Altay Guvench
Altay's Story

Altay joined Watsi on September 8th, 2014. 72 other people also joined Watsi on that day! Altay's most recent donation traveled 8,500 miles to support Francis, a student from Kenya, to treat undescended testis.


Altay has funded healthcare for 20 patients in 9 countries.

All patients funded by Altay

“I would like to be a pilot when I grow up,” says Francis, an 11-year-old boy from Kenya. “Francis is a brilliant primary school student who is in standard four. He meets you with a cheerful disposition and confidence for a child his age,” shares our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF). “Francis was sharp enough to notice that his left testicle was ‘missing,’” continues AMHF. “He mentioned it to his mother jokingly but she took it with seriousness.” Francis’ mother took him to the hospital where he was diagnosed with cryptorchidism—a condition in which one or both of the testicles fail to descend into the scrotal sac. “If not treated, Francis is likely to develop testicular cancer and/or hernia,” states AMHF. “He will also be at risk of infertility in the future,” and the condition has the potential to affect Francis’s self-esteem as well. In order to eliminate these risks, Francis requires single orchidopexy surgery. During this procedure, doctors will move the undescended testicle to the scrotal sac and fix it permanently in place. “With a menial income from subsistence farming and no external income, Francis’ parents are not able to raise the funds required for his surgery,” explains AMHF. “The family of three children resides in a two-room house in Central Kenya.” “Francis’s parents just want the best for their children,” says AMHF, and together we can help them achieve this by funding the $540 operation, which includes a three-day hospital stay and medication. “Francis is a very active child. If only I knew that he could have been treated, this would be far behind us now,” says Francis’ father. “But I am happy we are not very late to get him treatment. I don’t want anything affecting how my son views himself— I want him to have good self-esteem. I hope we get funding towards his treatment.”

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Darline is a 15-year-old student living in Haiti with her older sister’s family. Her sister is her primary caregiver. Darlene likes to listen to music and cook, and enjoys writing and drawing at school. Darlene has not gone to school for the past two years due to heart disease. Darline was diagnosed with a condition called severe mitral regurgitation, the result of an illness she suffered earlier in childhood. Her mitral valve does not function properly, allowing the abnormal leaking of blood backwards from the left ventricle, through the mitral valve, into the left atrium. People with mitral regurgitation often have symptoms of congestive heart failure, such as shortness of breath, pulmonary edema, painful breathing, fatigue, and swelling of the legs. "If left untreated, the condition could be fatal," shares our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance (HCA). Darline needs surgical intervention to repair or replace her mitral valve. However, this surgery is not safe to attempt in Haiti. HCA works to maintain a network of overseas referral hospitals in the United States, Canada, and elsewhere that are capable of accepting cases too complex to be attempted in-country. They organize not only the cost of the surgery, but also host family stay, airline fees, food, and travel insurance for the patient and parents for the duration of the medical care. Through HCA, $5,000 of the total cost has been subsidized by the Health City Cayman Islands, a medically advanced tertiary hospital located in Grand Cayman. HCA tells us that Charles’s family needs an additional $1,500 to complete payment for his surgery and stay abroad. Afterwards, Darline will have near-normal heart function with few to no cardiac symptoms. "I am a little bit afraid of having surgery but I know it will help me get better,” Darline shares. “I will be glad when it is over!"

