Michele joined Watsi on February 24th, 2015. Seven years ago, Michele joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Michele's most recent donation traveled 8,300 miles to support Yoon, a beautiful 12-year-old girl from Burma, to fund an Achilles tendon lengthening procedure so that she can walk again.
Michele has funded healthcare for 94 patients in 14 countries.
Michele has funded healthcare for 94 patients in 14 countries.
Yoon is a bright and loving 12-year-old girl. She lives with her mother and uncle in Karen State of Burma near the border with Thailand. She was a student in grade three but stopped studying in August 2020 when she was no longer able to walk. Yoon enjoys painting pictures and reading books. In the future, she wants to go back to school and continue her studies. She helps out her mother with household chores. Her uncle is unemployed whereas her mother is an agricultural day labourer. One day at home, Yoon fell down when she tried to stand up to go to the bathroom. Her feet felt painful and were pointing downwards. After that, she did not try to stand up again and would move around her house on her knees. Her mother would have to carry her to the bathroom. Due to their financial situation, her mother was not able to seek treatment despite being very worried for her daughter. Over time, Yoon noticed that her feet were increasingly pointing downwards and were stiff. Her legs would feel painful and were also stiff. Sometimes, she could not stretch out her legs due to feelings of tightness and pain. Her mom shared that she would cry whenever her legs pained, and she would have to wait until the pain lessened by itself. Additionally, her hands began to weaken until she could not hold food with her hands. At the same time, her speech became slurred and her voice became hoarse. On June 17, Yoon arrived at our medical partner's care center, Mawlamyine Christian Leprosy Hospital (MCLH), and was admitted that same day. She received a physical examination and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and tightness of Achilles tendon in both of her legs. The doctor recommended she receive surgery on both of her feet, which would help her walk again, and scheduled the procedure for June 21st. When Yoon’s mother told the doctor that they cannot afford to pay for surgery, the doctor referred Yoon to Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF) for assistance accessing further treatment. Our medical partner, BCMF, is requesting $1,500 to cover the cost of an Achilles tendon lengthening procedure for Yoon. This procedure will elongate her Achilles tendon, allowing increased motion at the ankle joint. Without treatment, Yoon's condition will continue to cause her discomfort and will further limit her movement. Her mother said, “I cried almost every night when I saw my daughter in this condition. She always cried and complained about her feet. She always asked me to bring her to the hospital to get treatment. Whenever she asked me, I felt very sad and I would cry in secret. I want her to get treatment, but I cannot afford to pay for it. Due to COVID-19 and the current fighting in Burma, I cannot make enough money or save it. Often, I would only eat fishpaste and rice, but give her meat so that she can have something nutritious. When I heard that she has donors who will help her receive treatment, I felt very happy and thankful to BCMF for this kindness. I never thought she would receive such an opportunity. It makes me so happy that I do not know how to express it in words.”
Thay is a one-year-old girl from Burma. She lives with her parents, grandfather, three sisters and a brother in a village. Thay's mother looks after her and her brother at home, her grandfather is retired, and her sisters go to school. Thay's father works as a porter, but has has difficulty finding work for over a month. With the increasing number of internally displaced people settling in their village due to the humanitarian crisis, there are now many individuals competing for the same work. When Thay was around eight months old, her parents noticed that her head was increasing in size. As a result, Thay cannot yet sit up or crawl. She is only able to turn her head, and will cry if she cannot see her parents. Thay was recently diagnosed with hydrocephalus, which has causes fluid to build up in her brain. Without immediate surgery to alleviate the intracranial pressure, Thay is at risk of developing severe, potentially fatal medical complications. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund the insertion of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt for Thay, which will drain the fluid that has accumulated in her brain. The procedure is scheduled to take place on May 20th and, once completed, will greatly improve Thay's quality of life as she grows up. Thay's father said, "I am thankful to every organisation and everyone for supporting my daughter’s treatment cost. Because of you, I believe that my daughter will receive surgery and be healthy and live a normal life after treatment."
