Stephen joined Watsi on February 2nd, 2016. Five years ago, Stephen joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Stephen's most recent donation traveled 6,500 miles to support Panna, an 11-year-old student from Cambodia, to fund a myringoplasty procedure so he can communicate clearly.
Stephen has funded healthcare for 37 patients in 8 countries.
Stephen has funded healthcare for 37 patients in 8 countries.
Panna is an 11-year-old student in fourth grade. He's an only child; his mother is a factory worker, and his father is a tuk-tuk driver. One year ago, Panna had an ear infection. This infection caused the tympanic membrane, or the eardrum, in his right ear to perforate. For this reason, Panna experiences pain, hearing loss, and ear discharge. He cannot attend school due to infections and pain. He also has difficulty hearing and communicating clearly with others. Panna traveled to our medical partner's care center to receive treatment. On September 13th, he will undergo a myringoplasty procedure in his right ear. During this procedure, surgeons will close the perforation. Our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, is requesting $464 to fund this procedure. This covers medications, supplies, and inpatient care. This support will help him feel confident and participate in class once he returns to school. Panna hopes that his ear will stop the infection and improve his hearing loss.
Emily is a kind 26-year-old woman who recently got engaged to her childhood friend. She is the fourth born in a family of 7 and lives with both of her parents. One day in 2008, Emily started to experience severe abdominal pains. The pains kept increasing and she could not pass stool. On the third day, her parents rushed her the hospital where a diagnosis of bowel obstruction was made. She was taken to the operating room and had an ileostomy done as a temporary treatment for the bowel obstruction. An ileostomy is an opening in the abdominal wall that is made during surgery, part of the small intestines are diverted through an opening in the abdomen called a stoma. A special bag is placed over the stoma to collect fecal matter that are unable to pass through the colon out of the body. An ileostomy is reversible since it is only made to provide a temporary passage for the release of stools out of the body while allowing healing of the operated part of the intestines/ bowels. Emily was scheduled for ileostomy reversal in July 2008 and the parents took her back to the hospital where she was admitted. She was later discharged home and the surgery rescheduled since the there were many patients in the waiting list. She has since had more than 7 admissions for the procedure but each time she is discharged and the surgery rescheduled. They kept going to the hospital and in 2011 they gave up since they were not getting help and had already spent a lot on transport and meals. Emily eventually dropped out of school due to discrimination and the stigma associated with the condition. She now uses cheap thin plastic papers as stoma bags as the family cannot afford to buy the all the bags due to financial constraints. She has grown to live with this condition. Despite all that has been in her way, Emily is still very hard working and earns a living from washing clothes at people's homes. This enables her to buy the plastic bags for the stoma. Often, she runs out of money to buy the bags and is forced to stay indoors. Recently, one of their neighbors had a thyroidectomy done at Partners in Hope Hospital under a special program and urged her parents to bring her for assessment. The surgeon reviewed her and indicated that the condition can still be corrected through laparotomy where an ileostomy reversal will be done. This surgery will greatly improve Emily’s life, restore her dignity as a human being and remove the emotional pain and torture that Emily has lived with the past 13 years. Her parents are seeking financial support to help their daughter undergo the surgery. “I remember that when I was young, I used to use the bathroom normally in the pit latrine. I pray that one day I will be able to use the toilet again. I hope that when I get married I will be like all other women and will not have to embarrass my husband with this condition," shared Emily with a shy smile on her face.
Pel is a young mother who lives with her husband, mother-in-law, and three sons in a refugee camp. She and her mother-in-law work at home and her husband is a nurse at the hospital in their refugee camp. Before her vision worsened, she used to weave traditional Karen bags like ones for her sons to use as school bags once they are old enough to attend. Now, Pel is no longer able to see faces and can only make out shapes. When she walks, she will often hit her toes against stones in her path, and when she moves around in her home, she will often hit her head on the door frame. She now needs someone to help guide her when she walks. Pel's mother-in-law moved in after she gave birth to her six-month-old son, since Pel could no longer see her baby's face at that point. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund lens replacement surgery for Pel. On October 14th, doctors will perform a lens replacement, during which they will remove Pel's natural lenses and replace them with an intraocular lens implant in each eye. After recovery, she will be able to see clearly. Now, Pel needs help to fund this $1,500 procedure. She said, “I really want to see my baby’s face and I am excited to see him after my surgery. Thank you so much to the donors who will help me receive treatment. I know my family could never afford to pay for my treatment.”
Nkwikaize is a 60-year-old woman and a married mother of eight children. She and her husband live alone, and all of their children are married. They earn a living from small scale farming. For a year, Nkwikaize has been experiencing lower abdominal pain, backaches, and vaginal bleeding. It is difficult for her to bend over or to stand for long periods of time and her condition has affected her ability to farm. After examination, she was diagnosed with a premalignant cervical lesion and surgery was recommended. If not treated, she is at risk of cervical cancer. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), is helping Nkwikaize to receive treatment. On July 6th, she will undergo a hysterectomy, or a procedure in which surgeons will remove her uterus. Once recovered, Nkwikaize will be able to resume her daily activities free of pain. Now, AMH is requesting $219 to cover the cost of Nkwikaize's procedure and care. Nkwikaize shared, “I pray that the Lord make a way for me through you people so that I may receive my surgery to have a healthy life. I hope once it's well, I will be able to resume farming.”
