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 1,900 miles to support Christmaelle, a sweet 2-year-old from Haiti, to fund surgery prep and travel for life-saving cardiac surgery.
Gary has funded healthcare for 87 patients in 11 countries.
Gary has funded healthcare for 87 patients in 11 countries.
Christmaelle is a beautiful toddler from Haiti. She lives with her parents, grandparents, and three older siblings in a small fishing village in southwest Haiti. The adults in her family all fish and raise livestock for a living. Christmaelle has a cardiac condition called ventricular septal defect. A hole exists between the two lower chambers of her heart; blood leaks through this hole without first passing through her lungs to obtain oxygen, leaving her weak and short of breath. The surgery Christmaelle needs is not available in Haiti, so she will fly to Dominican Republic to receive treatment. On June 28th, she will undergo cardiac surgery, during which surgeons will close the hole in her heart with a patch so that blood can no longer leak through it. Haiti Cardiac Alliance is contributing $7,000 to pay for her surgery. Christmaelle's family also needs help to fund the costs of surgery prep and followup. The $1,500 bill covers labs, medicines, and checkup and followup appointments. It also supports the cost of getting passports and the social workers from our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance, who will accompany Christmaelle's family overseas. Christmaelle's mother said: "Our family is praying for everyone who is helping our daughter to become healthy again!"
Klyn is a 12-year-old boy who lives in a small town in central Haiti with his parents, grandparents, and several other relatives. He likes school, especially science and math. Klyn was born with a condition called atrial septal defect. The defect means there is a hole between the two upper chambers of Klyn's heart. Blood leaks through this hole, which leaves him often weak and short of breath. Our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance, has arranged for Klyn and his mother to travel to the Dominican Republic for surgery since this treatment is not available within Haiti. On May 24th, doctors will first attempt to use a catheter to close the opening between Klyn's upper cardiac chambers. If that's not possible, they will need to perform open-heart surgery and use a patch to close the hole in Klyn's heart. Another organization, Gift of Life International, is contributing $5,000 for Klyn's care. His family is raising $1,500 to help cover remaining costs of the procedure and related care, including travel expenses for Klyn. Klyn's mother says, "We are very thankful to everyone who is making this surgery possible for our son!"
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."
Caleb is a jovial and funny six-year-old student. Caleb's mother shared that Caleb likes to play and is always happy both at school and at home. Caleb has a twin brother and one older sibling. Caleb's mother takes care of their home and family while his father is a farmer. Caleb has a clubfoot, a condition that causes his foot to be misshapen making it difficult for Caleb to walk and wear shoes. Surgeons at our medical partner's care center, AIC Cure International Hospital will perform corrective surgery on March 15th. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMF), is helping Caleb's parents raise $1,286 to fund the procedure. After treatment, Caleb will be able to walk well, play with his friends at home and school, and continue with his studies without any interruption. Caleb's mother shared, "I would love to see my son walking like other children without difficulties. I would greatly appreciate any assistance."
Benzaqueen is a 4-month-old baby and the youngest child in her family of two children. Her mother works casual jobs, such as plowing and helping people with chores, while her father is a laborer and works primarily at construction sites. The family shared that they do not have national health insurance and need assistance raising funds for Benzaqueen’s surgery. Benzaqueen was born with spina bifida, a neural tube defect in which the spine does not properly close around the spinal cord. Her family was referred to a few local hospitals before learning about the care center at our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH). Upon examination at AMH's care center, doctors determined that surgery is needed, as Benzaqueen is at risk of developing lower-limb paralysis, tethered cord syndrome, infection, and possible developmental delays without treatment. Fortunately, on February 2nd, Benzaqueen will undergo spina bifida closure surgery at the hospital. This procedure will address any developmental risks and help her grow and develop along a healthy trajectory. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), is requesting $1,151 to fund her procedure. Benzaqueen’s mother shared, “We had already given up the quest for our daughter’s treatment until we were told to come to the hospital. We now believe that she will be treated.”
Erick works as a tout, earning a daily wage, which is inconsistent. His wife is a hawker selling second-hand clothes for a living. Their family lives in a single room rental house costing USD 17.74 per month. Given his health, Erick currently depends on his relatives and wife for support. Erick has been on and off to different medical facilities due to stomach distress. This has depleted his resources and affected his ability to work. Without medical insurance, he is not able to cover the surgical procedure he needs and pay family bills. Erick has been unwell for about two years. An MRI showed a large mass on his pancreas and he is now scheduled for laparotomy to help ease the discomfort and pain. Erick says, "I have failed to provide for my family due to this condition. We rely on my wife for survival but her income is low and not enough. I need this treatment to be able to work and support my family.”
Rosaline is a 49-year-old woman. She is the mother of three children aged between 30 years old and 16 years old. Rosaline used to work as a mobile clothes vendor but has not been able to work since the COVID-19 pandemic arrived. Her husband works as a lorry truck driver, but they shared that the income is inconsistent due to the nature of the work. Over a year ago, Rosaline began experiencing pain, bloating, and lack of appetite. She was diagnosed with multiple intrauterine myomas. Rosaline needs to undergo a hysterectomy, a procedure in which surgeons will remove her uterus. On November 16th, Rosaline will undergo gynecological surgery at our medical partner's care center. Once recovered, Rosaline will be able to resume her daily activities free of pain. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), is requesting $1260 to fund Rosaline's surgery. Rosaline shared, "I am uncomfortable and in so much pain. These swellings are worrying me a lot and have even started to compromise my marriage life."
