Michelle joined Watsi on January 31st, 2017. Six years ago, Michelle joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Michelle's most recent donation supported Saw Myo, a 14-year-old boy from Burma, to fund surgery to remove a spinal tumor so he can live without pain and go to school.
Michelle has funded healthcare for 55 patients in 12 countries.
Michelle has funded healthcare for 55 patients in 12 countries.
Saw Myo is a 14-year-old boy from Burma. He lives with his grandparents, parents, two sisters and a brother in a village in Karen State in eastern Burma. His grandparents are retired, and his father is a farmer who grows paddy and rubber trees on their own land. Saw Myo’s mother is a homemaker, while his two sisters and his brother go to school. The family income is just enough to cover their daily expenses. They cannot afford to pay for basic healthcare. Saw Myo used to go to school but stopped attending since his condition worsened in 2021. Saw Myo has had a lump at his lower spinal cord since he was nine years old, when he was hit by a slingshot in that area. He was given a medicinal ointment by a traditional healer which appeared to stop the lump from growing and helped with the stiffness temporarily. When Saw Myo was 12 years old, he fell off of his bicycle. He did not have any cuts or bruises but felt stiffness along his spinal cord. Afterwards, the lump appeared to be growing in size again. He was seen at a local clinic and then at a clinic in Hpa-An in January 2021, where he had an X-ray. The doctor suspected a spinal cord problem, so they encouraged Saw Myo and his mother to follow up with a computerized tomography (CT) scan at the Yangon Orthopedic Hospital in Yangon. Due to Covid-19, Saw Myo was unable to get in for a CT scan. Saw Myo’s parents did not want to give up, so they went to the Asia Royal Hospital, also in Yangon. Again, they were told that Saw Myo’s condition could not be treated locally. Finally, they returned to their home without receiving treatment. Saw Myo’s mother then contacted a medic who works at Mae Tao Clinic (MTC) in Mae Sot, Thailand, who is originally from their village. The medic told her to bring Saw Myo to the clinic as soon as possible. They spent the next few months trying to raise money, borrowing from family and neighbours. Doctors recommended Saw Myo to undergo an MRI, an imaging procedure that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce images of bodily organs. After analyzing the MRI, the doctors recommended Saw Myo undergo surgery to remove the tumor on his back. The tumor is cancerous, and Saw Myo will need to undergo chemotherapy after his surgery. Currently, Saw Myo is suffering a lot. He has to be careful when sitting because his whole back along his spinal cord is painful if he does not sit down slowly, and he can only sit for short periods of time before his back begins to ache. The lump is not painful to touch, but when he lays down on his right side, he has to support the lump with a pillow, making it difficult for him to sleep. He also has backpain if he has to walk for more than 15 minutes. Saw Myo sought treatment through our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund. He is now scheduled to undergo mass removal surgery on November 24th and his family needs $1,500 to cover the cost of his procedure and care. Saw Myo said, "I enjoy going to school and my favourite subject is mathematics. I hope that I will be able to go to school after my treatment. I would also like to raise chickens and cows to help my family in the future."
Naanyo is a nine year old girl who lives with a small and loving family, consisting of her parents and two siblings. When she is not in school, she enjoys watching television and helping her mother to cook, wash and fetch water. She told us that also has fun playing with her school friends, especially when she pretends to be a police woman. When Naanyo was two years old, she was in an accident that resulted in burns on her left hand. She was treated at a local dispensary, and was sent home. However, after the burns healed, Naanyo developed burn scar contractures, which make it difficult for her to move her hand. Her parents were unaware that the contractures could be treated, until on a recent visit to a doctor, they were informed that surgical intervention could resolve Naanyo's condition. The doctor helped the family travel to Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre, where Naanyo was assessed and scheduled for surgery, which will take place on October 12th. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is here to help Naanyo access the care that she needs, despite the fact that her parents can't afford the $874 required for the surgery. They are appealing to you to help cover the cost of this procedure, which will make such a difference in Naanyo's life. Naanyo’s mother says: "We did not know that our child’s condition is treatable, but it is better being late than never.”
Nancy is a small-scale farmer from Kenya. Together with her elderly husband, they grow food crops for home use on their half-acre piece of land. She is a mother of eight children who are all adults. All her children don’t have a stable source of income at the moment. She needs care but does not have medical coverage and hasn't been able to raise the required amount for treatment. In early July this year, Nancy was tripped by her dog and fell on a stone, hurting the left side of her hip. She sustained a left sub-trochanteric fracture that is making her immobile. This is a fracture of the proximal femur located a few centimeters from the hip. She was taken to a nearby health facility and had an x-ray done after review. She was then referred to our medical partner's care center Kijabe Hospital for surgery. She is unable to walk and is currently using a wheelchair and although jovial and smiling, she is in pain. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner can help. On September 30th, Nancy will undergo a fracture repair procedure, called an open reduction and internal fixation. This procedure will relieve her of her pain and help her walk easily again. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,500 to fund this procedure. Nancy says, “I am unable to walk. I am desperate, and also struggling to pay for my treatment. I need this treatment to be able to get out of this wheelchair.”
