Michael joined Watsi on January 16th, 2016. 18 other people also joined Watsi on that day! Michael's most recent donation traveled 8,300 miles to support Poe, a five-year-old from Burma, to fund his spleen removal for thalassemia.
Michael has funded healthcare for 56 patients in 12 countries.
Michael has funded healthcare for 56 patients in 12 countries.
Poe is a five-year old boy who lives with his family in Shwe Koke Ko village of Karen State in Burma. In his free time, Poe likes to play with his friends and toys. He also likes to eat sweets. Poe does not go to school because of his condition. Poe's mother and father are divorced, and both are remarried. His father lives and works in Bangkok, Thailand and he contributes to Poe’s financial wellbeing by giving the household 5000 baht (approx. $167 USD) per month. His mother does not provide the family with any extra income. Poe stays with his grandmother and great grandmother from his father's side. His grandmother works as a cleaner. The rest of the family does not currently have work. When Poe was eight months old, he got a severe fever and his family took him to the Wang Pha clinic near Mae Sot, Thailand, which is the same place where he was born. He was admitted at the clinic for three days, but his condition did not improve. Doctors at the clinic told his family to take him to Mae Sot Hospital (MSH) for further investigation. The family immediately took him to MSH and he was admitted for one week. At MSH, he received a blood test and was diagnosed with Thalassemia, a blood disorder. He received a blood transfusion and after the transfusion, Poe felt better, but only temporarily. His family went back for three follow-up appointments to MSH, where he had blood transfusions each time. When he was one year and five months old, the family could not afford going to MSH any longer, so they took Poe to Myawaddy Hospital. He received another blood transfusion and an IV line. He was admitted for three days at the hospital. Although he felt better after getting discharged in Myawaddy, since his condition is chronic, he needs regular blood transfusions to stay healthy. It became increasingly difficult for the family to pay for Poe’s care, however, they decided to come to Mae Tao Clinic (MTC) for further help in 2016. Since then, he has received many blood transfusions at MTC, sometimes monthly and sometimes bi-monthly. With these treatments, he is able to survive. However, his condition also affects his spleen, the organ that filters blood. To prevent further problems, medics at MTC told his family that doctors need to remove Poe's spleen. Since it cannot be done at MTC, he needs to go back to MSH to undergo the operation. Currently, Poe has frequent bloody noses, coughs up blood, and has blood in his stool. He feels better after having a transfusion, but it wears off in the weeks following the procedure. When its nearing time for another transfusion, he feels weak and tired. When asked what he wants to do when he grows up, Poe was adamant that he wanted to be a medic. “I want to help people,” he said. “When he sees people that are sick, he always tells me he feels sorry for them,” added his great grandmother.
Mary is a peasant farmer from Kenya. Three years ago, she felt a painless lump on her left breast which was dismissed as a fatty lump at a local clinic. In 2018, the lump became painful and she sought medical care. She was still advised to wait. However, in 2019, she sought treatment from a different hospital. She had a biopsy done and cancer was suspected. She came to our facility where an x-ray was done and surgery recommended. Mary and her husband tend to their small farm to eke out a living. The mother of 4 children does not have any medical insurance and was not able to raise the funds required in the previous facility. Her children are not in any employment making it hard to consolidate funds needed. Mary has been 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 Mary. The procedure is scheduled to take place on January 3rd. After treatment, Mary will hopefully return to a cancer-free life. Mary says, “My hope is to have the cancer treated so that I continue providing for my family.”
Kheang has one son, and enjoys playing soccer, feeding the animals, helping cook food, and listening to the radio. Six days ago, Kheang fell four meters off the roof of his house and fractured his lower spine. He has lost sensation of his lower limbs and he is now unable to take care of himself on his own. Surgery will help to fuse his fractured spinal vertebrae into place, securing the bones and allowing them to heal together. Surgery will give him the chance to return to his normal activities again without difficulty. He shared, "I hope that I will be able to walk again and work the same as before."
Jackson is an eighteen year old and the firstborn child in a family of six children in Tanzania. He never had a chance to go to school since his parents could not afford the cost of educating him. He is hardworking and helps his father in looking after their cattle and working on their farm. Jackson started having leg problems four years ago. Over the years his legs have curved inward making him struggle to walk and go through pain when he walks for a long distance. He can’t go too far with his father’s cattle or work on the farm. His father didn’t have the money to take him for a check-up in a hospital. They tried herbal medicines but none have helped to straighten his legs. When our outreach team visited their village they got to know about Jackson’s condition and referred him for treatment at our hospital. He has been diagnosed with bilateral genu valgus which need to be corrected surgically but his parents can’t afford the treatment cost. This condition is typically caused by an excessive accumulation of fluoride in the bones, which often stems from contaminated drinking water. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $838 to fund corrective surgery for Jackson. The procedure is scheduled to take place on December 10th. Treatment will hopefully restore Jackson's mobility, allow him to participate in a variety of activities, and greatly decrease his risk of future complications. Jackson says, “I will be so happy if I can get this treatment and be able to walk normally again without the difficulty I am going through.”
