Bruce joined Watsi on July 25th, 2014. Six years ago, Bruce became the 269th member to automatically support a new Watsi patient every month. Since then, 5,681 more people have become monthly donors! Bruce's most recent donation traveled 8,300 miles to support Daw Ei, a woman from Burma, to fund cardiac surgery.
Bruce has funded healthcare for 72 patients in 11 countries.
Daw Ei is a 48-year-old woman from Burma. She lives with her husband, mother, two daughters, son, and daughter-in-law in Yangon. Her husband is a security guard, her mother is retired, and her daughter-in-law is a homemaker. Her eldest daughter works in a factory, her other daughter is a student, and her son works as a mason. Daw Ei used to work as a shop vender herself but had to stop three years ago due to her health problem. Daw Ei 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, Daw Ei suffers from chest pains, feels tired and cannot walk long distances. Sometimes, she has no appetite. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund a mitral valve replacement for Daw Ei. The treatment is scheduled to take place on June 14th and, once completed, will hopefully allow her to live more comfortably. Daw Ei said, “I’m worried about my health problem. Also, I’ve spent all my money on [seeking] treatment and I had to borrow 300,000 kyat (approx. 300 USD) from my daughter’s friend. I want to be cured.”
Htay is a 45-year-old woman who lives with her husband and three daughters in Thae Phyu Village in Burma. Htay and her husband run a small shop selling betel nut and general groceries beside their home, however she has been unable to work due to her heart condition for the past year. Htay’s oldest daughter used to work at a factory in Yangon, but moved back home last year when Htay became too ill to wok. She now helps out at Htay’s shop while also helping with household chores. Htay’s other two daughters are students; one is in grade 10 and the other is in grade four. After she gave birth to her last daughter, Htay began to experience frequent pain in her chest and headaches. Whenever she would lay down, she also felt like she could not breathe well. She then went to Htantabin General Hospital in Yangon where she received an electrocardiogram (ecg). Later, the doctor told her that she has arthritis and Ischemic heart disease, a condition where an organ does not receive enough blood and oxygen. She was given medication and returned home. Htay said, “This medication seemed to help my condition and I continued to buy it from the pharmacy.” In February 2020, Htay’s condition deteriorated again; she felt like she could not breathe and that she was exhausted all the time. Htay and her husband went to Thiri Sandar Hospital in Yangon where she received x-rays and an echo. After checking her results, the doctor told her that she has a large hole in her heart and that she would need to have it closed surgically. Currently, Htay has difficulty breathing, mostly at night, and she feels tired especially when she uses the upstairs. She also has a rapid heartbeat. Htay told us, “I am worried about my condition and I am very sad whenever I think about it. But now I am happy to have found someone to help support my treatment. Once I have fully recovered, I will build a new shop [made of bamboo] because my old shop is starting to fall apart. I will also go back to working with my husband and I will support my children so that they can become educated people.”
Robert is a casual laborer from Kenya. Robert works as a construction site worker in the capital while his wife takes up jobs such as laundry services. The father of two lives in a two-roomed house, paying $31 per month. They share bathroom amenities in a pro-poor home of the city. Robert walked to our facility in the late hours of 22 April 2020, with complaints of Achilles tendon injury. A week ago, he was bathing in their shared bathroom when he slid and his right foot got stuck by the toilet bowl sustaining the injury. Without treatment, Robert might not be able to walk with ease again and risks further wound infections. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is helping Robert receive treatment. On April 23rd, surgeons will treat his Achillies injury and perform a debridement and skin graft procedure. Following treatment, he will be able to walk so he can return home and care for his family. Now, Robert needs help to fund this $1,129 procedure. Robert says, “Thank you for expressing a wish to support me. I did not have money for the motel lodge last night and do not have any money for the planned surgery. God bless you.”
