Marvin joined Watsi on December 25th, 2014. Six years ago, Marvin joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Marvin's most recent donation traveled 8,500 miles to support Benjamin, a cheerful motorbike driver from Kenya, to fund a mobility-restoring spinal fusion surgery.
Marvin has funded healthcare for 82 patients in 11 countries.
Marvin has funded healthcare for 82 patients in 11 countries.
Benjamin is a father of a four-year-old child who works as a motorbike (boda-boda) driver, earning about $3.70USD per day. His income is also inconsistent and depends on the availability of customers. He is the sole breadwinner for his family. Unfortunately, he has no active medical insurance coverage and has had to rely on relatives and friends to settle hospital bills. Benjamin is full of smiles but finds it difficult to sit up while sharing his story. He opts to talk while lying flat on his back. Benjamin is currently immobile, unable to sit and walk, as a result of a road traffic accident from the beginning of the month. When the 25-year-old hitched a ride on his friend's water truck, the vehicle lost control and he was thrown out the window. He immediately experienced severe back pain and lost consciousness. The accident left Benjamin with multiple fractures and wounds that will require several fracture repair and spine surgeries in order for him to sit, walk, and be able to continue with his normal routine roles again. After stays at various hospitals and numerous referrals, Benjamin arrived at our medical partner's care center, Kijabe Hospital, for care on July 17th. One of the obstacles to treatment he had faced at other hospitals was a long waiting list that meant a delay in much-needed care, but fortunately Kijabe is able to offer his needed care more urgently. At Kijabe Hospital, the doctors recommended a spinal fusion procedure for him to help regain his mobility. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), is requesting $1,500 for Benjamin's critical surgery, scheduled to take place on July 26th. Benjamin shares, “I just sleep on my back and cannot even sit or walk. I cannot work and fend for my family. I need this surgery to get back to my Boda-boda job and raise my family."
Meet Nahashion: a playful, four-year-old boy in kindergarten. Nahashion is the only child in his family. His mother gave birth to Nahashion when she was very young, so she had to drop out of school to take care of her baby. His father is a maize farmer, but he also does odd-jobs like working on other peoples’ farms to supplement his maize farm. Both parents did not finish primary education (eight years), which poses difficulty when trying to find better paying jobs. The young family lives in a rental house in a small town. After giving birth to Nahashion, his mother was told by a doctor that her child had hypospadias, a disease causing urinary dysfunction. She was very worried about it because it was the first time she heard about such a case. Without treatment, Nahashion will continue to experience uncomfortable symptoms and will be at risk of infertility when he grows up. A few months afterwards, she started searching for treatment and could not find a specialist in the many hospitals she visited. Finally, Nahashion traveled with his parent's many miles from their hometown to arrive at Kapsowar Hospital, where he was seen by a visiting surgeon. They had heard about the specialist after hearing an advertisement on the radio of the urology clinic that is taking place at Kapsowar. Fortunately, now Nahashion is scheduled to undergo corrective surgery on June 24th. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), is requesting $631 to cover the total cost of his procedure and care. Nahashion’s mother is optimistic and strong. She says, “I am really not sure what is going to happen, but I am confident that my child will be able to proceed well after the surgery.”
Hamza is a 4-year-old boy from Ethiopia and the sixth child of his parents. He loves to play football. He joined school but had to stop going as a result of his condition. Hamza's father died a year and a half ago and his mom runs a small business selling charcoal in their village. His three older siblings do small business as shoe shiners and daily workers. Hamza's mom shared that most of the time, their family eats twice a day because their income can't afford three meals a day. Hamza has been diagnosed with an abdominal mass called Neurofibomatosis. This causes swelling and a change of the shape of the abdomen. It also causes abdominal discomfort, pain, and bloating. Doctors have done a CT scan and identified a mass is on the wall of his abdomen that needs to be removed. His mother shared: “Hamza wants to learn and I want him also to go to school. I hope after the treatment he'll be as healthy as others and go to school.”
Sok Lim is a 35-year-old traditional Khmer food seller who works in the market along with her mother. She has two brothers: her older brother is a farmer, and her younger brother is a car mechanic. Their father died of illness many years ago. In October 2020, Sok Lim was in a motor vehicle accident that caused paralysis of her right arm. She has been diagnosed with a brachial plexus injury on her right side. The brachial plexus is a nerve network that transmits signals from the spine to the shoulder, arm, and hand. Injuries to this nerve network can result in loss of function and sensation. Currently, she is unable to lift her arm and cannot work. Sok Lim traveled to our medical partner's care center to receive treatment. On April 27th, she will undergo a brachial plexus repair surgery. After recovery, Sok Lim will be able to use her arm normally and easily again. Our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, is requesting $696 to fund this procedure. Sok Lim shared, "I am thankful that this surgery will help me return home and get back to helping my mother at the market. My life will be changed if I can use my right arm and hand again."
