Gretchen joined Watsi on September 27th, 2013. 5 other people also joined Watsi on that day! Gretchen's most recent donation supported Katweensly, a 16 year old student from Haiti, to fund prep and travel for heart surgery.
Gretchen has funded healthcare for 63 patients in 12 countries.
Gretchen has funded healthcare for 63 patients in 12 countries.
Meet Katweensly, a 16 year old student, living with her mother and siblings in a small town in Haiti, near the border with the Dominican Republic. Katweensly, who is a junior in high school, particularly enjoys her math and science classes. As a young child, Katweensly suffered a bout of rheumatic fever, which damaged one of the four valves in her heart. As a result, her heart cannot pump blood efficiently through her body, leaving her feeling weak and short of breath. Thanks to the help of our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance, Katweensly is scheduled to travel to the Dominican Republic for surgery, which is scheduled for November 10th, at Hospital CEDIMAT. There, doctors will first try to repair the damaged valve. If they are unable to do this, they will implant an artificial valve. Another organization, Mitral Foundation, is helping supporting the cost of the surgery, but Katweensly's family needs an additional $1,500 to pay for lab tests, medicines, and follow up appointments that are a part of her overall treatment. In addition, support will help cover the travel costs and ensure a social worker from Haiti Cardiac Alliance can support the family during treatment in the Dominican Republic. Katweensly said: "I am feeling very happy to finally have the chance to have my heart repaired after waiting for so long."
Saw Eh is a two-year-old boy who lives with his mother and older sister in a refugee camp in Thailand. Both he and his older sister go to nursery school. His mother weaves and sells traditional Karen clothing to earn extra money in addition to the small amount they receive every month on a cash card. When Saw Eh was two months old, he began crying a lot and his mother noticed swelling in a sensitive area. He received medication at the hospital in the refugee camp, which helped alleviate his discomfort and crying. However, Saw Eh began experiencing pain in the same sensitive area this past June. This pain often causes him to miss school, as well as to cry frequently again. His mother shares that when he cries, she must hold him, meaning she no longer has time to weave clothes. During the short moments when the pain lessens after taking painkillers, Saw Eh loves playing with his friends and his sister. When his family brought him to the hospital, a medic told them that they would have to wait for a doctor to visit the refugee camp. When Saw Eh was finally seen by a doctor in late July, he and his family were referred to our medical partner's care center, Mae Sariang Hospital, for treatment. He was diagnosed with hydrocele in his left scrotum and a left inguinal hernia. Due to his severe condition, the doctor admitted him and scheduled his surgery to take place that same night, August 4th. However, Saw Eh's mother shares that she cannot pay for her son's needed treatment due to financial constraints. Fortunately, she was referred to our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF), for financial assistance accessing treatment. On August 4th, surgeons will perform hernia repair surgery to treat Saw Eh's hernia and help alleviate his symptoms. BCMF is requesting $1,486 to fund his surgery and care. Saw Eh’s mother shares, “I feel so sad when I see my son in pain. I love to see him playing with his sister, but if he is in pain, he will cry a lot.”
Jayden is a baby from Tanzania. He is being raised by a single mother working hard to provide for her family. Jayden's father is not in their life, and his mother has no remaining family members. She has no stable job and she always seeks different jobs, like washing clothes. Jayden was born with his fingers on both of his hands being attached together. His mother tried to seek treatment, however she could not afford to pay for surgery to correct his fingers. Due to his condition, Jayden cannot use his fingers separately. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is helping Jayden receive treatment. On October 13, surgeons at the care center will perform a surgery to help separate his fingers for easier use. Now, their family needs help to fund this $639 procedure. Jayden’s mother says, “I have struggled for a while with my son, I am glad that I have found people who are willing to help him.”
Nathalia is a crafty and creative seven-year-old from Bolivia who just completed first grade. She lives with her parents and one younger sister. Some of Nathalia's favorite activities include creating artwork and making crafts! Nathalia was born with an atrial septal defect, a cardiac condition in which a hole exists between the two upper chambers of the heart. Blood leaks through this hole instead of flowing properly through her body, leaving her feeling weak and short of breath. Fortunately, Nathalia is scheduled to undergo heart surgery on July 27th with the support of our long-standing medical partner Haiti Cardiac Alliance, which is now growing and expanding into Bolivia. Surgeons will close the hole with a patch, allowing blood to properly flow through her body and improving her quality of life. Another organization, Gift of Life International, is contributing $2,500 to pay for a portion of Nathalia's procedure costs. Our medical partner is requesting $1,500 to cover the remaining costs, which cover surgical expenses, cardiac exams, medications, and travel fees so Nathalia and her family can travel to receive her life-changing cardiac procedure in La Paz. Nathalia's mother shares, "Ever since we learned our daughter was sick, we have been praying every day for this surgery, and we are so glad our prayers are about to be answered!"