Mya Mya is a 40-year-old-woman who lives and work with her elder sister for a herbal medicine production workshop in Sanchaung Township, Yangon Division in Burma. They are originally from Bago Division and moved a few years ago. Since Mya Mya was 18 years old she has felt bronchial asthma and suffered from difficulty breathing. Sometimes she feels severely tired. She went to a health worker at her village and the health worker told her to go and see heart specialist in Yangon. However, at that time she did not have money to go to Yangon, so she did not go. She has only used herbal medicine for treating difficulty breathing since she was 18-year-old, which did help her feel better. For the last four months at night she has severe difficulty breathing, so she woke her sister up and asked her sister to send her to a private clinic called Yaung Chi Oo in Yangon. After the doctor's examination, she was told her that she needs to go and see heart specialist doctor. Then the doctor gave her an injection and some oral medication. Then, she went to Thiri Sandar Private Hospital on January 31, 2020 where she received an echocardiogram. The doctor told her that she has heart disease and she needs surgery. On February 5, Mya Mya went to Kan Thar Yar Hospital (KTYH) as suggested by the doctor at Thiri Sandar Hospital. The doctor at KTYH performed another echo before diagnosing her with large ventricular septal defect (VSD). The doctor at KTYH also told her that she needs surgery. Unfortunately, Mya Mya and her family cannot afford to pay for the surgery. After talking to the nurses and doctor about her problem, the nurses who know Watsi Partner Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF) refered her to BCMF. Mya May needs to stop working because of her tiredness. She is worried about her parents because if she cannot work. She shared, "If I recover from my disease, I need to work for my parents, to support them.”
Soe is a father of three children from Thailand. He and his family relocated to a refugee camp in 2007 due to conflict between armed groups around their village. Although his family receives a small ration at the camp, it is not enough, so Soe does gardening and farming at a nearby Thai village to bring extra income for his family. Whenever Soe has free time, he loves to play cane ball or helps his wife with their household chores. On January 11th, when Soe was coming home from work with his friend on his friend's motorbike, the brakes failed when they were going downhill. The accident caused a fracture in the small bone located in front of his right knee joint. He is in pain and it is difficult for him to walk without using crutches. With the help of our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, Soe will undergo surgery to reset his fractured bones and ensure proper healing. The procedure is scheduled for February 20th and will cost $1,500. After this treatment, Soe will be able walk again without any assistant devices. This will also allow him to get back to work so he can provide for his family. Soe said, “I am desperate to be able walk again and work for my children. I cannot imagine how life would turn out if I could not walk anymore.”
Meet Brian: a four year old boy, he second and last born in his family. Brian recently graduated from pre-school and is to join middle-class this year which he is extremely happy about. His mother told us that he likes carpentry work. “Whenever Brian sees a hammer and nails, he will utilize them to the maximum," his mother told us. The family hails from Maji Mazuri village, Eldama Ravine town in Nakuru county. His mother is a housewife while the father is a farmer. Brian was born with a condition known as genu valgus on his right side. His mother thought he was suffering from rickets and went to a nearby hospital where they were referred to Watsi partner CURE hospital for specialized care. Brian is unable to walk well; his right foot knocks the left and thus hinders his mobility. Surgery will be of great help to him as it will help him walk and he will be able to continue with his studies without any difficulty. The family has applied to the National Health Insurance Fund for funding several times, but all were rejected. “I am kindly seeking for support to help my child undergo surgery,” Brian’s mother told us.
About six months ago, Thidar started to feel very tired and could not sleep well due to difficulty breathing. After multiple tests and blood tranfusions, Thidar was diagnosed with mitral valve stenosis, mitral valve regurgitation, aortic valve stenosis, and aortic valve regurgitation. Seeing that both of her heart valves need to be replaced surgically, the doctor told her, “You have a heart problem and you must undergo surgery as soon as possible.” When Thidar told him that she cannot afford to pay for surgery, the doctor told her about a monk who lives just outside of Yangon and who might be able to help her. She was given his phone number and when she called the monk, he referred her to Watsi partner Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF) for assistance in accessing the treatment she needs. Currently, Thidar feels very tired and has no energy to walk long distances. She cannot sleep well, and she has no appetite. She said, “In the future, I will stay in my village and look out for my family. I would like to send my children to school until they graduate.”
