago. She spends most of her time looking after her children and doing housework, but when she has free time she likes to watch TV. On June 4th, she fell out of a tree from a height of about three meters and suffered trauma to her spine. Her family took her to a local government hospital where they determined she has a compression fracture. Now, Sambo cannot stand or walk, and is experiencing severe back pain. She has also lost some muscle and bladder control. She has come to Watsi's Medical Partner CSC for treatment. The doctors at CSC will perform a decompression surgery in order to restore her nerve function. Once Sambo fully recovers from the procedure, doctors hope she will be able to walk easily again. She will also regain muscle strength and control, and will no longer experience severe back pain. Sambo said, "Since this accident, I am so worried about my children, and that they will not have me to take care of them. I hope I can walk again quickly after this surgery, so I can do everything I need to do for them."
Anna is a farmer from Kenya. Anna previously worked as a cook in a private primary school located in her village. Her occupational options are now extremely limited after she was let go due to hard economic times. Anna currently does maize farming in her parent’s land. She also does casual jobs across the village like working in other people’s farms to earn a living. Anna lives in a two-roomed iron-roofed house with her mother in the upcountry. Ten days ago, Anna experienced an extremely painful accident after she was involved in a road traffic accident. She was a pedestrian when she was struck by a motorbike which was moving in a high speed. She sustained multiple severe injuries, left multiple rib fractures with a pneumothorax and lower lip full-thickness laceration. She is in severe pain and now cannot walk. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner can help. On June 10th, Anna will undergo a fracture repair procedure, called an open reduction and internal fixation. This procedure will help her heal well and she will be able to walk easily again Now, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,065 to fund this procedure. Anna says, “My hope is to be healed get out of hospital bed and be on my foot again so that I can continue with my daily duties."
Phearum is a 19-year-old factory worker from Cambodia. He has ten siblings, and enjoys studying and helping his dad on the farm. One year ago, Phearum had an ear infection. This infection caused a cholesteatoma, or an abnormal skin growth, to develop in the middle ear behind the ear drum. For this reason, Phearum experiences discharge, infection, itchiness, hearing loss, and headaches. It is difficult for him to listen and communicate with others. Phearum traveled to our medical partner's care center to receive treatment. He will undergo a mastoidectomy procedure in his right ear. During this procedure, ENT surgeons will remove the cholesteatoma. Our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, is requesting $842 to fund this procedure. This covers medications, supplies, and inpatient care. Phearum shared, "I hope that after surgery my hearing will improve and I will no longer have anymore ear infections."
Margaret is a university student in her second year of studies. However, since 2018, she has not been to school after suffering a road accident in the capital, Nairobi. She was hit by a vehicle while crossing the road, fracturing her right femur and suffering body lacerations. She spent a lengthy stay in a national hospital and received surgery. She required physiotherapy sessions which she could not start due to financial constraints. Last July, she noted an open wound on her surgical site which was painful and septic. Since then, she had been cleaning it with salty water. Margaret was brought by her friend to Watsi's partner Kijabe Hospital and diagnosed with chronic osteomyelitis, a bone infection. Doctors recommend she have a sequestrectomy and hardware removal surgery to treat her condition. Successful surgery will allow Margaret to be able to ambulate with ease and less pain. Margaret is the firstborn child in her family. Her two siblings and parents live in a three-roomed rental house in the city’s outskirts. Her father is a construction site laborer while her mother relies on casual jobs such as laundry in the estate. The family is not able to pay the required hospital bill of $1,500. Margaret says, “My hope is to go back to school once treated so that I can help my younger siblings.”
