Vesa joined Watsi on March 7th, 2016. Six 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.
Vesa has funded healthcare for 7 patients in 4 countries.
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.
Kanjiwa is a 68-year-old farmer from a village in Malawi's central region. He lives with his wife, and together they have seven children and 30 grandchildren. Kanjiwa supports his family through farming and when he is not busy working, he enjoys chatting with his grandchildren. For the past seven months, Kanjiwa has been experiencing symptoms of an enlarged prostate. He has pain when urinating and discomfort that has impeded his ability to work and spend time with his grandchildren. Kanjiwa has been unable to receive treatment until now because of its cost. With $742, Kanjiwa will have a prostate resection to surgically remove the gland. This operation will eliminate the pain he feels when urinating and discomfort he has in daily life. This procedure will also prevent future health complications. He and his family are looking forward to the surgery. Kanjiwa says, "I am very happy. I am looking forward to doing activities on my farm."
Meet Elizabeth, a 44-year-old woman who works as a caretaker of rental homes in Kenya. She previously worked as a tailor before starting her new career. Last summer, Elizabeth heard a radio program educating listeners about breast self-exams. She examined herself and discovered a lump in her left breast. She went to the hospital for further assessment, but she was unable to pay for the recommended mammogram. Elizabeth returned to the hospital in the spring of this year for a biopsy of the lump in her breast, and the results confirmed a diagnosis of breast cancer. Doctors recommended that she undergo a mastectomy, but she was unable to pay for the surgery. A friend referred her to AIC Kijabe Hospital, and the hospital surgeon also recommended a mastectomy as the best course of treatment. Elizabeth is separated from her husband, and her elderly mother and sisters are unable to provide any financial help for her medical care. For $740, Elizabeth will undergo a mastectomy to remove her left breast. Funding also covers the costs of six days of hospital care, pain medicine, and blood tests. Elizabeth looks forward to a successful surgery. “I want to be treated to have an extended, healthy life and be able to join in the fight for cancer awareness," she shares.
Faliot is a 75-year-old retired civil servant, where he worked primarily administrative jobs. He lives in Malawi with his wife of 32 years, and they have nine children; five of which are still in school. Being retired, it is difficult for Faliot to provide for all of his children and his wife. Faliot began experiencing symptoms related to his enlarged prostate since last year. He wakes up multiple times in the middle of the night to use the restroom, and experiences frequent pain and discomfort. Although he cannot afford the cost of surgery himself, Faliot is excited to have a prostate resection to relieve his symptoms. After the surgery, Faliot is expected to make a full recovery.
Meet Boniface, a 26-year-old who lives in Kenya with his mother and five siblings. His father and brother passed away a few years ago, so Boniface works in a vehicles' spare shop to help support his mother's income working on their small farm. Last year, Boniface began experiencing painful head migraines. He took over-the-counter medicines to try and alleviate the pain, but when he recently went to the doctor he was diagnosed with both hydrocephalus and a brain tumor. Hydrocephalus is an accumulation of water in the brain that causes increased pressure in the skull. In conjunction to this condition, the tumor has made it difficult for Boniface to see, and he needs assistance with walking because he cannot keep his balance very well. He also had to stop going to work. Boniface already received surgical treatment to drain the accumulated fluids and reduce the cranial pressure, but now surgeons recommend a crainiotomy to remove his tumor. If not treated, Boniface will continue experiencing migraines and risk complete blindness. Furthermore, he will be at risk of the tumor growing and causing more severe complications, even resulting in death. After his operation, Boniface will be able to return home to his family and continue supporting his mother and siblings. "I want to be free from the migraines and continue helping my mother," Boniface shares.
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."
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.