Lee joined Watsi on April 8th, 2014. 26 other people also joined Watsi on that day! Lee's most recent donation traveled 4,800 miles to support Taina, an 11-year-old girl from Haiti, for life-saving heart surgery.
Lee has funded healthcare for 22 patients in 10 countries.
Lee has funded healthcare for 22 patients in 10 countries.
“Taina is an intelligent and cheerful girl who enjoys going to school and is in the third grade,” says our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance (HCA). Taina also likes to play with dolls and make new friends. Taina was born with a cardiac condition called atrial septal defect. "A hole exists between the two upper chambers of her heart," explains HCA. "Blood leaks through this hole without first passing through the lungs to obtain oxygen, leaving her sickly and weak.” Taina requires surgery to repair the opening between the atria in her heart. “Following surgery, normal blood flow should be restored to Taina’s heart and body,” says HCA, “and she should no longer have symptoms from this condition.” However, Taina needs help securing funding for her operation. “Her mother passed away when she was young, and she lived in the streets for some time before being enrolled into an orphanage,” says HCA. Gift of Life International has contributed $5,000 towards her surgery, and an additional $1,500 in Watsi funding is needed to cover preparation and transportation costs, as this surgery is not readily available in Haiti. With our help, Taina can receive the medical care she needs to restore her health. “I am very excited to have my surgery so that I can play with my friends without getting tired,” she shares.
Monica is a 17-year-old girl with dreams of starting her own business. “When I get better I would like to join a tailoring class and later on start my own tailoring business,” she told the staff at our partner hospital in Tanzania. Currently, Monica is struggling to complete her education in Tanzania due to genu valgus, a condition also known as “knock knees.” This means Monica’s knees bend inwards and touch when she is standing straight, and she “is unable to walk without knocking her knees,” shares our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF). “She often feels pain in her right knee and when the pain is severe, Monica has to use crutches to move from one point to another." Monica has been dealing with this condition since she was in primary school. AMHF says, “The condition affected her ability to walk the long distance to school, and when the pain in her knee was severe she had to miss school.” She also had to stop participating in sports that she used to enjoy, like netball and her school’s marathon team. Monica’s parents earn income for their family of five by farming and running a small kiosk selling drinks and snacks. However, “Their income is not sufficient to cover the cost of their daily expenses as well as the operation which Monica needs,” reports AMHF. “If not treated, Monica will continue to be in pain and her gait will never improve.” Fortunately, for $940 Monica can receive the surgery, cast, and physical therapy necessary to heal her legs. After her operation, “Monica will be able to walk without knocking her knees,” and will thus have an “Improved gait and ability to efficiently perform various activities,” AMHF adds.
Lae Lae is a 34-year-old woman from Burma. About a year ago, Lae Lae moved from her village to find a better income and now sells vegetables in the local market. However, Lae Lae’s husband still works as a farmer where she used to live. Our medical partner, Burma Border Project (BBP), tells us that Lae Lae divides her time between her current town and where her husband is located, depending on her health. Recently, Lae Lae was diagnosed with two large cysts in her abdomen. BBP explains, "Lae Lae has back pain, the mass in her abdomen is palpable and painful – she feels like the mass is getting bigger all the time." In addition to the discomfort, Lae Lae’s condition causes her to constantly worry about her symptoms worsening. While she earns enough money to support her everyday needs, Lae Lae’s income is not enough to cover her medical expenses. $1,500 will fund a total abdominal hysterectomy, removing Lae Lae’s uterus, cervix, and painful abdominal masses simultaneously. In addition to relieving her current symptoms, this operation ensures that Lae Lae’s condition will not persist--giving her peace of mind for her future health. Lae Lae shares, "Once I have had surgery I will go back and work as a farmer again with my husband."