Poe is a five-year old boy who lives with his family in Shwe Koke Ko village of Karen State in Burma. In his free time, Poe likes to play with his friends and toys. He also likes to eat sweets. Poe does not go to school because of his condition. Poe's mother and father are divorced, and both are remarried. His father lives and works in Bangkok, Thailand and he contributes to Poe’s financial wellbeing by giving the household 5000 baht (approx. $167 USD) per month. His mother does not provide the family with any extra income. Poe stays with his grandmother and great grandmother from his father's side. His grandmother works as a cleaner. The rest of the family does not currently have work. When Poe was eight months old, he got a severe fever and his family took him to the Wang Pha clinic near Mae Sot, Thailand, which is the same place where he was born. He was admitted at the clinic for three days, but his condition did not improve. Doctors at the clinic told his family to take him to Mae Sot Hospital (MSH) for further investigation. The family immediately took him to MSH and he was admitted for one week. At MSH, he received a blood test and was diagnosed with Thalassemia, a blood disorder. He received a blood transfusion and after the transfusion, Poe felt better, but only temporarily. His family went back for three follow-up appointments to MSH, where he had blood transfusions each time. When he was one year and five months old, the family could not afford going to MSH any longer, so they took Poe to Myawaddy Hospital. He received another blood transfusion and an IV line. He was admitted for three days at the hospital. Although he felt better after getting discharged in Myawaddy, since his condition is chronic, he needs regular blood transfusions to stay healthy. It became increasingly difficult for the family to pay for Poe’s care, however, they decided to come to Mae Tao Clinic (MTC) for further help in 2016. Since then, he has received many blood transfusions at MTC, sometimes monthly and sometimes bi-monthly. With these treatments, he is able to survive. However, his condition also affects his spleen, the organ that filters blood. To prevent further problems, medics at MTC told his family that doctors need to remove Poe's spleen. Since it cannot be done at MTC, he needs to go back to MSH to undergo the operation. Currently, Poe has frequent bloody noses, coughs up blood, and has blood in his stool. He feels better after having a transfusion, but it wears off in the weeks following the procedure. When its nearing time for another transfusion, he feels weak and tired. When asked what he wants to do when he grows up, Poe was adamant that he wanted to be a medic. “I want to help people,” he said. “When he sees people that are sick, he always tells me he feels sorry for them,” added his great grandmother.
Solomon is a young boy from Kenya who four months ago was diagnosed with a right undescended testis. This is a condition where testis are not in a scrotal sac as expected in a baby boy soon after birth. Solomon arrived at the hospital today in the company of his mother and grandmother. His mother walks in with a limp and a crutch for support. Solomon is quick to grab a seat for his mother, something that depicts how respectful he is. While giving him a bath recently, Solomon’s mother noticed a slight swell on his groin which was painful. Solomon confessed that it had been there for some time but really never bothered him. Solomon’s mother took him to the nearest hospital where he was diagnosed and surgery recommended. Solomon was diagnosed with cryptorchidism, a condition in which one or both of the testicles remains undescended. The cost of surgery was however way too high for them to cover. Recently, a friend advised that they visit Watsi Partner BethanyKids Kijabe where they could better access financial assistance. The diagnosis has been confirmed and surgery is advised. If not treated, Solomon is at a risk of suffering fertility issues, testicular cancer and/ or inguinal hernia. Solomon is the firstborn of three children and lives with his parents and siblings in a one-room house in Central Kenya. While Kenya has a national health insurance system, his parents have passed difficulties that have led to them to defaulting on NHIF premiums for quite some time--a situation that is common in Kenya. However, the hospital team counseled them on its importance and they promised to try and keep up with the payments. The little savings the family had were exhausted in getting treatment for Solomon’s mother who was involved in an accident sometimes back. Solomon’s father, the sole breadwinner, practices subsistence farming and at times takes up casual farming jobs to sustain his family’s needs. They are therefore appealing for help towards Solomon’s surgical care. Solomon will be receiving assistance from our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF). Fortunately, he is scheduled to undergo corrective surgery on January 30th. AMHF is requesting $535 to cover the total cost of his procedure and care. “I want to be a teacher when I grow up,” says Solomon.
Miriam walks slowly with the aid of crutches. She was overly active until the year 2017 when she began complaining of back pain and numbness on her feet. Miriam formerly an active farmer would tire easily from her farming activities and small house chores. From the nearest hospital, pain medication was administered but with time, her condition deteriorated. She thought maybe she had gained weight and that was the reason for the back pain. Dieting did not help either and over time, she couldn’t walk without the aid of a stick. Frustrated, Miriam resigned to fate as she thought she was a burden to her young children who were building their homes. A friend recommended that they visit Kijabe hospital for specialized treatment where Miriam was diagnosed with a spine disc dislocation and a spinal fusion surgery recommended. Miriam was glad that there is a solution to her condition and she looks forward to getting treated. If treated, Miriam will regain her ability to walk, resume work and become independent again. Miriam and her husband are subsistence farmers with four grown children. She lives with her husband in Central Kenya. Miriam is appealing for financial help. “I look forward to walking again,” says Miriam.
