Ronald joined Watsi on November 25th, 2014. Seven months ago, Ronald joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Ronald's most recent donation traveled 8,300 miles to support U Chit, a 42-year-old husband and father from Burma, to fund heart surgery to restore his health.
Ronald has funded healthcare for 52 patients in 10 countries.
Ronald has funded healthcare for 52 patients in 10 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."
Darensky is a 10-year-old student from Haiti. He lives with his mother and grandparents in a neighborhood of Port-au-Prince. He is in the third grade and likes building things and making crafts. Darensky has a cardiac condition called patent ductus arteriosus and tracheal ring. Two holes exists between two major blood vessels near his heart; blood leaks through this hole without first passing through his lungs, leaving him weak and oxygen-deprived. The treatment that Darensky needs is not available in Haiti, so he will fly to United States to undergo surgery. Many years ago he had one hole closed so this is the second surgery he needs, and his family has been waiting for this moment for a long time. Fortunately, on March 10th, Darensky will undergo cardiac surgery, during which surgeons will close the remaining hole that leaks blood between his two main blood vessels at the same time. During the surgery, he will also have a muscular blockage removed from his trachea that affects his ability to breathe. Another organization, Akron Children's Hospital, is contributing $12,000 to help pay for surgery. Darensky's family also needs help to fund the costs of surgery prep. The $1,500 bill covers labs, medicines, and checkup and followup appointments. It also supports passport obtainment and the social workers from our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance, who will accompany Darensky's family overseas. HIs mother told us: "I am very happy to know that after this surgery my son will finally be able to run and play normally!"
Pai is a 63-year-old woman who lives alone in a refugee camp in the border region of Thailand and Burma. She receives 350 baht (approx. $12 USD) each month on a cash card from The Border Consortium, to purchase food in the refugee camp. This support is just enough to cover her daily needs, since she sometimes shares meals with her sister. In June 2019, Pai first notice that the vision in both of her eyes was blurry. By late 2021, she could no longer see with her left eye. She then went to the hospital in the refugee camp, run by the International Rescue Committee (IRC). A medic checked her eyes, gave her some eyedrops, and told her that they would refer her to Mae Sot Hospital (MSH) for further follow up. IRC staff brought Pai to the hospital in January where the doctor completed a vision test and also checked her eyes with specialized equipment. The doctor diagnosed her with cataracts and shared that she would need surgery to be able to see clearly again. Currently, Pai can only see objects near to her with her right eye and even then, she cannot see objects clearly. She can only perceive light with her left eye. When she walks, she has to do so slowly to avoid stubbing her toes on stones and other objects. At night, she now needs someone to assist her to get around at all. She also has difficulty cleaning her house and doing other household chores like washing her clothes or cooking. She shared that when she tries to cook on her own, she will sometimes mixed up the ingredients now. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund lens replacement surgery for Pai. On February 22nd, doctors will perform a lens replacement, during which they will remove Pai's natural lens and replace this with an intraocular lens implant. After recovery, she will be able to see clearly. Now, she needs help to fund this $1,500 procedure. Pai said, “I do not want to depend on my sister as she has to look after her family too. However, now I have to depend on her for many things and I feel sad about this.” Pai is thankful to the donors who can help pay for her treatment cost. She is very happy that there will be a donor for her. She said, “I hope that I can see again, and I really want to see the donors and everyone at BCMF’s organisation who was willing to help me. Thank you so much for your kind support.”
Natinael is a sweet toddler who loves to play with toys. He loves birds especially looking at the doves where he lives with his mom. Natinael's mom shared that he is shy and always wants to be at her side. She is a single mom and has been raising Natinael on her own with help from her family. Natinael was born with birth condition called Bladder Extrophy, which means that his bladder is open to air and at great risk of infections and injury. He needs surgery to help heal his condition, but his mother is unable to afford the cost. She is very much worried and concerned by his health and wants to do whatever she can to make sure he grows up healthy. She shared, “At first I did not know about the gravity of his condition. Then when I went to the hospitals they said they can’t do the surgery and they referred me to another hospital. I was in so much distress. I thought ‘what is this disease that the doctors refer it to another hospital.’ One doctor explained the condition to me and that was my lowest time of my life. I couldn’t eat or drink or sleep. All I could do was cry. I asked God why this happened to me." Fortunately someone referred her to an organization that knew our medical partner's care center BKMCM Hospital where doctors can perform the surgery he needs. Natinael's mom says, "If he heals, I hope I will work hard and raise him well and give him good education. I did not go to school and that makes me to want to send Natinael to school more. I'd like to spend the rest of my life with him protecting him.”
Haikaeli is a 3-month-old baby and the last born child in a family of four children. Her parents are both small-scale farmers who depend entirely on what they harvest for their living. With the rains delayed in their region of Tanzania, food is becoming scarce and making life difficult. Haikaeli 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, Haikaeli has been experiencing her head increasing in size significantly and as days go by her health keeps deteriorating. Without treatment, Haikaeli will experience severe physical and developmental delays. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $765 to cover the cost of surgery for Haikaeli that will treat her hydrocephalus. The procedure is scheduled to take place on December 14th and will drain the excess fluid from Haikaeli's brain. This will reduce intracranial pressure and greatly improve her quality of life. With proper treatment, Haikaeli will hopefully develop into a strong, healthy young girl. Haikaeli’s mother says “My daughter worsens as days go by, she cannot eat well anymore. Please help her.”
