Leonardo joined Watsi on March 16th, 2015. Two years ago, Leonardo joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Leonardo's most recent donation traveled 4,800 miles to support U Chit, a 42-year-old husband and father from Burma, to fund heart surgery to restore his health.
Leonardo has funded healthcare for 82 patients in 11 countries.
Leonardo has funded healthcare for 82 patients in 11 countries.
U Chit is a 42-year-old husband and father from Burma. He lives with his in-laws, wife and son. His father-in-law works as a day laborer, while his wife and his mother-in-law are homemakers. U Chit used to work with his father-in-law, and also as a motorcycle taxi driver for extra income. However, he stopped working in January when his health worsened. When schools reopen, his son will begin kindergarten. A little over a year ago, U Chit began experiencing dizziness, fatigue, tightness in his chest and difficulty breathing when he exerted himself. A month later, he visited a local clinic where he was diagnosed with high blood pressure. However, in December 2021, U Chit lost a lot of weight and experienced night sweats in addition to his other symptoms. He was diagnosed with aortic valve regurgitation, mitral valve regurgitation and tricuspid valve regurgitation, and was placed on a waiting list to receive surgery. Because his condition is severe, the doctor recommended that he undergo surgery as soon as possible. Fortunately, our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF), is helping U Chit access treatment. On April 8th, he will undergo mitral valve replacement surgery at BCMF's care center. After recovery, his symptoms should improve. Now, he needs help raising $1,500 to fund his procedure and care. U Chit shared, "I gave up and I was ready to die before. There are a lot of heart patients waiting to receiving surgery. Since I heard that I could have surgery with the help of donors, I feel like there is hope that I will survive. I have to look after my family because my son is still young. I will always remember everything the donors did for me."
Myo Htay is a 22-year-old who lives with his parents and younger brother in the border region of Burma. His parents work as day laborers at a gold mine, carrying dirt and debris. Myo used to work with his parents but stopped last November when his health deteriorated. Because the gold mine closes during the rainy season, his parents only have work for six months out of the year. The rest of the time they try to live off of their savings. Around six months ago, Myo started to feel tired when he worked. At first he thought he was tired from working too hard. When he continued to feel tired for over a month, he thought that he needed to see a doctor. However, because of their limited funds, he did not want his parents to spend what they had on a trip to a clinic or a hospital. Around the middle of April, his condition worsened. He had difficulty breathing, experienced chest pain, and also heart palpitations. His parents brought him to a nearby hospital where he was diagnosed with a heart disease. The doctor told them to bring him to Yangon for further treatment. After Myo's parents borrowed money, they went to Yangon and took him to two different hospitals. At the last hospital, Myo was admitted for five days as he was unwell at that time. He received a follow-up appointment for two weeks later, but was brought back on April 30th when he developed rapid breathing, heart palpitations, chest pain and oedema (swelling) in both his legs. Myo was readmitted to the hospital, and the doctor told Myo's parents that his surgery would cost 20,000,000 kyat (approx. $11,000 USD). When they told the doctor that they cannot afford to pay for his surgery, a nurse gave them the phone number of an abbot in Yangon. After they called the abbot and told him what the doctor had said, the abbot referred Myo to our medical parter Burma Children Medical Fund for the assistance accessing the cardiac treatment he needs. Currently, Myo is on oxygen. If he does not receive oxygen, he has difficulty breathing as well as heart palpitations. He cannot walk for more than three minutes and if he does, he feels extremely tired. His whole family is worried about his condition. Fortunately, Myo's surgery has been scheduled for May 8th. He will have both valves of his heart replaced. His family needs $1,500 to help with the total cost of his surgery and care. Myo’s mother said, “I would give up everything to save my son’s life. I would sleep on the ground if we had no home to live in. I only wish to see my son getting better.”
Xyrie is an adorable 18-month-old girl from the Philippines. She loves to watch educational videos and is learning the alphabet. Her mother, who works as a public school teacher, is the sole breadwinner of their family. With her mother's income, Xyrie's family has tried hard to access care for her medical needs. Xyrie was born with an anorectal malformation, a congenital abnormality that leads to a complete or partial intestinal blockage. She needs to undergo a series of procedures to eliminate bowel dysfunction. Xyrie is scheduled to undergo surgery to correct her condition on April 6th. Our medical partner, World Surgical Foundation Philippines, is requesting $1,279 to cover the total cost of Xyrie's procedure and care. After her recovery, Xyrie will no longer experience bowel dysfunction or be at risk of developing health complications in the future. “It will be so much more convenient for Xyrie to move without the colostomy bag, and we don’t have to buy her colostomy supplies anymore. I also won’t have to worry that she’ll be bullied when she grows up,” Neriza, her mother shared. “The help provided by WSFP and Watsi are really of big help to our family,” added Neriza.