Gatguon is an 8-week-old baby girl from a remote area of South Sudan. The civil war in South Sudan has made it difficult for many to access healthcare and treatment, including Gatguon's family. Gatguon was born with swelling in the back of her head. Upon referral to Old Fangak Clinic, the doctor diagnosed Gatguon with spina bifida, a type of neural tube defect in which the spine does not properly close around the spinal cord. Without treatment, Gatguon is at risk of lower-limb paralysis, infection of the exposed nervous tissue, development of tethered cord syndrome, and possible developmental delays. Gatguon urgently needs spina bifida repair surgery to correct the condition and reduce risk of infection. Unfortunately, this treatment is not available for her in South Sudan. Dr Jill Seaman and her team at Old Fangak Clinic facilitated Gatguon’s travel to Kenya – a long and difficult journey for a sick baby. Now, doctors at our medical partner's care center in Kenya will perform the surgery she needs. Gatguon’s parents have two kids. Her mother is a stay-at-home mom and her father is a vegetable farmer. They are hopeful that baby Gatguon will be treated and that they will continue taking care of her and loving her unconditionally. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is helping Gatguon's family raise $1,151 to cover the cost of spina bifida closure surgery. The procedure is scheduled to take place on April 20th and will hopefully spare Gatguon of further complications and allow her to grow and develop along a healthy trajectory. Gatguon’s mother shared, “We hope that our child will be treated.”
Mas is a 61-year-old farmer who lives with her sister. She spends most of her time planting vegetables to sell at the market. She enjoys visiting the pagoda in her free time. Two years ago, Mas developed a cataract in her right eye, causing her tearing and blurry vision. She has difficulty seeing things clearly, including colors and faces. She is also worried about falling when walking, so she is not able to go places on her own. When Mas learned about our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, she traveled for three and a half hours seeking treatment. On February 8th, doctors will perform a small incision cataract surgery and an intraocular lens implant in her right eye. After recovery, she will be able to see clearly. Now, she needs help to fund this $229 procedure. Mas shared, "I hope I will be able to see better. I would like to go outside and do my housework well again."
Meet Lucy, a 3-year-old jovial girl. She is the second born and last born in the family. Her family hails from Mai-Mahiu village in Nakuru County of Kenya. Lucy's mother separated from her father after having challenges in the family. Now they live in a two-room rental house in their village and her mom does laundry, farming, and any other work she can get within the village. Our medical partner met Lucy at the Kijabe clinic, where she came with her mother. Lucy has a fracture on her hand that was sustained after a fall last year. She was taken to a hospital in Kiambu county, where casting was done, and she was later told that the hand had healed. Lucy's mother noticed, however, that her hand is still not well and she is not able to lift things or do all that she should be able to. Lucy is scheduled to undergo osteotomy surgery to correct her left hand. Her mother is not able to raise the hospital bill and has requested support. "Any help to assist my daughter with undergoing surgery will be highly appreciated," Lucy’s mother shared.
Srey Ne is a 32-year-old woman who is married with two young daughters, aged 5 and 7-years-old. Srey Ne works in a factory, while her husband works in construction. She shared that she enjoys swimming and cooking for her family in her free time. For six months, Srey Ne has been experiencing knee pain. She managed the condition with medication at first, but in December, the pain became so severe that she went to a government hospital. Doctors diagnosed her condition as osteoporosis, but Srey Ne was unable to afford the recommended treatment. When she learned about our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre (CSC), she traveled to there for review. Doctors at CSC conducted a biopsy and histology and determined she has a giant cell tumor on her left knee that is growing. Currently, Srey Ne experiences pain and discomfort. Fortunately, surgeons at CSC can help Srey Ne finally heal. On February 18th, she will undergo excision and fibular flap surgery to remove the tumor and heal the wound. CSC is requesting $657 to fund this procedure, which is also subsidized by Srey Ne's co-pay that she was able to gather. Srey Ne says, "This treatment will help me return to work so I can support my family. I am looking forward to being free of pain and walking easily."
Navin is a sweet 22-month-old boy. His family shared that he is very charming and also has a twin brother. Navin's father works as a phone repair person while the mother is a housewife. Over the December holidays, Navin's mother visited her parents in Arusha and when his grandparents saw how impacted his legs were, they advised Navin's parents to seek treatment for the twins. Navin has been diagnosed with bilateral genu varus, meaning both of his legs bow outward. This condition is typically caused by an excessive accumulation of fluoride in the bones, which often stems from contaminated drinking water. As a result, Navin has a challenging time walking. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $880 to fund corrective surgery for Navin. The procedure is scheduled to take place on January 11th. Treatment will hopefully restore Navin's mobility, allow him to participate in a variety of activities, and greatly decrease his risk of future complications. Navin’s mother says: “Please help my children they are struggling to walk and their legs keep worsening.”
