Christiane joined Watsi on February 21st, 2020. Two years ago, Christiane joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Christiane's most recent donation traveled 4,200 miles to support Mwandu, a 5-year-old girl from Tanzania, to fund burn contracture surgery so she can use her arm.
Christiane has funded healthcare for 648 patients in 17 countries.
Christiane has funded healthcare for 648 patients in 17 countries.
Mwandu is a 5-year-old girl — the first born and the only child in her family. She lives with her parents in a small town called Msevya in the northwestern side of Tanzania. Her parents are subsistence farmers who rely on agriculture for food and money. Inflation has negatively affected their source of livelihood. As small-scale farmers, managing their crops has been more costly than purchasing crops from the market. One day when Mwandu was young, she was playing inside the house while her parents were working on the farm. Her mother had set a pot on the stove to prepare tea. Mwandu walked close to the stove and pulled the pot with her bare hands. Hot tea spilled on her arm and the right side of her body. She got burnt on her arm and armpit. Now burn contractures have developed, tightening the skin around her burn, limiting her arm extension and involvement in day-to-day activities. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is helping Mwandu receive treatment. On March 3rd, surgeons at their care center will perform a burn contracture release surgery to help her increase extension of her right arm and allow her fully enjoy her childhood and school activities. Now, she needs help to fund this $639 procedure. Mwandu’s father says, “I hope she gets better because she will be starting school soon.”
Marivel is a hardworking and loving daughter from the Philippines. She is a 2nd-year college student. While studying, she tried to look for jobs to support her family. Unfortunately, to date she has been unable to pass the medical (health) requirements. The only breadwinner in the family is her father who works as a pedicab driver. Her father's income is often not enough to bring food to the table. In 2018, Marivel began to experience troubling symptoms, including a mass on her neck that is growing in size, and episodes of difficulty breathing. Due to the inadequate family resources, she did not seek treatment. By the time she finally had a chance to be checked by a doctor, her condition had worsened. She was diagnosed with Nodular Non-Toxic Goiter, a thyroid gland enlargement with no disturbance in the thyroid function. She needs surgery to prevent her symptoms from getting worse. Fortunately, our medical partner, World Surgical Foundation Philippines (WSFP), is helping Marivel receive treatment. She is scheduled to undergo a thyroidectomy on December 10th at Our Lady of Peace Hospital. Surgeons will remove all or part of her thyroid gland. A portion of the cost of her treatment is being supported by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and WSFP is raising the remaining $890 to cover the cost of Marivel's procedure and care. Marivel shared, "I'd like to thank Watsi and World Surgical Foundation Philippines. You're not just giving me surgery, but also a chance to support my family. After my treatment, I'd be able to find a decent job and provide for our needs."
James is a 13-year-old boy from Muranga County, Kenya. He is the second born in a family of three. James is in fifth grade, and he likes playing football and spending time with his friends. He aspires to become a pilot in the future. We met James at our main hospital, Kijabe, accompanied by a member of his church, Maina, who said “I know James as a hardworking and passionate boy in the church. I spotted him there doing presentations and performances and noticed that he had sustained a burn contracture on his neck which created a lot of discomfort because of the stiffness." James sustained burns when he was a child, which has caused him a lot of discomfort and prevents him from living a fully comfortable life. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is helping James receive treatment. On February 13th, surgeons at their care center will perform a single contracture release surgery on James; he will be able to move his neck more and be free from the stiffness. He will have a chance at a comfortable life. Now, he needs help to fund this $840 procedure. “Because of the challenges the family has, we are appealing for support to help this boy undergo surgery so he can be set free from neck stiffness and continue with his normal life,” Maina told us.
Hatsumi is a 19-month-old baby who lives with her parents and five older siblings. Her mother sells flowers in the market and her father takes care of her and her brothers and sisters at home. Hatsumi was born with a cardiac condition called ventricular septal defect, where a hole exists between the two lower chambers of her heart, causing blood leakage. This often leaves her weak and short of breath. Hatsumi and her family traveled to our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance, to seek treatment. On March 8th, Hatsumi will undergo a surgical procedure where doctors will sew a patch over the hole to prevent blood from leaking through. Now, Hatsumi's family needs help raising $1,500 to fund the procedure. Hatsumi's mother said, "Our family is praying that our daughter will be able to breathe more easily once her surgery is over!"
