Gretchen Mellberg
Gretchen's Story

Gretchen joined Watsi on September 27th, 2013. 5 other people also joined Watsi on that day! Gretchen's most recent donation supported Pai, a refugee from Thailand, to fund eye surgery and restore her vision.

Impact

Gretchen has funded healthcare for 58 patients in 11 countries.

All patients funded by Gretchen

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.”

$1,500raised
Fully funded

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.”

$880raised
Fully funded

Scholastica is a 6-month-old baby girl from Tanzania. She is the last born in a family of six children. Scholastica was born a healthy child but, at four months of age, her mother noticed her head was growing very fast and she was not able to support it. They could not afford the cost of seeking care at the regional hospital at the time. Scholastica's parents are small scale farmers and work hard to make ends meet with their income. Eventually, they were able to get some money from relatives and took her back to the regional hospital. There, Scholastica was diagnosed with hydrocephalus, a condition in which excess cerebrospinal fluid accumulates in the brain and increases intracranial pressure. Without treatment, Scholastica will experience severe physical and developmental delays. Unfortunately, she was not able to get an appointment at the regional hospital for a long time. As time went on, Scholastica's condition grew worse. Her head increased in size and her eyes began rolling down. Though they were concerned, her parents could not raise money to seek an alternative hospital for care. Eventually, their friend referred them to our medical partner's care center, ALMC Plaster House. Their friends and neighbours supported them with bus fare for the two-day journey to the hospital. Now, she is scheduled for an ETV surgery to treat her condition, and the family appeals for financial support for this procedure. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,300 to cover the cost of ETV surgery for Scholastica that will treat her hydrocephalus. The procedure is scheduled to take place on January 25th and will drain the excess fluid from Scholastica's brain. This will reduce intracranial pressure and greatly improve her quality of life. It will also reduce the likelihood of severe fevers, vomiting, and potential brain damage. With proper treatment, Scholastica will hopefully develop into a strong, healthy young girl. Scholastica’s mother shared, "We travelled for two days because we were told there is hope for my daughter to get help. Please help save her.”

$1,300raised
Fully funded