Meet 46-year-old Nou from Cambodia. “Nou is married with one son. She works as a seller at the market,” reports our medical partner, Children’s Surgical Centre (CSC). “In her free time, Nou likes to clean her house and study English.” Nou has a bilateral cholesteatoma, a non-cancerous skin cyst in the middle section of the ear. Over time, this skin growth can increase in size and destroy the surrounding delicate bones of the middle ear, resulting in loss of hearing and potential facial paralysis. “When Nou was 18-years-old, she began having ear discharge on both sides, with hearing loss, tinnitus [ringing in the ears], and pain,” continues CSC. With $809, Nou can receive a mastoidectomy in order to surgically remove cells in the hollow, air-filled spaces in the skull behind the ear and relieve her unpleasant symptoms. CSC explains, “After a mastoidectomy procedure, the ear discharge will stop, and Nou will be able to have improved hearing.” Nou and her husband remain hopeful for treatment and are eager to restore her good health. She tells us, “I hope the ear discharge will stop, and I can have good hearing without pain.”
Meet 53-year-old Jane from Kenya, the first born in a family of eight children. Jane has uterine fibroids, or noncancerous growths within the uterine tissue. “For a period of about four years now, Jane has had backaches and increased bleeding,” reports our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF). “This condition has made Jane stop working, and it is hard for her to participate in social activities.” “If not operated on, Jane will continue to suffer pain and have bleeding, which could lead to anemia and other complications,” explains AMHF. With $790 in funding, Jane can receive a total abdominal hysterectomy to remove her uterus and resolve her painful symptoms. This cost includes surgical supplies, medical staff fees, hospital supplies, medication, and laboratory work. AMHF says, “We expect that after a total abdominal hysterectomy, Jane will be well again. She will be free from the pain, bleeding, and risk of anemia, and will be able to work again.” Jane is eager to regain her health and move forward with her life. She shares, “My hope now is to get relief from the pain and bleeding so I can regain my normal life.”
Meet Moisa, a two-year-old toddler from Haiti. Moisa was born with a congenital heart disease called Tetralogy of Fallot, which causes a hole to form between two chambers of the heart and causes a muscular blockage in one of the heart valves. “As a result, blood cannot circulate normally through her body, and she is at constant risk of sudden death,” says our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance (HCA). Moisa was born with down syndrome, and she lives with her parents and three older brothers. “Although she has special needs, she is fully involved in the life of her family and has many friends in the neighborhood,” shares HCA. Moisa likes to wear pretty dresses and play, especially blowing bubbles. For $1,500, Moisa will receive the cardiac surgery she needs. Following the surgery, she will no longer have cardiac symptoms or be at risk of sudden death. "Moisa makes everyone smile when they are around her,” expresses her mother. “We are so happy she is getting the surgery she needs!"
Meet Rabira, an eight-year-old son of peasant farmers from Ethiopia. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF), explains: “Rabira was born with a condition called ‘imperforated anus.’ For the last eight years he has lived with a colostomy that enables him to pass stool.” Also known as anorectal malformation (ARM), Rabira’s condition involves a blockage of stool flow and/or an incorrect alignment of the anus and rectum. Although Rabira has a colostomy, meaning that his colon is linked to an artificial opening so that he can effectively pass stool, his treatment is not complete. ARM still causes vomiting, pain, bloating, and malnutrition, and there is a stigma surrounding it. “Rabira has suffered from social stigma and colostomy complications,” AMHF reports. “[Rabira’s parents] do not have any money to cover any amount of the bills that Rabira's treatment will generate. That is why he has endured all these years without receiving treatment.” AMHF continues, “[They] are very eager to send him to school once he is cured.” This will be possible for $1,500, with which a new anal opening will be created. According to AMHF, “Rabira will undergo a PSARP (the next step following a colostomy) and then two to three months from now he will undergo the final stage of the surgery (colostomy closure).” After surgery, “Rabira will be able to pass stool normally. He will have a chance to attend school, work towards his dreams, and will no longer be under social stigma," AMHF shares. Furthermore, the discomfort caused by this condition will decrease dramatically, further improving Rabira’s quality of life. “Rabira wants to be a ball player but he has a very hard time playing with his peers because of the colostomy. He hopes to be able to play and go to school once he is well,” AMHF tells us.