Rodjana is a creative three-year-old girl from Haiti who lives in Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital city, with her parents and three older siblings. She currently attends preschool and enjoys drawings and making crafts. Rodjana has several cardiac conditions. She has a heart valve that does not adequately allow blood to be pumped through her body, as well as a hole between two blood vessels near her heart. Fortunately, Rodjana will fly to the Dominican Republic to receive cardiac treatment on September 7th. There, surgeons will repair the faulty valve and close the hole near her heart. A portion of the cost of her treatment is being supported by Haiti Cardiac Alliance. Rodjana's family needs help raising the remaining $1,500, which covers labs, medication, and travel costs. Once completed, this procedure will hopefully allow her to live more comfortably and confidently. Rodjana's mother says, "I am hopeful that after this surgery, my daughter will be able to play normally and be more active."
Sarai is a sweet and friendly three-year-old girl from Bolivia who has Down syndrome. She lives in a small indigenous community in the mountains of central Bolivia with her parents, who are both farmers, and her five siblings. She is a friendly little girl who loves making new friends and blowing kisses to everyone she meets! Sarai was born with an atrial septal defect, a cardiac condition in which a hole exists between the two upper chambers of the heart. Blood leaks through this hole instead of flowing properly through her body, leaving her feeling weak and short of breath. Fortunately, Sarai is scheduled to undergo heart surgery on July 28th with the support of our long-standing medical partner Haiti Cardiac Alliance, which is now growing and expanding into Bolivia. Surgeons will close the hole with a patch, allowing blood to properly flow through her body and improving her quality of life. Another organization, Gift of Life International, is contributing $2,500 to pay for a portion of Sarai's procedure costs. Our medical partner is requesting $1,500 to cover the remaining costs, which cover surgical expenses, cardiac exams, medications, and travel fees so Sarai and her family can travel to receive her life-changing cardiac procedure in La Paz. Sarai's mother shares, "Our family is all praying that our daughter will become healthy and strong after this surgery!"
Abegaelle is a five-year-old girl from Haiti. She lives in the capital city of Port-au-Prince with her parents and older brother. Some of her favorite activities include going to preschool and attending church with her family. Abegaelle was born with a cardiac condition called atrial septal defect, which means a hole exists between the two upper chambers of her heart. As a result, blood leaks through, leaving her weak and short of breath. The care she needs is not available in Haiti, but fortunately, our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance (HCA), is helping Abegaelle receive treatment. She will travel to the Dominican Republic to undergo surgery on July 26th, during which surgeons will insert a catheter to plug the hole in her heart and restore a healthy blood flow. Abegaelle's family is raising $1,500 to cover the costs of her surgery prep, which includes all labs, medication, check-up and follow-up appointments, and the passports needed for HCA's social workers to accompany Abegaelle and her family overseas. Abegaelle's mother shared, "Our family is all very thankful that Abegaelle will have this chance to have her heart fixed!"
Teriki is a 74-year-old woman with three children. She is proud that all have grown up healthy and have children of their own now. Teriki’s husband passed away many years ago, and she lives with her grandchildren. Teriki’s children farm a small piece of land and take on labor jobs to help provide for their families. Alongside farming maize and vegetables, Teriki also helps on peoples’ farms to support her grandchildren in school and provide basic needs for herself. Teriki was recently in an accident when she had to separate some animals who were fighting on the farm. Now she has swelling and bruises, and her leg is broken. Teriki is experiencing severe pain and must use a wheelchair to move around, which has been challenging for her to do. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), can help Teriki heal. On May 18th, Teriki will undergo a fracture repair procedure called an open reduction and internal fixation. Upon recovery, Teriki will be able to walk easily again. AMH is requesting $1,145 to fund her medical treatment. Teriki says, “I really feel sorry right now. I have been depending on myself, yet now I cannot walk by myself. Please help me get back on my feet so that we do not suffer more for my grandchildren.”
Angel is a one-year-old girl from Haiti. She is her parent's first child. Her dad works as a taxi driver to support the family. Angel has been diagnosed with hydrocephalus, a condition in which excess cerebrospinal fluid accumulates in the brain and increases intracranial pressure. As a result of her condition, Angel's head has been increasing in circumference. Without treatment, Angel will experience severe physical and developmental delays. Our medical partner, Project Medishare, is requesting $957 to cover the cost of surgery that will treat her hydrocephalus at Hospital Bernard Mevs. This is the only site in the country where this care is currently available and the procedure is scheduled to take place on April 26th. This critical treatment will place a shunt to drain the excess fluid from Angel's brain to reduce intracranial pressure and greatly improve her quality of life. With proper treatment, Angel will hopefully develop into a strong, healthy young girl. Angel's parents are looking forward to her being able to grow up and play like other children.