Mapai is a three-year-old and the second born child in a family of three children. Mapai is a charming and social. He was born a healthy child but when he was two years old his parents noticed his right leg was slightly curved. They thought he would grow out of it with time. At the time, his parents couldn’t afford to seek treatment for him due to financial challenges. Mapai’s parents are livestock keepers from a remote village where health facilities are not easy to get to. A family who also had a similar condition to Mapai shared with his parents that they should visit our medical partner at The Plaster House. They had received treatment there and their child was now doing well. Mapai's family decided to travel there and hoped they could also get the care he needed. Mapai was diagnosed with right valgus, where his right leg is bending inwards. This condition is typically caused by an excessive accumulation of fluoride in the bones, which often stems from contaminated drinking water. As a result, Mapai is having a hard time walking and moving around. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $880 to fund corrective surgery for Mapai. The procedure is scheduled to take place on October 26th. Treatment will hopefully restore Mapai's mobility, allow him to participate in a variety of activities, and greatly decrease his risk of future complications. Mapai’s father says, “You can see how much he is struggling to walk, I have no means to afford the treatment costs, please help.”
Rin is a 36-year-old accountant. He's been married for 11 years and has two children. His daughter is ten years old and in grade five, while his son is eight years old and in grade three. His wife grows sugar palms and sells sugar and sweets. In May, Rin was in a motor vehicle accident where he fractured his right humerus. The fracture also caused paralysis of his right wrist. He was treated with a Khmer traditional treatment, but his fracture did not heal. He then had a cast for one month, but there was no improvement to his condition. He's been diagnosed with a brachial plexus injury. 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. He is unable to lift his wrist and he cannot work. Rin traveled to visit our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre (CSC), to receive treatment. On September 8th, he will undergo brachial plexus repair surgery and, after recovery, he will be able to use his wrist again. Now, CSC is requesting $696 to fund this procedure. Rin shared that he hopes that he can use his wrist again and return to work.
Cosmas is a 7-month-old baby and the last born in his family. His mother lost her job a few months ago due to spending more time at the hospital with him. She now solely relies on her talent for crocheting to earn a living. She specializes in making bags, sweaters, and socks. Cosmas' father left their family a few years ago, after the birth of the first-born child. After he was treated, Cosmas’ father came back briefly, then left a few weeks later. He does not support them in any way, thus Cosmas' mother is appealing for financial help for his medical care. Cosmas underwent a colostomy, in which the end of the colon is brought through an opening in the abdominal wall. This surgery is often performed to bypass bowel malformations, but colostomies are usually temporary and may call for closure. In Cosmas' case, his colostomy requires closure to restore bowel function and prevent future complications. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,084 to cover the cost of a colostomy closure for Cosmas. The surgery is scheduled to take place on September 2nd and, once completed, will hopefully allow him to live more comfortably and confidently. Cosmas’ mother says, “having raised my other child who also had some health complications and made it through successfully, I am determined that we will find a way for Cosmas’ surgery.”
Lucy is a 31-year-old preschool teacher and a mother of two children. Her husband is a boda boda taxi driver who earns about two dollars a day, and the family lives together in their ancestral home. In June 2021, Lucy sustained a vertebral fracture and was admitted to the hospital for observation and spinal decompression. She underwent spine surgery and was discharged back home. At a follow-up appointment, doctors noticed that she was having difficulties breathing and walking, and that her surgical wound was infected. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), is helping Lucy receive treatment for the infection. On July 28th, surgeons will perform a debridement and skin graft procedure to help her heal and prevent sepsis. Now, Lucy needs help to fund this $1,185 procedure. Lucy shared, “I am unable to walk and even stopped working due to my condition. I need the surgery to be able to recover and get back to normal.”
Susan is a seven-year-old girl in the first grade and the second child in her family. Unfortunately, Susan was involved in a grisly road traffic accident when a vehicle lost control on March 8th, 2021. Five children and the teachers were hit, and one child unfortunately passed away. Susan survived despite sustaining fractures on her right hand and leg. She was brought to our medical partner's care center, Nazareth Hospital, and had a fracture repair surgery on her hand and leg. One week ago the plates were removed. Susan's hand has healed well but she has started having severe pain on her leg. When Susan's parents brought her back to the hospital, a X-Ray showed the fracture has reoccurred, and the surgeon recommended a repeat surgery. Without treatment, Susan will continue experiencing the pain, she may never be able to use her leg again, or her leg may eventually heal with a deformity. Fortunately, the surgeons at Nazareth can help. On July 1st, Susan is scheduled to undergo a fracture repair procedure, called an open reduction and internal fixation. Afterward, Susan will freed from pain and will be able to use her leg to walk to school and play again. Susan’s father works temporarily as a welder and her mother is a housewife. Their income is limited and their health insurance can no longer cover for another surgery after supporting the previous one. Therefore, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMH), is requesting $1,049 to fund this procedure for Susan. “We thank God that our child is alive as one child died during the accident. We are hoping her surgery can be successful so that we can see her happy again and not in pain. We plead for her surgery sponsorship, ” Susan’s father wishes for her daughter's full recovery.