Hong is a 15-year-old student and the oldest of four children. His father is a construction worker, while his mother is a homemaker. Hong's favorite subjects in school are Khmer and English. When he grows up, he would like to be a physician. When he is not studying, he likes to play football, play games on his phone, and listen to music. Since he was born, Hong has experienced intermittent ear discharge with fever, swelling, and pain in his right ear. He had surgery in 2018 at a local hospital, but unfortunately he continues to have recurrent infections. Oral medications have not helped, and his condition makes it difficult for him to attend school. He has been diagnosed with preauricular sinus, which is a small hole or cyst in front of the ear above the ear canal. This hole marks a sinus tract under the skin that frequently becomes a pus-filled abscess. Fortunately, our medical partner, Children’s Surgical Centre (CSC), is helping Hong to receive treatment. His family traveled to CSC’s care center and on September 14th, surgeons will repair the sinus. Now, his family needs help to raise $296 to fund this procedure. Hong’s parents shared that they hope the infection will finally go away and their son will be free of pain and return to school.
Pheak is a 33-year-old construction worker. He is married and has two daughters who are in elementary school. His wife stays at home to take care of them. When Pheak is not working he enjoys watching boxing matches, listening to the news, and telling stories to his daughters. Five years ago, the retina of Pheak's right eye detached, causing him blurred vision and irritation. He has had limited work opportunities due to this condition as well. When Pheak learned about our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, he traveled for three hours seeking treatment. On November 9th, eye surgeons will perform a retinal detachment repair procedure in his right eye. After recovery, he will be able to see clearly. Now, he needs help to fund this $648 procedure. Pheak said, "I am hopeful that when my vision is better I can work more and support my family well."
Letina is a bright sixteen-year-old student. He's from a large family with ten children with Letina being one of the oldest. At school, Letina's best subjects are math, Swahili, and social studies. He is a hard-working student and helps look after his father's cattle when he is not studying. About three years ago, Letina's legs began curving as he grew. At first, it was a slight curve but has worsened over the years. As a result, Letina has had to stop his studies in search of treatment for his legs. Due to the family's limited income, they could not previously seek treatment for their son. Letina visited our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), where he was diagnosed with bilateral valgus, a condition in which the bone joint is angled outward away from the body's midline. This condition is typically caused by an excessive accumulation of fluoride in the bones, which often stems from contaminated drinking water. As a result, walking is painful and near impossible. Letina shared he is now unable to walk a long distance and feels pain when he does walk. On October 26th, Letina will undergo corrective surgery. Treatment should help restore Letina's mobility, allow him to participate in various activities, and significantly decrease his risk of future complications. AMH is requesting $880 to help fund Letina's surgery. Letina shared, "Walking has become very hard for me due to pain and how deformed my legs are. My friends have been making fun of me at school."
Pree is a seven-year-old boy who lives with his parents and grandmother in Thailand. His family is originally from Bago Division, Burma. His parents work in a factory in Mae Sot. When Pree was three years old, his grandmother noticed that he was very pale and that his stomach was swollen. He visited several hospitals and received medications and blood transfusions, but his symptoms did not improve. Finally, he was referred to our medical partner's care center, Mae Sot Hospital. Currently, Pree feels very tired and does not have an appetite. He has missed many months of school due to his illness. He has been diagnosed with thalassemia and needs to undergo a splenectomy, which is scheduled for July 9 and will cost $1,500. “When I grow up I want to be a doctor, so I can take care for my mother," he says.
Justus is a baby from Kenya. He is the only child of his young parents. Justus was diagnosed with cryptorchidism, a condition in which one or both of the testicles remains undescended. If left untreated, Justus has an increased risk of developing hernias, testicular cancer, and fertility problems in the future. Justus will be receiving assistance from our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF). Fortunately, he is scheduled to undergo corrective surgery on June 18. AMHF is requesting $459 to cover the total cost of his procedure and care. “This is our only child and I am worried about his future. I can’t wait to see him grow up like other normal boys," said Justus's mother.
Matteo is a boy from Haiti. He lives in Port-au-Prince with his parents and younger brother. He is a fifth grade student, and likes watching soccer games and listening to music. Matteo suffers from a condition called severe pulmonary stenosis, in which one of the four valves of his heart is too small. As a result, blood backs up into his heart, leading to heart failure. This will eventually be fatal. Fortunately, Matteo will undergo interventional heart catheterization on May 24. During the procedure, doctors will use a catheter tipped with a balloon to stretch Matteo's valve open to a more normal size. Our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance, is asking for $1,500 to cover the costs of Matteo's travel expenses, catheterization procedure, and lab work. He says, "I am excited to be able to play soccer after my heart is fixed."
Bikensley is a preschooler from Haiti. He lives with his parents, who are rice farmers, in a river valley in central Haiti. He enjoys going to preschool and church. Bikensley has a cardiac condition called Tetralogy of Fallot. This involves several related defects including a hole between two chambers of the heart, and a muscular blockage of one of the valves. These prevent blood from circulating adequately to the lungs, leaving him weak and short of breath. On April 9, he will undergo cardiac surgery at St. Damien Hospital, our medical partner's care center. During surgery, surgeons will close the hole with a patch, and remove the blockage near his valve. Another organization, Gift of Life International, is contributing $5,000 to pay for surgery. Bikensley's family also needs help to fund the costs of surgery prep. The $1,500 requested by our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance, covers cardiac exams and medications. His father says, "We are happy that our son can have this surgery so that he will be able to walk to and from school next year."