Victor is a newborn baby and the youngest child in a family of six children. His parents are both casual laborers who sell groceries for a living. When Victor and his mom arrived home from the hospital after his birth, he was crying often and his mother and aunt became concerned. They examined him and noticed that his stomach was swollen and he was not able to pass his stool. Upon examination, he was scheduled for an urgent colostomy surgery the next day. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH) is helping Victor to receive treatment. On August 11th, he will undergo surgery at AMH's care center. Now, AMH is requesting $1,152 to fund Victor's life-saving procedure and care. Victor’s mother shared, “Victor’s condition is a big blow to us. It’s new to us and what’s worrying is that he cannot survive without surgery being done and we are not in a position to cater for that.”
Lomnyak is a 5-year-old boy and the fourth born child in a family of five children. Lomnyaki and his siblings live with their mother, as their father left and doesn't offer support. His mother does not currently work as she is taking care of their family and she shared how challenging it was as they do not have livestock nor a place to farm. They are doing their best to get through a challenging living situation. Lomnyak was born with spina bifida, a type of neural tube defect in which the spine does not properly close around the spinal cord. Without treatment, Lomnyak is at risk of lower-limb paralysis, infection of the exposed nervous tissue, development of tethered cord syndrome, and possible developmental delays. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,015 to cover the cost of Lomnyak's spina bifida closure surgery. The procedure is scheduled to take place on April 19th. This procedure will hopefully spare Lomnyak from the risks associated with his condition, instead allowing him to grow and develop along a healthy trajectory. Lomnyak’s mother shared, "I didn’t know that this condition was life-threatening but I suspected it to be the cause of my son not being able to stand nor walk. Please help him get this surgery."
Mukirirehe is a small scale farmer from Uganda. She is a widow and a mother to four children; three daughters and one son. All of her children are married and are now farmers as well. She lost her husband in 1999 and has been able to raise and support all of her children through her farming. Mukirirehe normally grows food crops like maize, cassava, and beans for home consumption, selling off any extra to generate an income. Fifteen years ago, Mukirirehe began to experience troubling symptoms, including difficulty in breathing, shortness of breath whenever it’s cold, and persistent headaches. Doctors have diagnosed her with a goiter, an abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland. Mukirirehe needs surgery to prevent her symptoms from getting worse. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is helping Mukirirehe receive treatment. She is scheduled to undergo a thyroidectomy on December 8th at our medical partner's care center. Surgeons will remove all or part of her thyroid gland. This procedure will cost $252, and she and her family need help raising money. Mukirirehe shared, “I really have faith and feel that once my surgery goes on well, I will be able to continue with farming and have a new life again.”
Salmani is a six-month-old baby from Tanzania and the second born in his family. His parents live in Arusha where they are both subsistence farmers. Salmani was born healthy, but at the age of three months, Salmani’s mother observed that his head size looked abnormal. His neck was not as strong as a 3-month-old, and she felt his other body parts were somewhat weak. As a result of his condition, Salmani has been experiencing an increasing head circumference and inability to sit on his own. His mother took him to Mount Meru Hospital and they referred their family to Watsi's Medical Partner Care Center ALMC Hospital for treatment. She decided she had to wait to go because they could not afford to proceed with Salmani's treatment, doctor’s visits, or the tests required. Later on, they heard about Watsi's ALMC-The Plaster House program and how children with disabilities are able to be supported. Salmani's parents wish to see him be able to sit, walk one day, and also to see his head size return back to normal. Salmani has been diagnosed with hydrocephalus, a condition in which excess cerebrospinal fluid accumulates in the brain and increases intracranial pressure. Without treatment, Salmani will experience severe physical and developmental delays. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,300 to cover the cost of surgery for Salmani that will treat his hydrocephalus. The procedure is scheduled to take place on December 14th and will drain the excess fluid from Salmani's brain. This will reduce intracranial pressure and greatly improve his quality of life. With proper treatment, Salmani will hopefully develop into a strong, healthy young boy. Salmani’s mother shared, “Please help my son get this treatment so that we can save his life and he can be able to play like other children.”
