Gary JenseMONTHLY DONOR
Gary's Story

Gary joined Watsi on March 25th, 2014. Seven years ago, Gary joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Gary's most recent donation traveled 4,200 miles to support Luz, a baby girl from Bolivia, to fund surgery to treat her cardiac condition.

Impact

Gary has funded healthcare for 95 patients in 12 countries.

patients you have funded

Swe lives with her parents and her son in a village in northern Burma. Her father is subsistence farmer, her mother owns a small weaving business where traditional Burmese blankets and sarongs are hand woven. Her son goes to school and Swe is a homemaker. In her free time, she enjoys visiting and talking to her friends in their village. In December 2021, Swe began to experience fatigue, sweatiness, vomiting and difficulty breathing. She also had a headache and a stiff neck. At first she could not travel due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, but eventually went to Mandalay in August to seek help. At a hospital, she received an echocardiogram and was diagnosed with mitral valve stenosis and aortic valve regurgitation. She was told she would need surgery costing 15 million kyat (approx. $15,000 USD), but she could not afford to pay for it. She then went to Yangon with her son, in the hopes of finding another hospital that cost operate on her for less money. While in Yangon, her condition deteriorated and her son rushed her to a hospital. The doctor there confirmed her diagnosis and her need for surgery, but told her it would cost 20 million kyat (approx. $20,000 USD). When Swe told the doctor that she could not afford to pay such a large sum, the doctor referred her to an abbot, who in turn referred her to our medical partner Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF) for financial assistance accessing treatment. Currently, Swe cannot walk for more than 10 minutes or she feels very tired and short of breathe. She has a rapid heartbeat, dizziness and headache. She said, "I want to say thank you so much to BCMF and all the donors to help me with my treatment cost.”

$1,500raised
Fully funded

Paw is a 46-year-old woman who lives with her husband, son, and daughter in the refugee camp in Mae Hong Son Province. Originally from the conflict area of Karen State, Burma, she and her family fled to the refugee camp due to conflict in their area. Today, her daughter goes to school in the camp, while her son stays home because he has an intellectual disability. In her free time, Paw enjoys gardening. Paw and her husband also raise chickens and grow vegetables to supplement their family's diet. Every month, their household receives 1,460 baht (approx. $49) on a cash card from an organization called The Border Consortium to support their day-to-day needs. Sometimes, Paw also receives pocket money from her other son, who works as a security guard in the refugee camp and lives with his wife and children. This amount is not enough to cover their daily needs, so they often have to purchase food on credit, which they pay back at the end of the month. They receive free basic health care at the hospital in the refugee camp, provided by Malteser International (MI) Thailand, but surgery there is not available. In early 2020, Paw started to experience pain in her lower abdomen. She also experienced severe back pain, dizziness and nausea when she ate. She went to the hospital in the refugee camp, where she was treated for a urinary tract infection (UTI). When the UTI kept returning, MI staff referred her to Mae Sariang Hospital for further treatment. Paw went to that hospital in February 2020, where she was diagnosed with a stone in her right kidney and acute pyelonephritis, a bacterial infection causing inflammation of the kidneys. She was admitted for five days and received treatment for the infection. Afterwards, she was referred to Chiang Mai Hospital (CMH) for further treatment for the kidney stone. In July 2020, MI staff brought Paw to CMH, where she received various x-rays. Doctors confirmed her diagnosis, but also diagnosed her with severe hydronephrosis, or a buildup of urine, in her right kidney. She received a catheter to drain urine from her kidney, and was brought back to CMH every three months to change the catheter. The doctor also scheduled Paw to have the stone removed from her right kidney on October 31st. Our partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF), is asking for financial assistance to help Paw pay for this surgery. Currently, Paw experiences pain and has difficulty sleeping. Traveling to the hospital regularly is also difficult for her family. Paw thinks a lot about her future and shared: “In the future I want to buy and raise a pig and more chickens. I do not want to be resettled in another country because I love living near my siblings. If they [my siblings] are resettled, I might go with them."

$1,500raised
Fully funded

Vanna is a 38-year-old former construction worker from Cambodia. He is married and has a five-year-old son who has just started public school. His wife works in a local lamp factory. He enjoys reading the news, fishing, and playing football with friends In July of 2021, Vanna was in a motor vehicle accident in which he suffered loss of consciousness, trauma/paralysis to his right shoulder, and a fractured humerus. He had a fracture repair of his humerus done, and spent over a month in hospital. But he has also 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. Vanna has no movement of his right shoulder due to trapezius nerve damage and cannot bend his elbow or move his fingers. He is unable to work to support his young family and is in chronic pain. Vanna traveled to our medical partner's care center to receive treatment. This is the only center in the whole country where this treatment is available. On September 29th, he will undergo a brachial plexus repair surgery. After recovery, he hopes to use his shoulder and arm again to find a job in construction. Our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, is requesting $709 to fund this procedure. Vanna said: "After surgery, I hope my right shoulder will have movement, I have no pain, and can work for my family again."