Rom is a 68-year-old rice farmer. She has one son and three grandchildren. She shared that her son is also a farmer, and she and her husband separated twenty years ago. Now that Rom is older, she no longer goes to the field. Instead, she enjoys staying at home and taking care of her grandchildren. In her free time, she likes to listen to the monks preaching on the radio. Five years ago, Rom developed a cataract in her left eye, causing her photophobia, blurry vision, itchiness and sometimes tearing. She has difficulty seeing things clearly, recognizing faces, and going anywhere outside. When Rom learned about our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, she traveled for three and a half hours with her niece seeking treatment. On January 13th, doctors will perform a small incision cataract surgery and place an intraocular lens implant in her left eye. After recovery, she will be able to see clearly. Now, she needs help to fund this $229 procedure. Rom shared, "I hope after surgery I can see well, I can go outside by myself, and care for my grandchildren. I hope to plant vegetables around our house to sell, which will earn money to support my family."
Dalin is a 13-year-old 7th grade student, with one younger sister. His parents are both rice farmers. Dalin's favorite subjects in school are Khmer and math. His favorite meal is called koko sou with roast chicken and juice. Dalin shared with us that he wants to be a doctor when he grows up. Five years ago, Dalin had an ear infection. This infection caused a cholesteatoma, or an abnormal skin growth, to develop in the middle ear behind the ear drum. For this reason, Dalin experiences hearing loss, tinnitus and ear discharge. It is difficult for him to hear at school. He's often absent from class due to the ear discharge. Dalin's family traveled to our medical partner's care center to finally receive treatment. On February 17th, he will undergo a mastoidectomy procedure in his left ear. During this procedure, ENT surgeons will remove the cholesteatoma. Our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, is requesting $925 to fund this procedure. This covers medications, supplies, and inpatient care at the hospital. Dalin said, "I hope my hearing will improve and the ear discharge will stop after surgery."
Jonah is a 9-year-old student from Kenya. He is a jovial and high-spirited boy. Jonah is the seventh born in a family of eight children. Under the sponsorship of a well-wisher, he is a second grade student at Mwiteria Vision Academy. Jonah's family hails from Iteria Village in Meru County. His mother is a single parent who used to be a farmer, but now stays at home to take care of her children. She recently underwent an amputation on her leg after suffering from diabetes. Jonah has clubfoot, a condition in which the foot is twisted out of shape. This causes difficulty walking and even with wearing shoes. His mother, sister, and elder brother brought him to AIC Hospital's mobile clinic in Meru to seek treatment. Watsi donors supported surgery for his left foot and now his family has returned to help heal is right foot as well. Jonah will be receiving assistance from our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation. Fortunately, he is scheduled to under go a clubfoot repair surgery on January 25th. African Mission Healthcare Foundation is requesting $1,286 to fund Jonah's clubfoot repair. After treatment, he will be able to walk and play easily again. Rosaria, Jonah's mother shared, “We are grateful for helping my two sons undergo surgery. We have seen a lot of impact on their feet. Previously, they used to complain of pain while walking and they like playing a lot. We plead for more support to ensure that their feet can be able to step on the ground and walk like other children. God bless you."
Than is 21-year-old woman from Burma. She is a soldier in Karen State, Burma and lives with the other soldiers in the barracks. On July 21, Than was participating in a drill on top of a mountain. Equipped with a heavy backpack and load, they had to descend the mountain quickly in the rain. While descending, Than’s left foot slipped. While falling, she banged her equipment against her left thigh and heard a cracking noise, before falling. Than's left leg is in a lot of pain and she cannot put any weight on her left leg. If she moves even a little bit, she shared that her pain increases. She can move her left ankle and toes, but she cannot bend her left leg. Her friend has to help her go to the bathroom and to take a shower. She cannot sleep well, her appetite has decreased, and she has noticed that she has already lost weight since the accident. With the help of our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, Than will undergo surgery to reset her fractured bones and ensure proper healing. The procedure is scheduled for September 1st and will cost $1,500. This procedure will help Than walk again and allow her leg to heal properly. “I am worried about how my leg will recover, and I am worried about the surgery,” said Than.
