Michele joined Watsi on February 24th, 2015. Eight years ago, Michele joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Michele's most recent donation traveled 8,500 miles to support Titus, 34-year-old laborer from Kenya, to fund a skin graft surgery on his right arm and face.
Michele has funded healthcare for 99 patients in 14 countries.
Michele has funded healthcare for 99 patients in 14 countries.
Titus is the eldest son in a family of four. He shared his life's story with us: sometime back, his father was involved in a fatal argument with a neighbor, and went to prison. Titus' family became homeless as a result of this incident, and Titus could not stay in school after 8th grade due to financial difficulties. Recently, he has been working getting jobs near his home and sometimes he works at construction sites in order to earn a living. His jobs enable him to get his daily basic needs and be able to pay for his rent. Generally, Titus’ life is hard, and it is difficult for him to makes ends meet. Titus had a burn accident and his relatives rushed him to the hospital for treatment of severe burns on his hand and superficial burns on his chest and face. He has been on a daily dressing regime to lower the risk of infection and his doctor has determined that he needs a skin graft surgery in order to replace the lost skin and restore function of his right upper limb and forearm. Titus is requesting to be discharged home from the hospital without further treatment because he does not want the bill to accumulate as it will be hard to pay. However, it is critical for him to have the surgery, so that he can have the full use of his right arm. He needs $1,089 to pay for the surgery. Titus says, "Life has really been hard for me: when a problem ends, another one begins. I am so desperate, but I will not lose hope because someday things will be well. I kindly ask for your help to get well so that I may be able to continue working in order to change my current state.”
Brenda is a student from Tanzania who has had epileptic seizures since childhood. This has continued until now, though she is taking medication that is helping her manage the condition. She shared that she is not close to her parents as they are verbally abusive. She tries to keep her distance, but with her condition, it has been hard to depend on herself. After hearing about our health center and the work we do, she was hopeful that she is could get help. She had to take more than three buses to get to our center. “I am lucky. I did not have any seizure episodes during my journey," she says. She is at our center ready to receive treatment, but she cannot afford it. Earlier this year, Brenda had a seizure and fell on a hot stove. Her face was badly burned. Brenda received treatment, but after healing her face was left impacted. She has been living this way for four months now, hiding her face whenever she goes out. Her neighbor saw her one day and noticed that she was hiding her face. Thankfully, he told her about our health center and informed her that she could get help. It is hard for her to open her eyes fully, and due to the disfiguration, her self-esteem is affected. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is helping Brenda receive treatment. On October 13th, surgeons there will perform a burn contracture release surgery, which will allow her to open her eyes fully, and will hopefully help improve her self-esteem. Now, she needs help to fund this $874 procedure. Brenda says, “I am a spiritual person. I know it was God’s will for me to get here and get help. Thank you.”
Steevenson is a 21-year-old, living in a small farming village in southwest Haiti, with his parents and three younger siblings. Steevenson helps his parents tend to their farm, although he is hoping to be able to complete high school, once his health has improved. As a child, Steevenson suffered from a case of rheumatic fever, which left his heart severely damaged. As a result, one of his four heart valves cannot pump sufficient blood through his body, which leaves Steevenson weak and short of breath. Our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance, is helping Steevenson to finally receive the treatment that he needs. Steevenson will fly to the Dominican Republic, where on September 26th, surgeons at Hospital CEDIMAT will attempt to repair his damaged valve. If this isn't possible, an artificial valve will be implanted. Haiti Cardiac Alliance is contributing $8,000 to pay for Steevenson's surgery. But Steevenson's family also needs your help to secure $1,500 to fund the cost of labs, medicines and follow up appointments, as well as for the passports and the social workers who will accompany the family to the Dominican Republic. Steevenson shared, "I have been praying for this surgery since I was a child, and I hope that when it is over I can be fully healthy and will have more energy."
Josephine is a 70-year-old mother of eight children who lives with her husband in Kenya. Although she and her husband both do some small-scale farming in her community, they depend on their children to support them. However, Josephine has recently been unable farm due to her current medical condition. Since January, Josephine has been experiencing troubling symptoms, including uncontrolled bleeding. She visited a nearby health facility in her hometown to be evaluated and was referred to a hospital for additional tests. There, she received a CT scan and a biopsy, which revealed that she has uterine cancer. Her doctor recommends that she undergo a total abdominal hysterectomy, a surgical procedure to remove the uterus, to help remove the cancer from her body and hopefully stop its spread. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF), is requesting $1,260 to fund Josephine's surgery. Josephine has gathered funds to help with a copay, but the full cost of the specialist procedure is out of reach. On August 25th, she will undergo gynecological surgery at AMHF's care center, AIC Kijabe Hospital. After this procedure, she should be able to resume her life free from discomfort and bleeding. Josephine says, “Struggling with cancer at my age is scary. I can’t believe it! I hope the surgery will help to get rid of the disease.”
Thidar is a 30-year-old woman who lives with her son, husband, parents in-law, brother-in-law, and sister-in-law in Burma. She, her husband, and her mother-in-law grow rice, beans, and sesame on their farm. During her free time, Thidar enjoys growing flowers and vegetables around her house. Ten years ago, after Thidar gave birth to her son, she began to experience troubling symptoms. These included chest pains and a rapid heartbeat. When visiting a clinic, medics determined that she has a heart condition. To help her condition and alleviate her symptoms, Thidar took medication regularly. However, she ran out of oral medication at the start of this year. This was a problem because medics at her local clinic were protesting against the February 2021 coup, so the clinic was closed. She also could not go to a different clinic because the military had many checkpoints around the nearest town at the time, and she was too scared to pass them. Months later, after experiencing exhaustion, a rapid heartbeat, painful and swollen joints, and a loss in appetite, Thidar was able to seek medical care and receive medication. Following the advice of a medic at the clinic, she eventually visited a hospital. There, she received an X-rays scan and an echocardiogram, which determined that Thidar has a heart disease requiring surgery. Due to financial constraints, she and her husband could not fund the needed procedure and had to return home with Thidar still experiencing the same troubling symptoms as before. Fortunately, our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is helping Thidar finally receive treatment. On July 22nd, surgeons will perform double valve replacement cardiac surgery. This procedure will hopefully alleviate her symptoms and allow her to live more comfortably and confidently. Now, Thidar and her family need help funding this $1,500 procedure. Thidar says, “I feel very sad and I want to cry because I have no money to pay for my surgery cost. My mother and husband had to borrow money with interest [to pay for some of my medical fees]. I am also worried that I cannot work and support my son. Now, I am very happy that my surgery cost will be supported. I am thankful to all the donors and the organization.”
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.”