Somanith is a 17-year-old university student. She is the oldest child in her family and has two siblings: an 8-year-old brother in 2nd grade and a 12-year-old sister in 4th grade. Somanith is in her first year at university, where she is studying accounting. Her father works for the government, and her mother stays at home to care for her siblings. Somanith likes to read books, exercise, and meet up with friends in her free time. Six months ago, Somanith noticed swelling on the left side of her face and thought it was from her wisdom tooth. She received a biopsy at the government hospital, which revealed she has a mass called ameloblastoma. Somanith is experiencing swelling and pain and is concerned with how quickly the mass has grown. Specialty surgeons will need to perform an excision and histology to determine her future treatment. When Somanith learned about our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre (CSC), she traveled across the country for eight hours seeking treatment. On December 7th, surgeons at CSC will perform an excision to remove the mass and help Somanith feel comfortable again. CSC is requesting $657 to fund her procedure. Somanith shared that she is hopeful the tumor will be easily removed and the biopsy will be benign.
Sambath is a 42-year-old soldier who now lives in a rural province of Cambodia with his mother. In his free time Sambath enjoys reading books, watching TV, listening to music, and meeting with friends. One year ago Sambath began experiencing pain in both hips. Now he has difficulty walking. Sambath was evaluated by doctors and due to the osteonecrosis in his hips, where his bones break down due to lack of blood flow, a total hip replacement surgery is recommended to restore his mobility. Fortunately, Sambath learned about our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre. At CSC, surgeons can perform a total hip replacement to relieve Sambath of his pain and allow him to walk easily. Treatment is scheduled for November 23rd, and Sambath needs help raising $1,087 to pay for this procedure. Sambath says, "I really hope that the pain will go away and I can walk easily again."
Victor is a 4-year-old boy who is very playful and eager to learn. He wants to understand and know about all the things he comes across. Victor is the third born in a family of four children. He recently enrolled in school and he is loving it. Unforunately, Victor's parents are financially unstable. His father does casual jobs like ploughing for their neighbors or any other job he comes across to provide for his family. His mother does laundry work and any other house chores she comes across to help provide for the family. When he was young, Victor was diagnosed with a condition called cryptorchidism. If left untreated, Victor has an increased risk of developing hernias, testicular cancer, and fertility problems in the future. Victor will be able to receive assistance from our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF). Fortunately, he is scheduled to undergo corrective surgery on October 14th. AMHF is requesting $646 to cover the total cost of his procedure and care. Victor’s father says, “When I learnt about my son’s condition, I was not at peace and I wanted him treated despite the fact that I did not know where the funds would have come from. As a father, I would really like him to have a family of his own.”
Marher is an adorable and smart 22-month-old boy from Ethiopia. He loves to run and play outdoor games. Marher is the only child in his family, and he loves talking with others. His dad is a construction worker but is currently not working since the termination of the project due to Covid-19 and hyperinflation of construction materials. His mom is a cook and the breadwinner of the family as of now. Her income is limited to sustain their family needs. They live in a rented house which makes their living conditions expensive, and so they often depend on support from friends and family. Marher was born with hypospadias, a congenital abnormality that causes urinary dysfunction. Without treatment, he will continue to experience uncomfortable symptoms and will be at risk of infertility. Fortunately, Marher is scheduled to undergo corrective surgery on October 14th, 2021. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMH), is requesting $1,293 to cover the total cost of his procedure and care. His dad said, “Marher will be happy if he receives the surgery and recovers to live like any other boy. He will not be psychologically affected by his condition as he grows up. I hope he will be educated and lead a quality life.”
Robert is a 37-year-old matatu taxi driver with two children. Recently, Robert was involved in a traffic accident where he sustained multiple fractures in his legs. He has difficulty walking and can no longer work as a driver. Fortunately, with the support of Watsi donors he was able to have his first surgery and now surgeons at our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), are able to help with his final repair. On August 5th, Robert will undergo a second fracture repair procedure, called an open reduction and internal fixation. This procedure will allow Robert to walk with more ease. AMH is requesting $1,500 to fund this procedure. "I am hopeful I will be able to walk again. I am halfway there. I know with this surgery, I will be able to use my legs and get back to working again,” shared Robert.