Daw Moo is a 58-year-old woman. She moved to Thailand from Burma and lives with her daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter. She helps with household chores and looking after her granddaughter. She has three other children that study in schools in Burma. In her free time, Daw Moo loves to meditate and pray for her children and her family. In late December, Daw Moo was diagnosed with a cataract in her left eye. She has blurry vision and it is difficult for her to do her daily activities, like cooking, cleaning and washing clothes. Fortunately, our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF), is helping Daw Moo receive treatment. On March 2nd, doctors will perform a lens replacement, during which they will remove Daw Moo's natural lens and replace it with an intraocular lens implant. After recovery, she will be able to see clearly and go about her daily activities. Now, she needs help raising $1,500 to fund her procedure and care. Daw Moo shared, "I feel uncomfortable seeing with only one eye. I will be very happy to do my daily chores after I have regained vision in my left eye. Thank you to the organizations who found donors for me. Without your help, I could never afford to pay for my surgery. My daughter also cannot pay for me as she has to support her younger siblings’ school fees."
Soro is an 18-year-old who works as a rice and vegetable farmer. He also has an older sister. In this free time, Soro enjoys playing football, going out with his friends, and listening to music. In January, when Soro was traveling, he was assaulted and stabbed on the left side of his neck. He went to a local hospital, where doctors cleaned and closed the wound. However, he has not regained movement in his left arm since returning home. Doctors diagnosed his condition as a brachial plexus injury on his left side. The brachial plexus is a nerve network that transmits signals from the spine to the shoulder, arm, and hand. Injuries to this nerve network can result in a loss of function and sensation. Currently, Soro cannot lift his arm, which means he is unable to work. Soro traveled to our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre (CSC), for treatment, as CSC's care center is the only center in the country that provides the surgery he needs to heal. On February 15th, Soro will undergo brachial plexus repair surgery. Upon recovery, he will be able to use his left arm again. CSC is requesting $696 to fund this procedure. Soro says," After surgery, I hope I can return to work and be free of pain."
Askaw is a 47-year-old woman who lives with her father, husband, two sons and her daughter-in-law. Her husband is currently unemployed while her oldest son and her daughter-in-law are farmers. Her youngest son is a day labourer, finding work whenever he can. Askaw is a homemaker and looks after her father who is retired. In her free time, she loves to read, sing, and go to church every Sunday. Toward the end of 2018, Askaw noticed that the vision in both her eyes was blurred. In early 2019, unable to afford seeking treatment at a hospital or a clinic, she purchased eyeglasses for herself at a shop. Although the eyeglasses helped her see better at first, a year later her vision worsened and she could no longer see even with the eyeglasses. She purchased a new pair of glasses, but her vision worsened again. Finally in December she was able to go to an ophthalmologist's clinic with the help and financial support of her brother. After the ophthalmologist examined her eyes, she was told to go to a hospital for further investigation because she likely needed surgery. Askaw's brother knew of our medical partner Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF) which could help make her care possible even though it was out of reach financially for their family. Currently, Askaw can see very little in her left eye and she can only perceive light with her right eye. She cannot read anymore, and finds it difficult to pay for items when shopping since she cannot see the money. When she cooks, she will often mix-up the ingredients. She shared that sometimes, when she is alone, she will cry and feels sad about her symptoms. She said, “When I cook, I will mix-up the ingredients because I cannot see clearly. Now I am no longer able to cook and I have also stopped cleaning as it is so hard to clean with my poor vision."
Zin is a 15-year-old boy who lives with his parents and two younger sisters in Tak Province in Thailand. He and his sisters are all students. His father is an agriculture day laborer and his mother is a homemaker. In his free time, Zin likes to play football with his friends. He also helps his father with his work when he has time to earn pocket money. Early morning on December 28th, Zin and his friend rode out on his friend's motorcycle to the field to help Zin's father. While driving on the dirt road, Zin's friend suddenly lost control and their motorcycle slide off the road. Zin, who was sitting behind his friend, hit his leg against a metal post beside the road andthey both fell off the motorcycle. Currently, Zin is experiencing a lot of pain in his left thigh and hip. He cannot move his leg, walk, nor go to the bathroom by himself. With the help of our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, Zin will undergo surgery to reset his fractured bones and ensure proper healing. The emergency procedure is scheduled for December 28th and will cost $1,500. This treatment will help Zin heal, regain mobility in his left leg, and live pain free. He will be able to take care of himself again without requiring help from others. Zin's mother said, "I was very worried when I learned that I would need to deposit a large amount of money so that my son could receive surgery. We do not even have enough money to buy enough food to last us until the end of the month. I really needed your help and I was extremely happy when I saw your staff and was told that donors could help pay for my son's treatment! Thank you in advance to all the donors and the organization for helping my son!"