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“We just pray that our son will get well, have the ability to breastfeed and continue with normal growth,” share Christian’s parents. Their baby boy, Christian, was born in last December in Tanzania. When he was just a few days old, his mother became alarmed when "he did not want to breastfeed at all,” says our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF). She also noticed that his abdomen was beginning to swell, and his skin was jaundiced. Soon after, “Christian was diagnosed with biliary obstruction secondary to choledochal cyst,” AMHF tells us. This means that Christian’s bile ducts, which carry digestive fluids from the liver to the intestines, are blocked. “This biliary obstruction has to be removed to prevent too much toxic bile [from building up] in the blood,” AMHF tells us. Christian needs a mass excision operation to un-block his bile duct. However, his parents cannot afford to pay for this procedure on their own. Christian’s mother recently had to quit her job to bring her ailing infant on frequent hospital visits, leaving the four-person family reliant on their father’s single income as a van driver. “The little that Christian’s father earns is not enough to cover their basic needs as well as the cost of operation which their son badly needs,” AMHF says. Fortunately, with $920 we can help Christian get the care he urgently needs. This sum will cover the surgery to remove the choledocal cyst blocking Christian’s bile ducts, as well as a six-week stay for the baby afterwards at a recovery center. After this procedure, “Christian’s liver will function well, allowing adequate bile flow to the intestine. Hence, no more toxins and Christian will feed well and continue with normal growth,” says AMHF.

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Carlos is a one-year-old boy who lives with his parents, grandparents, and older brother in Guatemala. He likes eating soup made from beans and eggs and enjoys playing with his toy ball. About two months ago, Carlos began having multiple seizures daily. Doctors at our medical partner, Wuqu’ Kawoq (WK), diagnosed Carlos with epilepsy, a seizure disorder resulting from abnormal electrical activity in the brain. An estimated 65 million people in the world have epilepsy, and in most cases the cause is unknown. “Carlos is also a little low in both weight and height for his age,” explains WK. “Our staff believe anti-convulsion medication will also help him maintain those calories he has been expending while seizing, and will therefore help him gain some weight and grow better as well.” Carlos’s mother weaves blouses to sell at the market, but she has stopped leaving home for fear of Carlos having a seizure. The family must depend on the income his father earns from cutting and selling wood and working as a helper on a public bus. The family does not own any land and can barely afford their basic necessities, leaving no money to pay for Carlos’s care. For $967, Carlos will receive medication to control his seizures and blood work to identify other potential health issues. “He will start to gain some more weight, because he will be able to preserve the calories he is currently using during convulsions,” says WK. “His mother will not have to worry about working while he is around, because he will not be at risk for seizing often.” “My dream for the future is that he grows healthy and strong,” shares Carlos’s mother. “He is my reason to live.”

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Meet Cristian, a one-year-old baby boy from Guatemala. “When Cristian came to us, we immediately recognized that he was suffering from acute malnutrition,” reports our medical partner, Wuqu’ Kawoq (WK). “His mother reports he has periodic diarrhea and is not growing as well as his neighbors. Indeed his height and weight are far below the average for his age, and he is lagging developmentally behind his peers.” “Where Cristian’s family lives, food security is a large issue, as many families do not have alternative options to earn higher incomes,” says WK. “Cristian’s parents strive to create the best lives possible for their children, but with a third baby on the way, Cristian’s mother worries they will not have enough money to supply them with the food they need to thrive.” The effects of Cristian’s malnutrition are persistent. “Insufficient intake due to food insecurity, and excessive output due to parasitic disease or bacterial infection prevent Cristian from absorbing the nutrients necessary to grow developmentally and physically,” explains WK. “Without intervention, this will affect Cristian’s ability to build a strong immune system, thus increasing his susceptibility to other illnesses.” For $535.00, Cristian can receive comprehensive treatment for acute malnutrition, which will allow him to avoid its permanent effects. “He will recoup the weight and height he has lost and begin to catch up developmentally to his peers. Deworming medication will remove the parasitic infection causing his diarrhea, and he will have the chance to grow to his full potential,” says WK. “He will receive nutritional support, thus allowing his brain to grow and develop normally. His mother will be given the educational tools to prevent malnutrition in her new baby and older son, as well as to continue Cristian’s treatment.” “I just want my children to have the option of a better future,” shares Cristian’s mother. “I could see my child was not growing, and I am so thankful that you have taken notice and want to help him.” WK adds: “With Watsi donor support, we believe this child will fully recover.”

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