Nisriya is a young beautiful and playful girl from Ethiopia. Nisriya is the second-born girl in a family of three girls. She comes from a peasant family where her father is the sole breadwinner of the family. He is a casual labourer who relies on daily wages to make ends meet. Her mother is a housewife who delivered her third child in September 2019. Nisriya was born with an anorectal malformation, a congenital abnormality that leads to a complete or partial intestinal blockage. She needs to undergo a series of procedures to eliminate bowel dysfunction. She had a colostomy done but it is currently giving her multiple issues. She faces stigma from society forcing her parents to hide her from the public realm. If not treated, she will be at risk of infections in the colostomy area and continue suffering discrimination. After her recovery, Nisriya will no longer experience bowel dysfunction or be at risk of developing health complications in the future. Nisriya is scheduled to undergo surgery to correct her condition on November 14th. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,500 to cover the total cost of Nisriya's procedure and care. Her dad said, “It is my hope that my child will get successful surgery and I hope when she heal completely she will go to school. And I hope I will get her a good school working hard since she loves education."
Rochel is a school principal from Haiti. He lives with his wife and six children on an island off the coast of Haiti; he is the principal of a local elementary school, and also a church pastor. Rochel has a cardiac condition called degenerative mitral valve disease. One of the four valves of his heart has gradually become weaker and less able to perform his function as he gets older; as a result, his heart cannot adequately pump blood through his body. Rochel will fly to the United States to receive treatment. On September 16th, he will undergo cardiac surgery, during which surgeons will repair the valve so that it functions more normally. Another organization, The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano, is contributing $40000 to pay for surgery. Rochel'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 Rochel's family overseas. Rochel says, "I am thankful to God and to everyone who is helping to make this surgery possible for me!"
Due is a 26-year-old man from Burma. He lives with his family in Hlaingbwe Township, Karen State. Due is a farmer while his wife looks after their four-month-old son. In 2018, Due noticed a lump by the size of the tip of a thumb on his right breast. He did not seek treatment until the lump slowly increased in size. He then went to a hospital in Hpa-An in early January 2019. At the hospital, he received an x-ray and was told that he would need surgery to remove the mass. Because he had no money to pay for the surgery, he just went home. With the help of a medic near his area, he was connected with BCMF who sent him to Mae Sot Hospital for a CT scan. The result confirmed the mass and the need to remove it. Currently, there is redness and swelling at his breast mass. It is also itchy and painful sometimes. Due sought treatment through our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund. he is now scheduled to undergo mass removal surgery on September 23. He is requesting $1,500 to cover the total cost of his procedure and care. Due said, “I look ugly with my breast mass. It is itchy and painful sometimes. The symptoms of my breast mass put me in stress. I want it to go away from me as soon as possible”.
Judith is a middle-aged woman with lower back pain problem that has persisted for over 8 years. Judith has tried managing the condition with injections, medical pills and physiotherapy sessions. The interventions have not been fruitful as she recently started using a walking stick to attain balance. Judith was referred to our facility by a neighbour and upon MRI imaging, she had spinal fusion surgery recommended. If not treated, the pain will persist which might weaken her walking gait further. Judith is a mother of three children and used to work on their farm for subsistence farming but has since stopped. Her husband is employed as a timber yard operator. The family is not able to raise the total funds needed for her surgery and they appeal for financial assistance.
Abraham is a toddler from Tanzania. Since he was born, Abraham has been experiencing difficulty breathing. He was recently diagnosed with enlarged adenoids, which are the soft tissue behind the nasal cavity. Without treatment, this condition will cause Abraham's symptoms to persist and possibly even intensify. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $609 to fund an adenoidectomy for Abraham, which is scheduled to take place on August 9. Surgeons will remove his adenoids, hopefully relieving Abraham of his symptoms and helping him live more comfortably. Sabrina’s mother says, “The type of treatment we could afford has not helped treat his condition. We have been informed surgery is going to make him better agin but we are unable to afford the cost please help fund my son’s treatment cost.”