Meet Alefa, a 57-year-old woman from Malawi. “Alefa is a housewife with eight children. She depends on farming cassava to earn a living,” shares our medical partner, World Altering Medicine (WAM). Alefa was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor. WAM tell us the tumor causes her to experience severe headaches and poor sight. Because of her condition, Alefa requires constant support. $1,500 will fund a resection of the brain, removing the tumor so that normal brain tissue can continue to grow. The funding Alefa receives will also ensure that she receives post-surgical monitoring in the ICU along with medications and further brain imaging. “Alefa says she will be very grateful if she finds well-wishers to support her to have surgery, so that she can get back to normal,” shares WAM.
“I love working on my small farm. It is the source of meals for me and my husband. I have had to get someone to help on it and this is not an expense that I can afford. I want to be well enough to work on it myself again.” Meet Mary, a 67-year-old mother of seven from Kenya. According to our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF), “Mary has suffered from stomach pain for almost ten years. She is in constant discomfort around her abdomen and this has made it difficult for her to work on her farm.” Her pain and discomfort occurs as a result of symptomatic cholelithiasis, a condition that involves the presence of gallstones in the biliary tract. If her condition goes untreated, “Mary will continue experiencing pain and may suffer jaundice, rapid heartbeat and abrupt blood pressure drop. The gallstones could also lead to infection and inflammation of the gallbladder.” The fact that Mary’s gallstones are symptomatic calls for surgical intervention. Mary’s family is subsidizing the treatment with $220 of their own funds, and with another $620, we can help fund a curative laparotomy—a surgical incision into the abdominal cavity to remove the gallstones. AMHF expects Mary’s discomfort and pain to end after her surgery and subsequent recovery.
Anne is a 46-year-old woman from Kenya who has uterine fibroids. Anne lives with her three children and husband, who is also her business partner. "They go to different places where there are functions like weddings and burials and they take photos and sell to the people attending the function," our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF), writes. "This business is able to meet their basic needs but the money they make is not enough to cater for this important surgery." Anne needs a total abdominal hysterectomy to relieve the backaches and heavy bleeding her fibroids cause. "If not treated," her doctors say, "Anne will continue to bleed which could lead to anaemia and other complications as the fibroids continue to grow." AMHF expects a full recovery after surgery, which leaves Anne hopeful. She says, "I pray for a successful surgery so that I can be able to continue supporting my family. Our hope is to start our own photography studio."
"Fernando is a shy but very intelligent boy," shares our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance (HCA). "He knows how to read and is starting to do math by himself." Five-year-old Fernando has a congenital heart disease called ventricular septal defect. "Fernando was born with a hole between the two ventricles (lower chambers) of his heart," says HCA. "Because of this hole, blood can flow back to his body without first obtaining oxygen from the lungs, leading to fatigue and heart failure." "He has not yet started kindergarten because of his illness," HCA continues. "But his family is eager to send him to school after his surgery. He would also like to learn how to speak English!" Health City Cayman Islands has contributed $7500 toward surgery that will close the hole in his heart, and $1500 will cover the remaining costs, which includes overseas transportation from Haiti. "We tried many, many hospitals who all told us it wasn't possible for him to have surgery," Fernando's mother shares. "But we kept praying and our prayers were answered!"
Meet Ku Paw, a 31-year-old woman from Thailand! She was born with a congenital heart defect and has a hole in the wall between the lower chambers of her heart. “Ku Paw was diagnosed with heart disease at birth and she has learnt to adapt to her heart condition as best she can. She currently suffers from fatigue, heart palpitations, club fingers and toes, and sharp chest pain,” reports our medical partner, Burma Border Projects (BBP). Ku Paw lives with her mother, twin sister, two brothers, sister-in-law, and nephew. “Ku Paw attended school until grade 7. Since leaving school, Ku Paw has taken on the role of homemaker. She receives financial support from her older sister who works in the kitchen of a refugee camp hospital, as well as her twin sister who works as a teacher. Her mother who is a special education teacher also contributes to the family’s income. Despite their combined efforts, the family currently struggles to make ends meet,” continues BBP. For $1500, we can fund surgery to correct Ku Paw's heart defect. “Treatment will allow Ku Paw to live a more fulfilled life, one where she has more energy to pursue her interests and can find employment for the first time,” says BBP.