Liam is a playful four-year-old boy and the only child in his family. Liam and his young, single mother both live with Liam's grandmother, and depend on her farm for food. Liam was born with a condition known as quad cop, which is a subset of cerebral palsy that affects all four of his limbs (both arms/hands and legs). In addition, Liam has clubfoot on both of his feet. Clubfoot is a congenital musculoskeletal condition in which the foot is twisted out of shape. This causes him to have a great deal of difficulty walking and wearing shoes. Fortunately, on March 15th, Liam will undergo clubfoot repair surgery at our medical partner's care center, AIC Cure International Hospital. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $1,286 to fund Liam's treatment. After treatment, Liam will be able to place his entire foot on the ground when he walks, compared to now where he can only walk on his tiptoes which makes it hard for him to get around freely and independently. In the future his mother hopes he will be able to run, play, and join school like other children. Liam's mother says, "We would like to request support because we have nothing in our pockets to facilitate the surgery he needs."
Raymond is a three-year-old toddler from Kajiado County in Kenya. He is the youngest child in his family with one older sibling. His mother is the sole provider of his family, and works in a beauty salon. Together they live in a one-room house in the village. Raymond was born with a birth condition on his right foot called clubfoot. Clubfoot is a musculoskeletal condition in which the foot is twisted out of shape. As a result, Raymond has difficulty walking and wearing a shoe on his right foot. He has had appointments at Makindu Medical Centre, but his condition has yet to improve. Our medical partner met Raymond at their outreach clinic and he was scheduled to undergo serial casting to help improve his range of motion. Raymond now needs surgery to fix his malformation. However, his mother is unable to raise the estimated cost and has requested support from our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare. Fortunately, Raymond's family has now traveled to visit our medical partner's care center, AIC Cure International Hospital. There, surgeons will perform a clubfoot repair surgery on March 3rd. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $1,286 to fund Raymond's surgery. After treatment, he will be able to grow up without being worried about his ability to walk. Raymond’s mother says, "I would request medical support for my son to be able to walk without any difficulty."
Chhang is a 22-year-old construction worker in Kampong Speu, Cambodia. Chhang comes from a large family; he has four brothers and two sisters. Several of his siblings are married; he lives with his parents who are rice and mango farmers. He enjoys hanging out with his friends, singing songs, and playing football. A month ago, Chhang fell off his motorbike late one night on a bumpy road on the way home from work. He suffered a right femur fracture, and lost consciousness. His family took him to the local hospital, who referred him to Children's Surgical Centre for specialty care of his fracture. He is in constant pain, unable to walk or place any weight on his injured leg. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, can help. On January 5th, Chhang will undergo a fracture repair procedure, which will cost $465. This procedure will heal his fracture and help him to walk again. He said: "I hope my leg will be fixed, and I will be able to walk again and work to help support my parents and my siblings."
Princess is an 8-year-old student and the third born in a family of four children. Princess is currently in class one and enjoys learning how to read and write. Despite her condition, she likes running around with other children. She wishes to become a great cook when she grows up. Her parents are both small-scale farmers, growing maize and beans for both food and selling. Their earnings are not enough to cover the cost of treatment needed for their daughter Princess, they need help. Princess was diagnosed with fluorosis. Her right leg is bowed. This condition is typically caused by an excessive accumulation of fluoride in the bones, which often stems from contaminated drinking water. As a result, she has a difficult time walking and running with her friends. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $880 to fund corrective surgery for Princess. The procedure is scheduled to take place on December 3rd. Treatment will hopefully restore Princess's mobility, allow her to participate in a variety of activities, and greatly decrease her risk of future complications. Princess’ father says, “Please help my daughter get this treatment so she may be able to walk to and from school without much difficulty.”
