Jeff joined Watsi on November 27th, 2020. One year ago, Jeff joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Jeff's most recent donation traveled 8,300 miles to support Chit, a strong, hardworking woman from Burma, to fund gynecologic surgery to alleviate her pain and allow her to return home and work again.
Jeff has funded healthcare for 22 patients in 10 countries.
Jeff has funded healthcare for 22 patients in 10 countries.
Chit is a 40-year-old woman from Burma. This past April, she and her husband have moved in with her sister and two nephews in Mae Sot, a border city in Thailand, while she receives treatment. Prior to the move, Chit would sell various fruits from their home in the village, but she had to close her shop once they moved. Her husband has been unable to work due to his disability. They are now supported by Chit's sister, who works as a waitress at a restaurant. In her free time, Chit enjoys gardening and growing various fruit trees, such as avocado, lime, banana, and pomegranate. In the future, she wants to grow and sell fruit tree saplings because she greatly enjoys growing fruit trees! Since August of last year, Chit has been experiencing slight lower abdominal pains. She especially experiences tightness on the right side of her abdomen in the morning right after she wakes up. She has been diagnosed with a uterine fibroid, a noncancerous growth of the uterus. Doctors have advised her to undergo a total abdominal hysterectomy, the surgical removal of her uterus and cervix. If left untreated, Chit's symptoms will continue to worsen and put her at risk for further health complications in the future. Fortunately, Chit is scheduled to undergo her hysterectomy on July 26th. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to cover the total cost of her procedure and care. Once recovered, she will no longer experience pain and will be able to return home and work again. Chit shares, “I had to leave my house, and I always have to take care of my husband. But I also have to take care of myself because I am ill. Sometimes, I feel sad and tired of my life. I know surgery will help me...”
Caleb is a sweet one-month-old baby boy. Immediately after his birth, the doctors noticed a small growth on his back, which they attempted to prick. This only made the growth increase in size, and to begin leaking fluid. Recognizing that they could not treat Caleb, the local doctors referred the family to our medical partner BethanyKids Kijabe Hospital. A neighbor provided the family with the funds to travel to BethanyKids. Caleb was diagnosed with spina bifida, a type of neural tube defect, in which the spine does not properly close around the spinal cord. Without surgery, Caleb is at risk of lower-limb paralysis, infection of the exposed nervous tissue, development of tethered cord syndrome, and possible developmental delay. As the family has very little income and no national health care insurance, they cannot cover the costs of Caleb's surgery. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, can help. Caleb is scheduled to undergo spina bifida closure surgery on June 16th at BethanyKids Kijabe Hospital. Their family needs $1,151 to fund this life saving procedure, which, it is hoped, will spare Caleb from the risks associated with his condition, allowing him to grow and develop along a healthy trajectory. Caleb’s mother says: “I was very worried about my son’s condition but now I am happy that I know that he can be treated.”
Woldegibreal is a 10-year-old boy, living with his parents and two younger siblings in Ethiopia. He is an intelligent and loving boy, who helps his parents around the house, and with looking after his two siblings. He also loves music and playing football. Woldegibreal was born with a congenital abnormality, which leaves his bladder exposed to the open air, and leaking urine directly into his abdomen. Because of this, Woldegibreal is prone to infections and injury to his bladder, and suffers from constant pain and discomfort. There is a surgical procedure which can correct Woldegibreal's condition. However, even though his parents work hard on the land that they have, they are unable to sustain their family, due to the poor harvests which result from the hot and dry area where they live. They survive with support from others and are unable to cover the costs of Woldegibreal's surgery. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is seeking $1,500 to cover the cost of the life-changing procedure for Woldegibreal, scheduled to take place at BethanyKids Myungsung Christian Medical Centre on May 24th. This procedure will enable Woldegibreal to heal, and to enjoy a full and healthy life. His father shared: “If he gets the surgery we will faint in happiness. We will bless all who helped him. We will send him to school. And we will lead our life with thanksgiving and gratitude.”
Samson is a quiet and reserved 16-year-old boy. Three months ago, he started experiencing severe headaches. His father gave him medication but the headache was persistent so they visited a nearby hospital. There he received mediation, but after some time he started to stagger while walking. This has made it difficult for him to go anywhere on his own. His father took him to a branch of Kijabe Hospital in their home area where they referred Samson for treatment at Bethanykids Hospital. His father went with him back home, gathered some funds and now brought him to our medical partner's care center BethanyKids Hospital. Scans have revealed that Samson has a mass growing in his head, which has affected his right eye and his balance. The doctor recommends a craniotomy surgery to heal his condition. Samson is the last born in a family of five children. His mother passed away four years ago due to illness. Now his father sells groceries to provide for their family. Without insurance coverage, they are not able to raise the amount needed for Samson's care so our medical partner is helping to raise $1,500. Samson told us, “I would like to regain my health back and go to school and after that help my father in his business.”
