Vesa's Story

Vesa joined Watsi on March 7th, 2016. Seven years ago, Vesa joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Vesa's most recent donation traveled 6,100 miles to support Axel, a baby boy from Guatemala, for malnutrition treatment.


Vesa has funded healthcare for 7 patients in 4 countries.

patients you have funded

Axel is a three-month-old baby from a Mayan community in Guatemala. He lives with his siblings and parents in a one-room adobe house with a tin roof and dirt floor. His mother works at home, cooking and cleaning, and him father works as a bricklayer, only receiving an income on days when there is work. Axel’s mother cannot produce sufficient breast milk for her child and cannot afford formula as a substitute, leaving Axel malnourished. She thought that her son looked normal, and did not realize how underweight he was. She has been giving him boiled water with sugar in it to make him stop crying. As a result, Axel is failing to meet normal growth markers and is far below the average height and the average weight for his age—he is still the size of a newborn. At such a young age, malnutrition is dangerous. Lactation failure can lead to the child becoming starving, dehydrated, and provoke electrolyte imbalances that can cause seizures. Brain development occurring during this delicate time is compromised and the baby is at risk of long term damage. Lactation failure, while dangerous, is easy to treat. By supplying the baby with formula and the mother with health education, Axel will receive the calories he needs to grow and thrive. We can provide this life-saving treatment for $1107. One-on-one education with Axel’s mother will prepare her for when he needs to start eating solid food, as well as help her watch for further signs of malnutrition and other illness. Axel’s immune system will strengthen and he will grow up to be a healthy and energetic baby.

Fully funded

Angelica is a newborn baby girl from rural Guatemala. She was born one month prematurely. She was small and weak when she was born, and acquired an infection in her eyes and now her lungs. When she came to see us at the clinic, she was very sick, but now she is doing much better after receiving hospital care. Unfortunately, her mother had to receive antibiotics that are unsafe for breastfeeding. Since her mother had to stop breastfeeding while taking the medications, she lost her ability to make milk and now Angelica is acutely malnourished. Her mother says her heart breaks because she is unable to give her daughter enough milk to make her stop crying. Angelica lives with her parents and her older siblings in a humble one-room wood house with a tin roof. Her mother is worried because she can see her daughter losing weight, and she does not have enough milk to feed her. Since she spends so much time caring for Angelica and her father works as a day laborer in the coffee fields, barely making enough money to support basic living costs, they cannot afford the extremely expensive formula Angelica needs to survive. Although Angelica's life is in danger now, the treatment she needs to be a healthy and happy baby is simple. She will receive formula with the protein, calories, and nutrients she needs to grow and develop. Her immune system will grow stronger with the formula, and she will no longer cry from hunger. This treatment will not only save Angelica's life, but will mean she is no longer at risk for seizures, diarrhea, and long-term developmental delays due to her lack of milk. "My desire is that my daughter gets better and can grow healthily," her mother said. "I want to see her get big so that she can go to the school and study and be a person like you all that helps the people that need it."

Fully funded

In December 2015, Maung Shwe was walking on a dirt road when an out-of-control motorbike crashed into him and fractured his leg. He sustained several flesh wounds that healed in the subsequent weeks. He first sought treatment on the day of the incident with a traditional healer but this was ineffective. Next, he visited the local village health worker who could only provide him with injections to relieve his pain temporarily. The care provided by the health worker cost him a lot of money. Treatment at a hospital would have been too costly for him. He has never sought out treatment at a Burmese hospital but heard they are expensive. Maung Shwe’s nephew works for Mae Tao Clinic (MTC) and he encouraged his uncle to visit. In March 2016, he borrowed a mount of money from his friend for food and transportation so he and his daughter could make the trip to Mae Sot. Maung Shwe is a 62-year-old man who has always lived in a village in Karen State, Burma. He is a retired farmer and currently lives with his daughter and son-in-law. His daughter used to be a domestic worker in Bangkok and his son-in-law is a subsistence farmer. They do not generate an income, but when his family needs money, they sell their leftover rice yield or their chickens and pigs. Maung Shwe's current symptoms include pain upon movement and the inability to walk. His daughter had to quit working as a domestic worker in Bangkok in order to care for him. She assists him with tasks like helping him walk, escorting him to bathroom, and cooking for him. There are no wheelchairs in his village, so his daughter must tend to him at all times For $1,500, Maung Shwe will receive the operation he needs to treat his fracture permanently. This cost includes surgery, casting, and rehabilitation. Following surgery, Maung Shwe should no longer suffer from pain upon movement, and he should be able to walk again.

Fully funded