Saray is a beautiful baby girl who lives in Colombia. Her parents moved from Venezuela two years ago seeking for a better place to raise a family. Even though Saray is only one year old, she is already really sympathetic and enthusiastic, she loves celebrating everything. Saray has clubfoot of her left foot. Clubfoot is a condition in which the foot is twisted out of shape. This will cause difficulty walking and even wearing shoes as she grows older. Fortunately, Saray's family traveled to visit our Medical Partner Clínica Noel where they can offer life-changing treatment. There, surgeons will perform clubfoot repair surgery on December 6th. Our medical partner is requesting $1,422 to fund Saray's clubfoot repair. After treatment, She will be able to walk, wear shoes, and play like any other kid. "Thank you so much, being in a foreign country and finding out that our little girl needs surgery is really stressful for us. I was really sad because in this moment we can't pay for the surgery but finding out that there are people that can help me with this really gives me hope that my little girl will be okay."
Vorn is a 56-year-old hardworking man. He and his wife are seasonal farmers. They have four sons who have all moved away and started families, but they still visit often. Vorn and his wife also have six grandchildren. When he is not working, he loves to visit his sons, see his grandchildren, go to restaurants with his friends and watch boxing matches on TV. Seven months ago, Vorn fell down a set of stairs and dislocated his right shoulder. He left the injury untreated for several months, and now his shoulder has become swollen, painful, and difficult to move. He traveled to visit our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre (CSC), where, on August 27th, doctors will perform a closed reduction to repair his shoulder. Once he has recovered, the swelling will go down and he will regain full mobility in his shoulder. He will be able to return to work comfortably. Now, he needs help raising $412 to fund the procedure. Vorn shared, "I hope that I can get back to my job and work without any pain, and help my family around the house. I also want to be able to pick my grandchildren up with out any problem."
Kea is a student who lives in a rural province of Cambodia with his parents, who are farmers, and his younger brother and sister. When he was 11, Kea had a severe ear infection that caused the tympanic membrane, or the ear drum, in his left ear to perforate. As a result, Kea experiences pain and discharge from his ear. He also has difficulty communicating with others. Kea traveled to visit our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre (CSC), to receive treatment. On September 1st, he will undergo a myringoplasty procedure in his left ear. During the procedure, surgeons will close the perforation. Now CSC is requesting $464 to fund his procedure. This will cover the cost of medications, supplies, and inpatient care. Kea shared, "I hope my hearing will improve and the the infection and pain will go away."
Robert is a 37-year-old matatu taxi driver with two children. Recently, Robert was involved in a traffic accident where he sustained multiple fractures in his legs. He has difficulty walking and can no longer work as a driver. Fortunately, with the support of Watsi donors he was able to have his first surgery and now surgeons at our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), are able to help with his final repair. On August 5th, Robert will undergo a second fracture repair procedure, called an open reduction and internal fixation. This procedure will allow Robert to walk with more ease. AMH is requesting $1,500 to fund this procedure. "I am hopeful I will be able to walk again. I am halfway there. I know with this surgery, I will be able to use my legs and get back to working again,” shared Robert.
Naing is a 46-year-old-man who lives with his mother, wife, sister, son and two daughters in Karen State in the border area of Burma. Naing used to work in a teashop as a baker but stopped four years ago when his health deteriorated. His son is also unemployed, unable to find work ever since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in Burma more than a year ago. They all rely on Naing’s wife, who works as a vendor in the market, to get by. She earns about 150,000 kyat (approx. 150 USD) a month, which they shared is not enough to cover their household expenses. In 2014, Naing received surgery for a right inguinal hernia with the help of his employer. Then, four years ago in 2017, he noticed that he had a small lump on his left side. Over time, the small lump increased in size and shifted downwards, causing pain and discomfort that made it impossible for Naing to continue working at the teashop. Although Naing knew that he most likely is having another hernia, since he was experiencing the same symptoms as before, he did not have enough money to pay for surgery. Therefore, he tried to cope with the pain and discomfort without treatment. In June, Naing’s friend advised for him to go to Ananda Myitta Clinic, a charity clinic in his city to ask for help accessing treatment. Naing and his friend went to the clinic, where they talked to the founder. The founder then referred Naing to another organization called Health for All who help put him in touch with our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF), for assistance accessing surgery for his hernia. Naing said, “I would like to receive treatment for my hernia. If I’m cured, I can work again as a baker and our [household] income will increase. Now, only my wife works and we all depend on her.”