Meet Nicodemus a 14 year-old boy. He is social and likes inventing new things. Nicodemus is the 4th born in a family of 5 children. He is class 8 candidate at Daystar Primary School in Athi River. The family hails from Athi River in Machakos County. His mother is a vendor and widowed. She sells porridge and chapatis in the construction sites. His mother noticed a sudden change in his walking style last year. Nicodemus also complained of his knees knocking each other a situation which was giving him a rough time to walk and play with her friends at school. He currently feels pain as he walks as the left knee knock the right. He is currently using crutches to walk and his condition is worsening. “I would love to walk like other people, I am not comfortable with walking using crutches and I would like to achieve my passion of becoming an engineer. Any kind of support will be highly appreciated.” Nicodemus informed us.
Leah is a housewife from Kenya. She is married with three children. Leah is a housewife but sometimes she does casual work at neighbor’s farms or washing clothes for them. The husband is a casual laborer at construction sites but their income is not much. One year ago, Leah has been experiencing heavy abdominal bleeding. She has been diagnosed with uterine fibroids. She needs to undergo a hysterectomy, a procedure in which surgeons will remove her uterus. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $718 to fund Leah's surgery. On October 09, she will undergo gynecological surgery at our medical partner's care center. Once recovered, Leah will be able to resume her daily activities free of pain. “I have suffered a lot with this bleeding and it is making it hard to serve my family and to join other friends. Kindly support me so that I can be well again to take care of my family,” said Leah.
She lives with her parents in Karen State, Burma. She now works at Kyaw Hta Rural Clinic, 45 minutes away by motorbike from her village and earns 70,000 Kyat (approx. 70 USD) per month. Her parents are farmers and their total income is 100,000 kyat (approx. 100 USD) per month. Their income is just enough for their daily needs. Around eight years ago, Cherry developed pain in the right side of her abdomen. She went to the clinic near her village. At the clinic, the medic thought that she was suffering from normal stomachaches. Since the clinic did not have the necessary equipment to run diagnostic tests, the medic treated her for the pain. She received pain killers and when the pain was worse, a stronger does of pain killers through an injection. In May 2019, she was completing her training with Mae Tao Clinic (MTC), when the pain in her abdomen became worse. She received an ultrasound and painkillers at the clinic, before she was diagnosed with a renal stone in her right kidney. MTC then referred her to Mae Sot Hospital (MSH) for further investigation and treatment. At the hospital, she received an X-ray, ultrasound and a blood test, as well as oral medication for the pain. After checking her results, the doctor confirmed her diagnosis and told her that she needs to receive laser treatment two to three times, to break up the stone in her kidney. She received her first round of laser treatment on 7 August 2019. To pay for that, she had to borrow money from her supervisor and her neighbor. She was scheduled to undergo a second round of treatment on 18 September 2019, but she could no longer afford to pay. Luckily, MTC referred her to Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF) for assistance in accessing further treatment. Currently, Cherry still has pain in the right side of her abdomen. She is interested in the field of medicine and enjoys learning new things related to this field in her free time.
Toem is a 55-year-old taxi driver from Cambodia. He has five children and enjoys watching boxing and soccer on television. One year ago, Toem 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, Toem experiences hearing loss, pain, tinnitus, ear discharge, headaches, and vertigo. He has a difficult time communicating and understanding others. Toem traveled to our medical partner's care center to receive treatment. On July 8, he will undergo a mastoidectomy procedure in his right ear. During this procedure, ENT surgeons will remove the cholesteatoma. Our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, is requesting $842 to fund this procedure. This covers medications, supplies, and inpatient care. He says, "I hope that after my surgery my hearing and will improve and all my other symptoms will go away."
Ngwe is a 72-year-old retired widow from Burma. She lives with her daughter, her son-in-law, and her two grandsons. Ngwe has an abdominal mass that causes her discomfort. Ngwe sought treatment through our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund. She is now scheduled to undergo mass removal surgery on July 5. She is requesting $1,500 to cover the total cost of her procedure and care.