Michele joined Watsi on February 24th, 2015. Five years ago, Michele became the 946th member to automatically support a new Watsi patient every month. Since then, 4,846 more people have become monthly donors! Michele's most recent donation traveled 8,300 miles to support Nyo, a mother from Burma, to fund cardiac surgery.
Michele has funded healthcare for 66 patients in 13 countries.
Nyo is a 50-year-old woman from Burma who lives with her husband, her son, and her daughter in a village in Shwe Bo Township. Nyo’s husband is a subsistence farmer while she is a homemaker. Her son sells bus tickets at the bus station in Taunggyi Town, Shan State and he sends some pocket money to his parents at home. Nyo’s husband sometimes work as a construction day laborer. Nyo was diagnosed with a heart condition that involves a malformation of her mitral valve, the valve between the left atrium and left ventricle. This valve controls the flow of blood, but certain conditions may cause blood to flow backward or the valve to narrow. Currently, she is tired and cannot walk long distances. She also has chest pain and a poor appetite. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund a mitral valve replacement for Nyo. The treatment is scheduled to take place on March 16th and, once completed, will hopefully allow her to live more comfortably. Nyo said, “I am very upset that I have to suffer this kind of condition.”
Abel is five-year-old quite a boy in Kindergarten. He hails from Kapchesoo village on the hills of Elgeyo Marakwet County in Kenya. Last Thursday evening, Abel came to Watsi's medical partner's hospital accompanied by his mother after a fall while playing with his friends. He sustained an injury on his left hand now he is unable to flex his elbow and has severe pain. On arrival an X-Ray was done that confirmed that Abel has a completely displaced supracondylar fracture. Abel has been admitted in the paediatrics ward awaiting OREF/K-wiring surgery. Abel is the sixth born child in a family of seven. Abel’s father is a farmer and his mother is a housewife. His father earns an average of $56.00 in a month from his farm products. Having been blessed with seven children, his father's income is too little to meet the needs of his children. He feels it’s impossible to raise money for Abel’s surgery bill with their family’s low socioeconomic status, and that has even caused more fear for him. Abel has been scheduled for surgery yet the family is still uncertain on how they will pay the bills. They are requesting any well-wisher to support them so that their son can be operated on. Abel’s mother shared, “Nothing hurts a parent like watching your child cry in pain, it has been a nightmare to me and a difficult time for our family. We are looking forward to seeing Abel in good spirits again.”
Tabitha is a business lady from Kenya. She is a single mother of three children. Tabitha sells camel soup in the capital to make a living for herself and her three children. Two of her children are in school, which demands school fees. From her small business, she makes about $5 daily, which she saves to meet the her family's needs. Tabitha has been recently 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 $816 to cover the cost of a mastectomy for Tabitha. The procedure is scheduled to take place on January 20. After treatment, Tabitha will hopefully return to a cancer-free life. Tabitha says, “I wish to be treated and be free from the stressful experience I am in.”
Htike is 40-year-old father from Thailand. He is a daily laborer who works in construction. In his free time he enjoys playing football and cane ball. He also likes to watch Manchester United play soccer. On December 18th, 2019, while working at a construction site, Htike fell from the roof of a 2nd story building. During the fall, not only did he break both his ankles, unfortunately he also slammed his face against nails, which caused bruising and several deep cuts all over his face. He is in severe pain all the time, he cannot walk or move his ankles, nor can he sleep. With the help of our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, Htike will undergo surgery to reset his fractured bones and ensure proper healing. The procedure is scheduled for December 25th and will cost $1,500. This procedure will stop the pain, allow him to walk again, and provide for his family. "After receiving treatment, I am looking forward to working again in construction," Htike said.
Khin is a 39-year-old woman who lives with her family in Hpa-An Township, Karen State, Burma. Both her children are in preschool. She and her husband are subsistence farmers, growing rice during the rainy season on rented land. The rest of the year, her husband collects leaves used to make roofs, works as a daily labourer or collects branches to sell. Khin was born with a scar the size of an ant bite on her upper lip. Her parents thought that it would disappear or heal on its own but the scar developed into a growth and increased in size. Her parents passed away when she was young and after that she went to live with her brother’s family. By the time she was around 20 years old, the growth had become large and soft, covering the area between her upper lips and her nose. When the pain became unbearable in 2005, her uncle dropped her off at Mae Tao Clinic (MTC) in Thailand, a free clinic close to where her uncle used to work. At this point, the growth had become so large that dragged her upper lip down and extended into her nostrils. At MTC, she was seen by doctors and medics, before she was diagnosed with a hemangioma. At this point, the growth had worsened, and she was bleeding from her lips. In April 2006, Khin went to Chiang Mai Hospital and had the hemangioma removed surgically. The growth later has returned. Overtime, the hemangioma has increased in size and become hard. It has now expanded into Khin’s nostrils, especially her left nostril, which causes her to have difficulty breathing at times. She feels uncomfortable but is not in pain. Sometimes she also feels like she has a blood clot in her nostrils during her nosebleeds. Because the nosebleed can start at any time and can last anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes, her life revolves around managing her nosebleeds. She is unable to work or sleep properly, and if she is about to have a nosebleed, she is unable to eat. The nosebleeds have also affected her ability to earn an income for her children and continues to impact her social life. “When I socialise, I do not feel comfortable and some people think I have a disease that I can infect them with,” said Khin. “So, I hope to get better after surgery, and I hope I will no longer have nosebleeds. I don’t want to bleed, and I want to socialise with my friends and family happily. [Right now] my friends won’t even touch me.”