Sarah is a calm teenager and in class six from Kenya. She is an aspiring lawyer and firstborn of two children. She lives with her mother and younger sister in a two-room house in the Rift valley region of Kenya. Her father left them years back due to the increasing family demands. Sarah was diagnosed with spina bifida at birth and was treated. The site is however prone to infection and if not treated, result in severe pain. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is helping Sarah receive treatment. On October 30th, surgeons will perform a debridement and skin graft procedure to this will eliminate the risk of infection. Now, Sarah needs help to fund this $1,129 procedure. “I would like to be a lawyer when I grow up,” says Sarah.
Kakada is sixteen years old and enjoys reading books, playing soccer, and listening to music. Since the age of five, Kakada started showing signs of a curve in his spine. Over time, the curve has worsened, and now the spine deformity causes difficulty breathing, sleeping, walking, and an overall uncomfortable life. Surgery will help to straighten out and realign his spine, allowing him to breath without difficulty and create a less straining posture while he walks, eliminating discomfort. Kakada's favorite subject in school is Khmer literature, and he hopes to become a doctor when he grows up. "I hope that after surgery, I will not have to worry about my son's spine getting any worse and I will be happy that he can return to his normal activities again." -Kakada's Mother
Jean is a mother of two from Haiti. She lives in a small city in southern Haiti with her husband and two young boys. Jean has a cardiac condition called rheumatic mitral regurgitation. One of the four valves in her heart has been severely damaged due to a rheumatic fever she suffered several years ago. Jean will fly to the United States to receive treatment. On September 11th, she will undergo cardiac surgery, during which surgeons will remove her damaged valve and implant an artificial replacement. Another organization, The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano, is contributing $35,000 to pay for surgery. Jean's 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 Jean's family overseas. "I am looking forward to this surgery so that I can play with my children and take care of them."
Than is a 57-year-old woman from Burma. She lives with her husband and her sister. Than was diagnosed with a heart condition that involves a malformation of the 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, Than has difficulty breathing and her heartbeat is fast. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund a mitral valve replacement for Than. The treatment is scheduled to take place on August 12 and, once completed, will hopefully allow her to live more comfortably.
Ar Kar is a 14-year-old boy from Burma. Currently, Ar Kar’s eyes are sensitive to light and bright lights hurt his eyes. He cannot see far and he sometimes has a headache. His mother has already noticed that Ar Kar’s eye is gradually getting bigger. His mother is worried that his eyes will continue to increase in size. Doctors want Ar Kar to undergo an MRI, an imaging procedure that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce images of bodily organs. This scan will hopefully help doctors diagnose his condition and formulate an appropriate treatment plan. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $814 to cover the cost of Ar Kar's MRI and care, scheduled for July 5.
Bernard is a casual laborer from Kenya. In April, he sustained injuries on his head, body, and both hands. He is in chronic pain and cannot use his hands. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner can help. On June 10, Bernard will undergo a fracture repair procedure, called an open reduction and internal fixation. This procedure will help him walk easily again. Now, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $998 to fund this procedure. “I am so desperate and would not like to become disabled. I hope to have my own family and so pray that I get help so that my hand can be well again,” says Bernard.
Hellen is a farmer from Kenya. She has seven children. Ten years ago, Hellen began to experience troubling symptoms, including coughs, difficulty breathing, and increased sweating. She was diagnosed with a toxic goiter. She needs surgery to prevent her symptoms from getting worse. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is helping Hellen receive treatment. She is scheduled to undergo a thyroidectomy on May 15 at our medical partner's care center. Surgeons will remove all or part of her thyroid gland. This procedure will cost $641, and she and her family need help raising money. Hellen says, “I am asking for your support so that I can get medication as well as surgery. This condition is making me weaker each day. My children still need my assistance."
Maung is a man fom Burma. Last week, Maung stepped on a hot charcoal and burned the toe on his left foot. He tried to treat himself with help from his neighbor, who cleaned the wound for him. However, his toe never healed. Maung visited a doctor, who told him that he would have to amputate his toe. The doctor referred him to our medical partner for help in accessing treatment. Currently, Maung is in a lot of pain. Fortunately, his surgery is scheduled for March 21. Our medical partner is requesting $1,500 to fund this procedure. He says, “When I recover, I will find work repairing umbrellas and shoes. That is something that I can do very well.”