Anthony, who is 14 years old, lives with his parents and seven siblings in Kenya. His parents make charcoal to earn a living for the family, but their situation has been made more difficult by the inter-communal war in their area, which has forced the family to move on several occasions in order to find safety. Anthony was diagnosed with anorectal malformations at birth. He had surgery to correct the blockage and did well for a few months, but the blockage recurred. He could not pass stool as he had done before, but his parents could not afford to take him back to the hospital. His stomach started to increase in size and has grown over the years. Over time he completely lost the ability to move his bowels and stopped going to school. Late last year the county government social worker heard of Anthony's situation and contacted the family. She was able to finance their transport to the hospital for Anthony to be examined. As a result of the examination, it was determined that Anthony required surgery urgently. Anthony is now scheduled for a colostomy on February 15th at BethanyKids Kijabe Hospital. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is seeking $1,152 to cover the costs of this life-saving procedure. Anthony’s Aunt said: “It pains us that Anthony has to go through this. We really hope that he will be treated and go back to school.”
Elithon is a curious and outgoing 5-year-old from Tanzania and a member of the Maasai community. He is the fourth child in his family of five. Our medical partner’s team shared that he loves to talk and was so excited to share about the amazing wild animals he saw on his way to their care center - his favorite being elephants! He also loves the cold weather in the mountains near his home. Elithon could not hide his excitement when he arrived at the care center for treatment. Elithon fell and tripped over a stove with a pot of boiling soup, causing him to burn his right arm. Burn scar contractures have started to develop and tighten the skin around his burn. Consequently, it is difficult for him to stretch and use his hand. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), is helping Elithon receive treatment. On February 27th, surgeons at AMH’s care center will perform a burn contracture release surgery that will help him use his hand again. AMH is requesting $832 to fund this procedure. Elithon’s mother says: “We are very excited to know that there is a place where our son can get treatment.”
Olosirian is a 13-month-old baby boy from Tanzania and the youngest child in a family of four children. His parents are from a small remote town. They breed and sell cattle to make a living, but unfortunately drought conditions have made their work difficult and they have lost most of their cattle. Olosirian has clubfoot of both feet, a condition in which his feet are twisted out of shape. In the future, this may cause him difficulty walking and even wearing shoes. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), is helping Olosirian receive treatment. On January 20th, surgeons will perform clubfoot repair surgery at AMH's care center. After treatment, he will be able to walk easily. Now, he and his family need help raising $935 to fund his procedure and care. Olosirian’s mother shared, "our lack of knowledge is what kept us from seeking treatment. I hope it is not too late."
Milka is a 48-year-old woman. She is the mother of three children, between 6 and 26 years. She works harvesting tea at a tea plantation, while her husband gets jobs working at construction sites. Their income is not enough to pay for life-saving surgery, and they do not have medical coverage. Milka woke up one morning at the beginning of February this past year and discovered a lump in her right breast. It was painless at first, but later became painful. She went to a clinic in her local area, but was referred to a bigger facility that offers cancer care. She came to Kijabe Hospital this month where she had an ultrasound, mammogram, and a core biopsy that revealed cancer. Milka has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Without treatment, the cancer may spread to other organs. Doctors recommend a mastectomy, a surgery to remove breast tissue, to rid her body of breast cancer and to prevent the cancer from metastasizing, or spreading. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1110 to cover the cost of a mastectomy for Milka. The procedure is scheduled to take place on November 8th. After treatment, Milka will hopefully return to a cancer-free life. Milka says, "I might be scared that I am losing my breast, but I know it is important to stop the cancer.”