Joan is a small-scale farmer. She previously has lost children during pregnancy and child birth, but is hopeful that she will welcome a healthy baby. Joan has a certificate in nursery school teaching and is looking for a job. In the meantime, she is farming with her husband. Joan and her husband make a modest income and own a two-room mud house for shelter. During her free time, Joan enjoys working on the farm with her family. Joan's doctors recommend that she deliver her child via a caesarean section, or c-section, because of her previous birth complications. This procedure will allow doctors to ensure the safety of both mother and child. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is raising $214 to fund Joan's c-section on May 20th. Joan shared, “I hope and believe that I will finally be a mother through surgery. I hope for a positive outcome. I will continue with farming after complete recovery.”
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.”
Guy is an 8-year-old student from Haiti. Her lives with his parents and younger brother and sister in the outskirts of Port-au-Prince. He likes going to school and dressing up for church. Guy has a cardiac condition called atrial septal defect. A hole exists between the two upper chambers of his heart; blood leaks through this hole without properly circulating through his body, leaving him sickly and weak. Guy will fly to nearby Dominican Republic to receive treatment as the care he needs is not currently available in Haiti. On February 28th, he will undergo cardiac surgery, during which surgeons will sew a patch over the hole in his heart so that blood can no longer leak through it. Our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance, is contributing $8000 to help pay for his surgery. Guy's family also needs help to fund the costs of surgery prep. The $1,500 bill covers labs, medicines, and his check-up and follow-up appointments. It also supports passport obtainment and the social workers from our medical partner who will accompany Guy's family overseas. His mom is relieved that his surgery is finally happening and shared: "I am looking forward to seeing my son gaining weight and strength after his surgery!"
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.”
Saray is a beautiful baby girl who lives in Colombia. Her parents moved from Venezuela two years ago seeking for a better place to raise a family. Even though Saray is only one year old, she is already really sympathetic and enthusiastic, she loves celebrating everything. Saray has clubfoot of her left foot. Clubfoot is a condition in which the foot is twisted out of shape. This will cause difficulty walking and even wearing shoes as she grows older. Fortunately, Saray's family traveled to visit our Medical Partner Clínica Noel where they can offer life-changing treatment. There, surgeons will perform clubfoot repair surgery on December 6th. Our medical partner is requesting $1,422 to fund Saray's clubfoot repair. After treatment, She will be able to walk, wear shoes, and play like any other kid. "Thank you so much, being in a foreign country and finding out that our little girl needs surgery is really stressful for us. I was really sad because in this moment we can't pay for the surgery but finding out that there are people that can help me with this really gives me hope that my little girl will be okay."
Nehemia is a nine-year-old child from Tanzania and the fourth born in a family of five children. She is currently in kindergarten and she loves singing the vowels. Nehemia's parents keep livestock for a living and sell the milk. Once in a while, they also sell a goat to make additional money. Nehemia has clubfoot of her left foot. Clubfoot is a condition in which the foot is twisted out of shape. This causes difficulty walking and even wearing shoes. Fortunately, Nehemia traveled to visit our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), to receive treatment. On September 14th, surgeons at AMH's care center will perform clubfoot repair surgery. Now, AMH is requesting $935 to fund Nehemia's clubfoot repair. After treatment, she will be able to walk easily. Nehemia’s father shared, "every day when she gets home from school she complains of pain and you can easily see she is trying not to put pressure on the foot due to fear of pain. Please help my daughter."
Chhong is a smart two-year-old boy with one brother. Chhong enjoys playing with his toy car, and his father works as a security guard. Two months ago, Chhong developed a chalazion, or an inflamed cyst in his tear gland, in both eyes causing him irritation, swelling, and tearing. It is difficult for him to see clearly. Chhong traveled across the country for five hours with his mother to seek treatment from our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre. On June 7th, surgeons will remove the cyst through a chalazion excision procedure. After recovery, Chhong's symptoms should improve. Now, his family needs help raising $187 to fund this procedure. Chhong's mother shared, "I hope my son can get well soon so he can play with his brother and I don't need to worry so much about his eyes anymore."
Dara is a 55-year-old engineer. He's married and lives with his wife who works in the home. Dara used to work from morning until night, but now his deteriorating vision prevents him from working as much. Currently, he works half days and spends his free time listening to the news on the radio and spending time at his neighbor's house. Five years ago, Dara developed a cataract in his left eye, causing him sensitivity to light, blurry vision, and itchiness. He has difficulty seeing things clearly, recognizing faces, and going anywhere outside. When Dara learned about our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, he traveled there with a friend seeking treatment. On April 28th, doctors will perform a small incision cataract surgery and an intraocular lens implant in his left eye. After recovery, he will be able to see clearly. Now, he needs help to fund this $229 procedure. Dara shared, "I hope after surgery I can regain my independence and return to working full time as an engineer."