Shanel is a 9-year-old girl from western Kenya. She is a talkative girl in class two who loves reading and playing with her friends. Shanel is having challenges because of her congenital condition called genu varum, where her legs curve outwards by the knees. This causes her pain and limits her mobility. Shanel has never been treated due to lack of funds to pay for her treatment. She was brought to Watsi's Medical Partner Care Center Cure International Hospital, where doctors recommended she undergo a right distal femoral and tibial osteotomy procedure. Since Shanel's treatment has been delayed, she cannot have both legs corrected at the same time. Once her right leg has fully recovered, she will be reviewed for treatment of her left leg. Shanel's family is still struggling to meet the cost of her care. Shanel's mother is a waiter at a local hotel in their village. She earns limited income that is only sufficient to pay rent for their one-roomed house and meet the daily needs of her three children. Shanel and her family appeal for help. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner can help. On January 11th, Shanel will undergo an angular deformity correction procedure on her leg. Once recovered, she will be able to walk and move normally again, and return to playing with her friends. Now, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $1,224 to fund this procedure. Shanel's mother shared, "I am humbly requesting for support from well-wishers so that my daughter can walk well like other children."
Chum is 56-year-old farmer from Cambodia. Chum lives with her daughters, who work at a garment factory. Together they take care of Chum's first grandchild. Chum's husband passed away fourteen years ago. When it is not planting season, Chum cooks for her family, and enjoys watching Thai dramas on TV. About five years ago, Chum developed a pterygium in both eyes, causing her blurred vision, irritation, and constant tearing. She feels a burning sensation in her eyes all day long. Pterygiums are non-cancerous growths of the conjunctiva, a mucous layer that lubricates the eye. The growths occur when the conjunctiva is exposed to excessive sun damage and the cells grow abnormally over the pupil. When Chum learned about our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, she traveled for three hours seeking treatment. Chum needs a surgical procedure to remove the abnormal conjunctiva from the cornea surface and replace it with a conjunctival graft to prevent recurrence. The total cost of her procedure is $216. This covers medications, supplies, and inpatient care for two days. The procedure is scheduled for June 4th. Chum said, "I just want this burning feeling to be gone, and I hope that I can get clear vision as well. After the surgery I will spend a lot of time with my grandchild and work again."
Mary is a 46-year-old woman from Kenya. She is a housewife and a farmer, and is a mother of four children. Despite having lost sight in her left eye, Mary has been taking care of her children and her family's small piece of land. Her husband works as a street vendor to support the family's financial needs. On November 23rd, Mary slipped and fell, bending her left knee directly onto a stone. An X-ray confirmed that she sustained a closed fracture of her patella. This injury makes it difficult for her to walk, and she is in chronic pain. Fortunately, Mary's husband was able to bring her to the hospital and now surgeons at our medical partner can help. On November 26th, Mary will undergo a fracture repair procedure, called an open reduction and internal fixation. This procedure will help her walk easily again. Now, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,049 to fund this procedure. Mary's husband shared while holding back tears, "Without support, my wife will never walk again and it will be hard for her take care of our children. Please help her so that at least she can walk again and continue supporting our family.”
Sein is a 35-year-old woman from Burma. She lives with her son, daughter and her husband in a village in Thaton Township, Mon State. Sein’s husband is a driver and she is a homemaker. Four years ago, Sein experienced severe back pain with a fever. She went to the private clinic in Thaton where she received an ultrasound and was admitted for five nights. She shared that no one explained her diagnosis to her, but she received some pain medication and an intravenous line which made her feel better. Her symptoms disappeared after that, but in June 2019, her back pain returned. She also has jaundice of her eyes and the color of her urine is bright yellow. She started having a high fever and this time she felt that her back pain was very severe. Sein went to Yangon for treatment but after she was told that she needed surgery, she could not afford to pay for it. In early January 2020, she talked with her friend who works in Mae Sot, Thailand about her problem, and her friend suggested that she come to Mae Tao Clinic (MTC). On January 6th, Sein and her husband came to MTC, where she received some medications after she was examined by the medic. The medic at MTC referred her to Watsi Medical Partner's Care Center Mae Sot Hospital (MSH) for further investigation. There she received an ultrasound as well as a blood test. After that the doctor recommended a computed tomography (CT) scan, which is planned for February 28th. Currently, Sein still experiences back pain as well as lower abdominal pain and tightness. If she sits or walks for a longer period of time, the pain worsens. Doctors want Sein 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 Sein's CT scan and care, scheduled for February 28th. Sein said, “When I am in pain, I cannot do washing and other household chores. My husband has to help me with all this and he also has to accompany me which affects his income for our family.”