67%funded
$479raised
$230to go

Thidar is a 30-year-old woman who lives with her son, husband, parents in-law, brother-in-law, and sister-in-law in Burma. She, her husband, and her mother-in-law grow rice, beans, and sesame on their farm. During her free time, Thidar enjoys growing flowers and vegetables around her house. Ten years ago, after Thidar gave birth to her son, she began to experience troubling symptoms. These included chest pains and a rapid heartbeat. When visiting a clinic, medics determined that she has a heart condition. To help her condition and alleviate her symptoms, Thidar took medication regularly. However, she ran out of oral medication at the start of this year. This was a problem because medics at her local clinic were protesting against the February 2021 coup, so the clinic was closed. She also could not go to a different clinic because the military had many checkpoints around the nearest town at the time, and she was too scared to pass them. Months later, after experiencing exhaustion, a rapid heartbeat, painful and swollen joints, and a loss in appetite, Thidar was able to seek medical care and receive medication. Following the advice of a medic at the clinic, she eventually visited a hospital. There, she received an X-rays scan and an echocardiogram, which determined that Thidar has a heart disease requiring surgery. Due to financial constraints, she and her husband could not fund the needed procedure and had to return home with Thidar still experiencing the same troubling symptoms as before. Fortunately, our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is helping Thidar finally receive treatment. On July 22nd, surgeons will perform double valve replacement cardiac surgery. This procedure will hopefully alleviate her symptoms and allow her to live more comfortably and confidently. Now, Thidar and her family need help funding this $1,500 procedure. Thidar says, “I feel very sad and I want to cry because I have no money to pay for my surgery cost. My mother and husband had to borrow money with interest [to pay for some of my medical fees]. I am also worried that I cannot work and support my son. Now, I am very happy that my surgery cost will be supported. I am thankful to all the donors and the organization.”

$1,500raised
Fully funded

U Pyin is a 36-year-old monk who lives with three other monks, seven novice monks, and his two younger brothers, in a village in central Burma. His two younger brothers are not monks, but work at the monastery as helpers, assisting with cooking and cleaning. U Pyin has no income, but receives food and accommodation at the monastery. If he is ill, there are three local families that help to cover the costs of his basic health care expenses. In early May, U Pyin began experiencing difficulty breathing, chest pains, and headaches. One of his brothers brought him to a hospital, where tests revealed that one of the valves in his heart needs to be replaced. This is a particularly dangerous condition, as it can lead to a stroke, and U Pyin has already suffered a stroke, earlier in his life. U Pyin was given medication, an appointment to return in two months, and sent home. When U Pyin did not feel any better after taking the medication that he had been given, he and his brother decided that he should see a cardiologist in Yangon. The cardiologist confirmed U Pyin's diagnosis, and stressed the need for U Pyin to have surgery to replace the ailing mitral valve. As U Pyin was unable to pay for the surgery, the doctor referred him to an abbot for assistance. Fortunately, the abbot referred U Pyin to our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, and now U Pyin is scheduled to have mitral valve replacement surgery on June 24th, at Pun Hlaing Hospital. Burma Children Medical Fund is seeking $1,500 to cover the costs of U Pyin's procedure and care, which will enable him to breathe well and to sleep comfortably again, things that he is unable to do right now. U Pyin will also be able to return to teaching the novice monks at the monastery, which he has been unable to do because he feels so unwell. U Pyin said: “After I recover, I want to teach novice monks again and I want to open a Buddhist school near Yangon.”

$1,500raised
Fully funded

Ni lives with her mother & four siblings in Yangon, Burma. Her two younger sisters work in a clothing factory, while her mother and one brother are homemakers. Her other brother works as a driver assistant. Ni works in a factory that produces alcohol and in her free time, she enjoys watching television with her family. She also enjoys teaching English to their neighbor's children on the weekends. In July 2019, Ni started to experience chest pain and difficulty breathing. She went to a hospital in Yangon and was told she might have a problem with her kidney. When she did not feel any better after taking medication for a month, she went to another hospital in Yangon. She received multiple diagnostic tests and was told that her kidney is healthy but she has a heart condition. After receiving an echocardiogram, she was diagnosed with atrial septal defect (ASD). The doctor told her she would need heart surgery, but Ni told the doctor she could not afford to pay for it. Ni received medication and went back home. Unfortunately, she was unable to go back to the hospital for follow up because the hospital closed after the country's military coup. Due to the deteriorating security condition in their area, Ni’s family decided to go back to their village near Mandalay. Around her village, she could not find a pharmacy that sold her medication. When her family finally traveled back to Yangon she was feeling better and decided not to purchase more of the special medication she needed. Then in January, Ni felt like she could not breathe well, and experienced chest pain and rapid breathing again. She went to a hospital, where the doctor referred her to Pun Hlaing Hospital. After she undergoing more diagnostic tests, the doctor told her she would need to receive surgery costing 9,000,000 kyats (approx. $9,000 USD). When she told the doctor she could not afford to pay for it, the doctor gave her the phone number of a nurse who may be able to help. When Ni called the nurse, the nurse told her about our medical partner Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF) who is now helping Ni access treatment. On March 13th she will undergo cardiac surgery to close the Atrial Septal Defect. Currently, Ni has chest pain and difficulty breathing. Sometimes, she has rapid breathing at night. She cannot sleep well because she is always worried about her condition. Ni shared, "I am very scared to receive surgery but if I do not receive this treatment, I will not live a long life. I am so happy to receive treatment and I would like to say thank you so much to all the donors."

$1,500raised
Fully funded