Rachhan is a 12-year-old student with five siblings. His parents are construction workers in their province. Rachhan enjoys playing football and riding bikes with his friends. Six years ago, Rachhan 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, Rachhan experiences ear fullness, headaches, hearing loss, and ear discharge. He shared that he does not want to go to school because he is ridiculed by his friends when the teacher scolds him for not listening. As a result he has poor grades and it is difficult for him to communicate with other people. His parents are worried, but cannot afford expensive treatment for him. Rachhan traveled to our medical partner's care center to receive treatment. On March 10th, 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 $925 to fund this procedure. This covers medications, supplies, and inpatient care. Rachhan was excited that he will start to feel better soon. He told us, "I hope that I can hear well and go back to school."
Pai is a 63-year-old woman who lives alone in a refugee camp in the border region of Thailand and Burma. She receives 350 baht (approx. $12 USD) each month on a cash card from The Border Consortium, to purchase food in the refugee camp. This support is just enough to cover her daily needs, since she sometimes shares meals with her sister. In June 2019, Pai first notice that the vision in both of her eyes was blurry. By late 2021, she could no longer see with her left eye. She then went to the hospital in the refugee camp, run by the International Rescue Committee (IRC). A medic checked her eyes, gave her some eyedrops, and told her that they would refer her to Mae Sot Hospital (MSH) for further follow up. IRC staff brought Pai to the hospital in January where the doctor completed a vision test and also checked her eyes with specialized equipment. The doctor diagnosed her with cataracts and shared that she would need surgery to be able to see clearly again. Currently, Pai can only see objects near to her with her right eye and even then, she cannot see objects clearly. She can only perceive light with her left eye. When she walks, she has to do so slowly to avoid stubbing her toes on stones and other objects. At night, she now needs someone to assist her to get around at all. She also has difficulty cleaning her house and doing other household chores like washing her clothes or cooking. She shared that when she tries to cook on her own, she will sometimes mixed up the ingredients now. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund lens replacement surgery for Pai. On February 22nd, doctors will perform a lens replacement, during which they will remove Pai's natural lens and replace this with an intraocular lens implant. After recovery, she will be able to see clearly. Now, she needs help to fund this $1,500 procedure. Pai said, “I do not want to depend on my sister as she has to look after her family too. However, now I have to depend on her for many things and I feel sad about this.” Pai is thankful to the donors who can help pay for her treatment cost. She is very happy that there will be a donor for her. She said, “I hope that I can see again, and I really want to see the donors and everyone at BCMF’s organisation who was willing to help me. Thank you so much for your kind support.”
Jaden is a one-year old boy from the Philippines. His mother is a public school teacher, while his father is an office clerk. They work hard, but their income is not enough to support their son's medical needs. Jaden was born with an anorectal malformation, a birth condition that leads to a complete or partial intestinal blockage. He needs to undergo a series of procedures to eliminate bowel dysfunction and help him grow up healthy. Jaden is scheduled to undergo surgery to correct his condition on January 28th. Our medical partner, World Surgical Foundation Philippines, is requesting $1,279 to cover the total cost of Jaden's procedure and care. After his recovery, Jaden will no longer experience bowel dysfunction or be at risk of developing health complications in the future. "Thank you WATSI and WSFP. His operation would be a big help towards his growth and our financial situation," Jaden's mother shared.
Darielis is a loving big sister in her family of 2 siblings. Her family moved to Medellin in Colombia three years ago due to the current situation in Venezuela. Darielis has had a hernia since birth, which has been growing rapidly. In the past she was going to school but since her mother was often called because she was in pain and suffering of bullying, she decided to take her home until everything was different. Her mom shared that even though Dairelis doesn't know what is growing in her belly, she notices the difference with other kids and prefers not talking or playing much with them. Our medical partner Clínica Noel has scheduled Darielis for life-changing hernia surgery on January 3rd. They are now raising $786 to fund her treatment. Darielis's mother says: "Thank you so much for helping my little Dairelis, this surgery will not only help her, but also help me. Since I can't send her to school I have to stay at home taking care of her. I hope she stops comparing herself to other kids and starts enjoying her life."
Susan is a mother of three, with her eldest child now 23 years, and two twins who are 17. She used to work at a salon in Nairobi, but the owner closed the business at the beginning of the year. She has been out of work since then and husband works as a casual laborer in a pharmaceutical firm, which recruits them in intervals depending on the availability of funds. She has applied for national health insurance coverage, but it is not yet approved and her doctors have recommended that she undergoes her surgery as soon as possible. Susan first noted a lump in July so she visited a facility in Nairobi and was treated with pain medication and an ointment. She felt better, but the pain recurred after two months. Due to the pain, she went to a government clinic and was advised to visit a higher-level facility. She opted to visit our medical partner's care center Kijabe Hospital after a recommendation by a neighbor. However, Susan is not in a financial position to pay for the surgery and is appealing for financial assistance. Susan has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Without treatment, the cancer may spread to other organs. A mastectomy, a surgery to remove breast tissue, has been suggested to rid her body of breast cancer and to prevent the cancer from metastasizing. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1110 to cover the cost of a mastectomy for Susan. The procedure is scheduled to take place on December 6th. After treatment, Susan will hopefully return to a cancer-free life. Susan says, "My family and my kids are my motivation. This lump is just increasing in size and pain. I hope I get the treatment I need.”