Yonase is a young boy from Ethiopia. Yonase is a handsome and playful boy who loves playing football. He comes from a humble family. His mother does menial jobs to sustain the family including laundry for wages. Yonase was born with hypospadias, a birth defect that disrupts the normal flow of urine. His mother did not know of the defect and was told by a neighbour. He is not able to pass urine while standing like any other boy. If not treated, Yonase will be at risk of infertility and social stigma. He was reviewed in our facility where surgery to correct the defect was recommended. With limited income, the mother is afraid he will not be able to receive surgery. She is stressed with her son's conditions. She appeals for financial assistance. Fortunately, Yonase is scheduled to undergo corrective surgery on October 17th. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,231 to cover the total cost of his procedure and care. Yonase's mother says, "I am now hopeful that he will get the surgery and that he will be ok."
Mary walks into my office with the top of her cardigan covering her chin. She sits on the chair opposite me with one hand clasping the top of her black cardigan to veil the swell running from her jawline to her neck. The lower lip protrudes with a peeping swelling attached in so that her upper lip cannot touch the lower one. This has been Mary’s life for over 6 months. Late last year, Mary developed a small swelling on her jaw. It was not painful and therefore she did not think of it as serious. As time passed, the swell grew in size. Mary who could eat just about anything now has restrictions on what she can eat. There is pain when she bends and this has also obstructed her working. Mary is married with two children. She was a subsistence farmer before the condition restricted her activities. Mary and her husband depend on one of their daughter who sells second-hand clothes. Besides helping her parents, she has four children under her care. Mary says, “Please help me because I can barely eat."
Migel is a young boy from Kenya. Since birth, Migel has had an umbilical hernia. If not treated, the hernia may result into intestinal tissue damage or death. Fortunately, on August 2, he will undergo repair surgery at our medical partner's care center. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $423 to fund Migel's surgery. Once completed, this procedure will hopefully allow him to live more comfortably. “I am kindly asking for your help to finance my son’s surgical care,” says Migel’s mother.
John is a young man from Kenya. In June, he was hit by a motorbike and sustained injuries on his right leg. He is in chronic pain and cannot walk on his own. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner can help. On July 2, John will undergo a fracture repair procedure, called an open reduction and internal fixation. This procedure will help him walk again. Now, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $998 to fund this procedure.
Wilanka is a girl from Haiti. She was born with a cardiac condition called ventricular septal defect, in which a hole exists between the two lower chambers of her heart. She underwent open-heart surgery for this condition in 2017, but at some point after the surgery, the patch that was sewn over the hole unfortunately separated from part of her heart, and so she requires a second open-heart surgery to replace the patch. Wilanka lives in west central Haiti with her parents and three siblings; she does well in school, especially in math and science. Wilanka will fly to India to receive treatment. On August 14, she will undergo cardiac surgery. Another organization, Rotary International, is contributing $8,000 to pay for surgery. Her family also needs help to fund the costs of surgery prep. The $1,500 bill covers labs, medicines, and checkup and followup appointments. It also supports passport obtainment and the social workers from our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance, who will accompany her family overseas.
Win is 54-year-old woman from Burma. She lives with her father, sister, brother-in-law and two nephews. She usually cares for her father and looks after him. Three years ago, Win started to experience abdominal and back pain. She has been diagnosed with an ovarian cyst. Currently, she suffers from pain in her lower abdomen. She also feels dizzy, has back pain, and cannot sit for long periods of time. Doctors want Win to undergo a CT scan, a procedure in which x-ray images taken from several angles are combined to produce cross-sectional images of the body. This scan will hopefully help doctors diagnose her condition and formulate an appropriate treatment plan. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $414 to cover the cost of Win's CT scan and care, scheduled for March 18. "When I get better, I want to look after my father full-time and give him all of my attention," said Win.
Richardson is a baby from Haiti. He lives with his parents in a neighborhood of Port-au-Prince; his father is a security guard and his mother stays at home with him. Richardson has a cardiac condition called Tetralogy of Fallot. His diagnosis involves several related conditions, including a hole between the two lower chambers of the heart and a muscular blockage of one of the valves. On May 24, he will undergo cardiac surgery at St. Damien Hospital, our medical partner's care center. During surgery, surgeons will close the hole in his heart with a patch, and remove the muscular blockage from his valve. Another organization, Gift of Life International, is contributing $12,000 to pay for surgery. Richardson's family also needs help to fund the costs of surgery prep. The $1,500 requested by our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance, covers cardiac exams and medications. His mother says, "We are hopeful that after the surgery our son will gain weight and be more active."