AJ's Story

AJ joined Watsi on November 13th, 2015. Six years ago, AJ joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. AJ's most recent donation traveled 8,500 miles to support Rusen, a baby boy from Kenya, for life-changing brain surgery.


AJ has funded healthcare for 8 patients in 5 countries.

All patients funded by AJ

Rusen, a 19-month-old baby boy from Kenya, is the last-born in a family of five children. At the age of three months his head began increasing in size, and at six months his mother noticed that, unlike other children, Rusen could not do things such as sit down or hold his head up. Rusen was diagnosed with hydrocephalus - a condition involving the buildup of cerebrospinal fluid within the brain cavities - which was delaying his development. Rusen's head has been progressively increasing in size and he seems very irritable. A shunt insertion is required to treat Rusen's condition, so his parents were advised to seek specialized treatment. Unfortunately, due to a lack of finances, his parents opted not to seek out further treatment. Rusen’s parents are subsistence farmers and supplement their farming income with any casual work that they can get. The family lives in a single-room house and Rusen’s siblings are all in school and doing well. However, the family does not have any extra funds to spend on the medical attention that Rusen needs. Fortunately, the Bethany Kids mobile clinic outreach team spotted the family and urged them to come for treatment, which they did. But Rusen’s parents were only able to raise money for the bus ticket to get them to Bethany Kids, and therefore cannot raise the money required for the actual surgical care. With $615, Rusen's shunt insertion will be possible. During the operation, the shunt will be inserted into Rusen's head in order to divert excess fluid into other areas of his body. In doing so, Rusen's head will return to a normal size and he will no longer be at risk for the serious health complications, such as brain damage, associated with hydrocephalus. “We had given up all hope until we met with a team from Bethany Kids. We are more than happy to know that there are hopes for Rusen’s treatment,” shares Rusen’s mother.

Fully funded

Snow is a ten-year-old Burmese girl who lives in a refugee camp with her parents and older sisters. For the past eight years they have lived in the camp. Snow's family moved to the camp as they didn’t own their own home or land, and they were living with Snow’s grandmother and other members of the extended family. This situation influenced their decision to migrate to the refugee camp in Thailand. Snow and her family would like to relocate to a third country but they are uncertain whether the opportunity will present. In the camp, Snow’s mother does laundry for others for a small income. Previously her father worked as a carpenter but is unable to work now because of hemorrhoids. Their monthly income is insufficient for daily expenses, savings or health care expenses. Living in the camp, they receive food rations which offset the burden. At times the family has to borrow small amounts of money, which they repay when they can. Snow and her two sisters attend school. Symptoms first appeared with Snow when she was seven-years-old. She had severe pain in her abdomen when she was just sitting, and she was uncomfortable walking. After an examination at the camp's medical clinic, she was diagnosed with rectal polyps. On January 28th, the surgeon excised a rectal polyp. Snow’s mother didn’t receive information from the hospital regarding Snow’s diagnosis or treatment due to the language barrier. Snow was symptom-free for eight months but she had to return to the clinic on several occasions with the same symptoms. She was finally given a diagnosis of juvenile polyposis - marked by frequent recurrence of polyps in the colon and rectum with third degree internal hemorrhoids. $1500 will cover the cost of Snow's surgery to remove the additional polyps she now has. Although she is still going to school, Snow is unable to engage in active play and her appetite and sleep patterns have been disturbed. She likes to play with her dog and she enjoys singing and listening to music. "I would like to be a singer when I am older," Snow said. Let's help make it possible!

Fully funded

Beatriz is four months old, and is the only child to her two young parents in Guatemala. She lives with her parents and her maternal grandparents in a house made of wood with a tin roof. Her mother works taking care of Beatriz, and her father searches for wood in the nearby forest, which he then chops up to sell to others in the market. Although both of them work hard to give Beatriz the best they can, they do not make enough money to buy formula--they typically make only $2-$3 per day, just enough to buy basic food and water. Beatriz has fallen into acute malnutrition due to her mother's lack of breast milk. Her mother has been trying to improve her production by taking herbs and other supplements, but they have not given her enough milk to help Beatriz grow. Her mother has tried to help her daughter to stop crying by giving her sugar water to calm her down. Being fed sugar water instead of formula has weakened her immune system, making her get sick often, and putting her at risk of starvation and seizures due to the lack of calories and electrolytes. Although Beatriz is dangerously sick, treatment is simple. By supplying Beatrix with formula and the mother with health education, she will finally receive the calories she needs to grow and thrive. One-on-one education with her mother will prepare Beatriz for when she needs to start eating solid food, as well as help her mother watch for further signs of malnutrition and other illness. Beatriz’s immune system will strengthen and she will grow up to be a healthy energetic baby, and her risk of seizure, starvation and death will be greatly reduced. Her mother says, "I want my daughter to grow. She is small now, but I know she wants to grow."

Fully funded