Gary joined Watsi on March 25th, 2014. Eight years ago, Gary joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Gary's most recent donation traveled 8,700 miles to support Alisa, a 2-week-old baby girl from Tanzania, to fund clubfoot repair surgery.
Gary has funded healthcare for 98 patients in 12 countries.
Gary has funded healthcare for 98 patients in 12 countries.
Alisa is two weeks old and the firstborn in her family. She lives with her parents- who are overjoyed to welcome her into the world- in Tanzania, where her father works at Asante Rabi Express, while her mother sells harvested crops at a local shop. Alisa's mother noticed that her left leg appeared different from her right leg. Concerned about this, she sought advice from the doctor at the hospital. The doctor diagnosed Alisa with clubfoot, a very treatable condition. Alisa’s treatment involves a series of casts that will be changed every few weeks. The casts are designed to gradually shift her foot into the correct position. After the casting, she is going to have tenotomy surgery on her left foot, a minor procedure that will release the Achilles tendon. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is seeking $935 to fund Alisa's clubfoot repair surgery, which is scheduled for April 21st at Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre. As a result of her treatment, Alisa will be able to wear shoes and walk without feeling any discomfort. Alisa’s mother said: “The warm welcome made us feel safe and gave us hope that our daughter will be okay.”
Kenn is a 26-year-old food handler from Philippines. He lives with his partner and has an income of $200 a month which is just enough to provide for their daily needs. In addition to his needed treatment, Kenn is worried because he already holds debts from a previous hospitalization. In March 2022, Kenn began to experience troubling symptoms, including severe stomachache, back pain, and vomiting. He was brought to the nearest hospital to receive urgent care. After a series of tests, he was diagnosed to have a gallstone. Unfortunately, he cannot afford his surgery and had it delayed. Consequently, his symptoms worsened as he experienced chest pain and yellow skin discoloration. He went back to his surgeon to be checked and was diagnosed with Chronic Calculous Cholecystitis. Kenn must undergo a cholecystectomy, the surgical removal of the gallbladder to heal. If left untreated, his symptoms will continue to worsen and put him at risk for further health complications in the future. After seeking treatment through our medical partner, World Surgical Foundation Philippines (WSFP), Kenn is scheduled to undergo a cholecystectomy on March 3rd. A portion of the cost of the procedure is being supported by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and WSFP is raising the requesting $1,128 to cover the cost of Kenn's surgery and care. Kenn shared, "The treatment cost is very expensive and we can't afford it. Thankfully, Watsi and World Surgical Foundation Philippines have good hearts and are willing to help me. I'm so grateful for their generosity. May the Lord continue to bless them."
Anthony, who is 14 years old, lives with his parents and seven siblings in Kenya. His parents make charcoal to earn a living for the family, but their situation has been made more difficult by the inter-communal war in their area, which has forced the family to move on several occasions in order to find safety. Anthony was diagnosed with anorectal malformations at birth. He had surgery to correct the blockage and did well for a few months, but the blockage recurred. He could not pass stool as he had done before, but his parents could not afford to take him back to the hospital. His stomach started to increase in size and has grown over the years. Over time he completely lost the ability to move his bowels and stopped going to school. Late last year the county government social worker heard of Anthony's situation and contacted the family. She was able to finance their transport to the hospital for Anthony to be examined. As a result of the examination, it was determined that Anthony required surgery urgently. Anthony is now scheduled for a colostomy on February 15th at BethanyKids Kijabe Hospital. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is seeking $1,152 to cover the costs of this life-saving procedure. Anthony’s Aunt said: “It pains us that Anthony has to go through this. We really hope that he will be treated and go back to school.”
Luz is a sweet baby from Bolivia, where she lives with her parents and two older brothers in a small mountain village. Her parents work as farmers to support their family. Luz, in addition to being diagnosed with Down Syndrome, was born with a ventricular septal defect, a heart condition where a hole exists between the two lower chambers of her heart. As a result, blood leaks through the hole without passing through her lungs to obtain oxygen, leaving her weak and short of breath. Fortunately, our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance who is expanding their work in Bolivia, is helping Luz receive treatment. On January 19th, Luz will undergo surgery where doctors will sew a patch over the hole, allowing for blood to flow completely through her heart and reach her lungs, obtaining oxygen and, ultimately, allowing her to grow as a healthy baby girl. Luz's family needs help raising $1,500 to fund her procedure and care. From Luz's mother: "Our family is all praying that after the surgery our daughter will be stronger and healthier."
Hannah is a 70-year-old mother of seven children. She is a widow who lost her husband ten years ago. She is a small-scale tea farmer and relies on her children for upkeep and survival. For eight months, Hannah has been experiencing abnormal bleeding and pelvic pain. She has been diagnosed with endometrial cancer. She needs to undergo a hysterectomy, a procedure in which surgeons will remove her uterus. Although supportive, her children are unable to raise the funds required for her procedure. She had one cow that she sold to pay for a biopsy, treatment and fare to the facility. However, she is requesting financial support for her surgery cost. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is helping raise $1260 to fund Hannah's surgery. On December 16th, she will undergo gynecological surgery at our medical partner's care center. Once recovered, Hannah will be able to resume her daily activities free of pain. Hannah says, "I am old now and fragile. This cancer has depleted my financial resources and affected my health. I need the surgery to avoid the spread of the cancer.”
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.”
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."
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."
Dennis is a hardworking student and the firstborn in a family of two. He is in class eight and at the end of the year, he will be sitting for his national exams. He enjoys playing football with his friends. He lives with his single mother who works as a casual laborer getting work whenever she can. His mother describes Dennis as the only hope in their family. On 11th August, as he was playing with his friends, Dennis fell and sustained a closed fracture of the left arm. He is unable to use his hand which is in severe pain. His education is also affected. Dennis' mother does laundry for the neighbors to support her family's basic needs. With what she earns, she is unable to pay for her son's surgery. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner can help. On September 2nd, Dennis will undergo a fracture repair procedure, called an open reduction and internal fixation. He will be able to use his hand, experience no pain and he will go back to school. He will also continue enjoying playing football with his friends. Now, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,049 to fund this procedure. Dennis mother says, “I struggle a lot providing for my family. I am not in a position to pay my son's hospital bill. I plead for help so that he gets the required treatment and he may continue with his education. He is the hope of our family.”
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.”
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.”
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!"