Kupha is a 45-year-old woman from Kenya and has six children. In 2014, Kupha started experiencing some pain in her upper jaw. After some time, her jaw started to swell and the pain worsened. Both cold and hot food triggered pain that would last day and night. She went to a nearby facility in Kwale County to seek care, and was given some pain medication that worked for a while. She later returned for a surgery to remove the swollen tissue. Though she recovered well, the following year, Kupha started experiencing pain and swelling again. Upon returning to the same facility for a checkup, the doctor told her that no further treatment could be done. A few years later, Kupha heard about Kijabe Hospital and came for an examination in January 2020. The doctors diagnosed her with a benign maxillary mass and scheduled her for an excision surgery. During the surgery, they will put in a plate and screws to hold together her maxillar. However, Kupha and her family are not able to raise funds needed for the surgery. After the death of her husband a few years ago, Kupha has been struggling to provide for her six children. Her firstborn son is the main breadwinner of the family and also attends college, partially sponsored by the county government of Kwale. He does some casual jobs when he is not in class to feed the family, and also facilitates his mother's hospital visits. Kupha was able to raise some money for her treatment, but she does not have enough financial support and appeals for help. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $1,500 to cover the cost of Kupha's surgery. The procedure is scheduled to take place on October 15th and will be a ten hour long surgery. Hopefully, this treatment will alleviate her of further severe pain and swelling. Kupha shared, “With the pain that I have endured over the years, it has made it difficult for me to look for work and provide for my family. I will be happy when I receive the required treatment for my condition.”
Min lives with his wife, son, and daughter in a village in Tak Province, Thailand. He moved from Burma to Thailand nine months ago in search of better job opportunities. His daughter is still too young to go to school and his wife and son work as day laborers on a farm, each earning 150 baht (approx. 5 USD) per day. Min had to stop working with his wife and son three months ago because of his condition. Their monthly household income of 3,000 baht (approx. 100 USD) is not enough to cover their daily expenses. Sometimes, they have to borrow money from their relatives to meet their basic needs. Four years ago, Min used to work as a construction worker in Bangkok. One day, he started to experience pain in the left side of his abdomen. He went to a clinic twice and was diagnosed with a kidney stone in his left kidney after receiving an ultrasound. The doctor told him that he would need to undergo laser treatment at a hospital to break up the stone. The next day, Min went to a hospital in Bangkok. He received another ultrasound and underwent laser treatment which he did not have to pay for because he had health insurance at that time. When he returned for his follow-up appointment, he underwent another round of laser treatment, followed by more oral medications to take home. Min was not able to return to the hospital because his father passed away before his next appointment and he had to go back to Burma for the funeral. Before he had a chance to return to Bangkok, his mother also passed away. After spending money on the two funerals, Min did not have enough money to return to Bangkok. He moved back in with his wife and children and started working as a day laborer on a farm with his wife in their village. In May 2019, Min started experiencing pain again in his left lower abdomen. He would also pass small stones about twice a month while urinating. He went to a clinic where he received oral medication as well as an ultrasound. The doctor told him that he has a stone in his left kidney as well as small stones in his urethra. Min went back to the same clinic several times for his follow-up appointments, where he received oral medication each time for his abdominal pain. By September 2019, he was feeling much better and was no longer in pain. He was also no longer passing stones when urinating. Min then stopped going back to the clinic and stopped taking medication. Later in December 2019, Min and his family moved to their current home in Thailand and in May 2020, the pain in Min’s lower abdomen returned. He has pain when urinating and has started to pass small stones again about every two weeks. He went to a local hospital in the beginning of May with his wife, and he received an ultrasound. The ultrasound showed that he now has stones in both of his kidneys in addition to a bladder stone. The doctor referred him to Mae Sot Hospital (MSH) for treatment, but his family was not able to afford the estimated cost so he returned home. At home, Min told his friend about his condition and his lack of funds to pay for it. His friend told him to seek help at Mae Tao Clinic (MTC) and with Watsi's Medical Parter Burma Children Medical Fund. Surgery is now scheduled for August 14th. Min shared, “I had to sell my phone to pay for my treatment [the ultrasounds and oral medications] and my transportation when I sought treatment. For the past few days, we don’t have enough rice and we also don’t have any money to buy more food. So we have to eat rice porridge. I feel so sad for my family.”
Blessed is a 7-year-old boy from Kenya. Blessed’s parents are both casual laborers and his mother stopped working so that she could take care of Blessed. His father is not able to raise enough as his work is not reliable. Blessed underwent an earlier colostomy procedure, in which the end of the colon is brought through an opening in the abdominal wall. This surgery is often performed to bypass bowel malformations, but colostomies are usually temporary and may need closure. In Blessed's case, his colostomy requires closure in order to restore bowel function and prevent future complications. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $681 to cover the cost of a colostomy closure for Blessed. The surgery is scheduled to take place on June 12th and, once completed, will hopefully allow him to live more comfortably and confidently. Blessed’s mother says, “I just can’t wait to see Blessed treated and playing like other kids.”
Sopha is a 22-year-old teacher from Cambodia. She has two brothers and five sisters. When she has free time, she enjoys reading, listening to music, and cooking. Five months ago, Sopha fell off a motorcycle and fractured her left forearm. She received initial treatment at a nearby hospital, however she still experiences swelling and pain in her wrist. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, can help. On February 25th, Sopha will undergo a fracture repair procedure, which will cost $465. Treatment will help Sopha's fractured arm to heal properly and allow her to use her arm normally again. "I hope that my arm will no longer have any pain and swelling, and the fracture will heal so that I can return to work," Sopha said.