Zaw lives with his mother, two sisters, two nephews, and two nieces in Mon State in Burma. His mother is retired, and his youngest niece and nephew go to school. His niece works as a betel nut cutter with his two sisters, while his nephew works as a day laborer. Zaw cannot work right now due to the pain in his foot. In his free time, he enjoys praying to Buddha and watching movies, which also helps him feel better. Around the end of September, Zaw developed pain in his left foot. A few weeks later, three of his toes turned black. Eventually, all of his toes, and his forefoot turned black too. When he went to Mawlamyine Christian Leprosy Hospital (MCLH) a couple weeks ago, he was diagnosed with gangrene and was admitted to the hospital straight away. At first the doctor tried to treat him with oral medication, injections and physiotherapy exercises to increase the blood supply in his left foot. When this did not work, Zaw was told that the best option is to amputate his foot. Unable to pay for surgery, the doctor referred him to our partner Burma Children Medical Fund for assistance accessing further treatment. Currently, Zaw is in a lot of pain. His left forefoot is black and swollen. As the pain is worse at night, he cannot sleep properly. He also has difficulty sleeping because he is worried about his foot and their financial situation. "Once I have recovered from surgery and I have received a prosthetic foot, I want to support my family and become a taxi driver," he said. "Thank you so much to the donors for supporting me. Every day I pray for them."
Emily is a kind 26-year-old woman who recently got engaged to her childhood friend. She is the fourth born in a family of 7 and lives with both of her parents. One day in 2008, Emily started to experience severe abdominal pains. The pains kept increasing and she could not pass stool. On the third day, her parents rushed her the hospital where a diagnosis of bowel obstruction was made. She was taken to the operating room and had an ileostomy done as a temporary treatment for the bowel obstruction. An ileostomy is an opening in the abdominal wall that is made during surgery, part of the small intestines are diverted through an opening in the abdomen called a stoma. A special bag is placed over the stoma to collect fecal matter that are unable to pass through the colon out of the body. An ileostomy is reversible since it is only made to provide a temporary passage for the release of stools out of the body while allowing healing of the operated part of the intestines/ bowels. Emily was scheduled for ileostomy reversal in July 2008 and the parents took her back to the hospital where she was admitted. She was later discharged home and the surgery rescheduled since the there were many patients in the waiting list. She has since had more than 7 admissions for the procedure but each time she is discharged and the surgery rescheduled. They kept going to the hospital and in 2011 they gave up since they were not getting help and had already spent a lot on transport and meals. Emily eventually dropped out of school due to discrimination and the stigma associated with the condition. She now uses cheap thin plastic papers as stoma bags as the family cannot afford to buy the all the bags due to financial constraints. She has grown to live with this condition. Despite all that has been in her way, Emily is still very hard working and earns a living from washing clothes at people's homes. This enables her to buy the plastic bags for the stoma. Often, she runs out of money to buy the bags and is forced to stay indoors. Recently, one of their neighbors had a thyroidectomy done at Partners in Hope Hospital under a special program and urged her parents to bring her for assessment. The surgeon reviewed her and indicated that the condition can still be corrected through laparotomy where an ileostomy reversal will be done. This surgery will greatly improve Emily’s life, restore her dignity as a human being and remove the emotional pain and torture that Emily has lived with the past 13 years. Her parents are seeking financial support to help their daughter undergo the surgery. “I remember that when I was young, I used to use the bathroom normally in the pit latrine. I pray that one day I will be able to use the toilet again. I hope that when I get married I will be like all other women and will not have to embarrass my husband with this condition," shared Emily with a shy smile on her face.
Victor is a three-year-old boy and the youngest in a family of four children. Victor’s father is the sole provider for the family through his job at a tobacco factory. Victor was diagnosed with bilateral Genu Valgus, which means that his legs have bowed inwards forming knocked knees. This condition is typically caused by an excessive accumulation of fluoride in the bones, which often stems from contaminated drinking water. As a result, walking is difficult and painful for him. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), is helping Victor to receive treatment. On September 14th, Victor will undergo corrective surgery at AMH's care center and now, AMH is requesting $880 to fund Victor's procedure and care. Treatment will hopefully restore Victor's mobility, allowing him to participate in a variety of activities and greatly decreasing his risk of future complications. Victor’s mother shared, "we have been informed that surgery will correct his legs but the cost is too high for us to afford."