San Htay is a 45-year-old woman from Thailand and a mom to two sons. While she normally cares for their home, she has been unable to work since she became ill. Her husband and oldest son work as day laborers, and their youngest is too young to attend school. Her husband also makes and sells charcoal, and the family raises chickens. In her free time, San Htay enjoys gardening and growing vegetables, her favorite being cabbage and chilies. In October 2022, San Htay visited the hospital when she began to experience pain in her lower back. Through funding from Watsi donors, she underwent a CT scan and was diagnosed with cervical cancer and a left ovarian tumor. Currently, San Htay experiences headaches, fatigue, decreased appetite, pain, and other worrisome symptoms. The doctors referred her to our medical partner's care center where, on February 19th, she will undergo mass removal surgery. Our medical partner, Burma Children's Medical Fund (BCMF), is requesting $1,500 to cover the total cost of San Htay's procedure and care. San Htay said: "I am so happy that BCMF has agreed to continue to support the cost of my treatment. I never knew that cancer could be treated. My children can now live longer with their parents."
Hnin is a determined 5-year-old girl from Burma. In her free time, she likes to draw pictures. Hnin lives with her grandmother and brother in Mon State. She goes to kindergarten, her brother goes to primary school, and her grandmother is a washerwoman. Hnin's parents, who work as day laborers in Thailand, also send them money every month to help support basic needs. Hnin was born with club foot of her left leg. With the help of Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF), she underwent casting at Mawlawmyine Christian Leprosy Hospital (MCLH) to straighten her foot. Hnin's family was told to bring her back when she was five years old as she would need another surgery to fully correct her clubfoot. Currently, Hnin still has a cast on her left leg. When she walks, she walks on the side of her left foot. Because of this, she cannot play on the playground or keep up with her friends. Without treatment, Hnin's condition will continue to cause her discomfort and will further limit her movement. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to cover the cost of surgery for Hnin, which is scheduled to take place on November 18th. This procedure will elongate her Achilles tendon, allowing increased motion at the ankle joint. Hnin said, “My left leg is so heavy with the cast, but I am not scared to have the operation on my leg. I want to have surgery."
Emmanuel is a 39-year-old father of two from Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He lives with his wife and children and works in sales at an electronics store. He has a cardiac condition called atrial septal defect. There is a hole between the two upper chambers of his heart, which causes blood to leak out without first passing through the lungs to obtain oxygen, leaving him weak and short of breath. Because the care he needs is not available in Haiti, Emmanuel will fly to the United States to undergo cardiac surgery on February 27th. Doctors will sew a patch over the hole in his heart so that blood can no longer leak through it. Baylor Scott and White Heart Hospital is contributing $10,000 to help pay for this surgery. His family now needs $1,500 to help fund costs of the surgery preparations, including labs, medicines, and check-up and follow-up appointments, and travel expenses. Our medical partner Haiti Cardiac Alliance will accompany Emmanuel overseas and ensure he safely undergoes treatment. Emmanuel says, "I am excited for this surgery so that I can focus on taking care of my family without worrying about my health."
Myo is a 14-year-old boy from Burma. He lives with his parents in a village in Karen State. His mother is a homemaker who is currently eight months pregnant. His father is a subsistence farmer, but he also works as a day laborer to earn money. Myo is in grade six and he enjoys playing football in his free time. Two years ago, Myo developed a pain in his arm which he noticed while playing football with his friends. Right away he was in a lot of pain, but his arm did not look broken. At first, the pain lessened, but gradually the pain worsened and his upper left forearm became swollen. Myo could also feel a mass under the swollen area of his left forearm. Myo and his father went to Chiang Mai Hospital, where he received a MRI and other tests, as well as a biopsy which confirmed that the tumor in his forearm was cancer. Now he needs surgery to remove the tumor, and he will need a chemo after surgery. The enlarged mass in Myo's left forearm has not increased in size, and only causes him pain when he lifts something heavy or when he does any physical activity with that arm such as washing his clothes or cleaning. Although he can take a shower by himself, using only his right arm makes it challenging. When he plays with his friends, he needs to protect his left forearm to prevent getting hurt. Myo's family sought treatment through our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund. He is now scheduled to undergo mass removal surgery on December 8th, and his family needs help funding the $1,500 cost to cover his procedure and care. He said, “I feel sorry for my mother and I pity her that she has to stay alone with the new baby. I also feel sad that I cannot go to school this year. I want to recover quickly and go back to see my brother and mother.”