alanna joined Watsi on May 15th, 2013. Eight years ago, alanna joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. alanna's most recent donation traveled 8,500 miles to support Keziah, a 36-year-old mother from Kenya, to fund treatment to remove a large ovarian cyst.
alanna has funded healthcare for 88 patients in 14 countries.
alanna has funded healthcare for 88 patients in 14 countries.
Keziah is a lovely, 36 year old mother of three, who lives with her husband and children on the outskirts of Nairobi. Before her current illness, Keziah would hawk food, while her husband works as a laborer to support their family. After giving birth to her last child in 2016, Keziah began to experience pain around her umbilicus, and then her abdomen began to swell. Despite numerous trips to the hospital, Keziah was always sent home without a solution. Fortunately, Keziah was referred to Nazareth Hospital, where the doctor who first met with her thought that she was pregnant, because of the size of her belly, and because she was wearing maternity clothes. A CT scan revealed an unusual and benign cyst on Keziah's ovary, that had grown to a very large size. If Keziah does not have the cyst removed soon, she risks having the cyst rupture, which might lead to blood poisoning from the bacteria in the cyst. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is seeking $788 to fund the surgery to excise Keziah's cyst, which is scheduled to take place on June 10th at Nazareth Hospital. “I am worried and exhausted. I pray that I get help so that this problem can be treated so that I can resume my normal life, and also be able to restart my small business to support our family,” said Keziah.
Robert is a 16-year-old teenager who is a sociable and talkative boy with five siblings. Robert enjoys helping his parents with their work. Their family lives a nomadic life, herding his father's cattle. During the dry season, Robert can spend two to three months away from home, walking long distances with his cattle, in search of pastureland and water. However, walking has gotten more difficult for Robert now. He was diagnosed with left genu valgus and right genu varus. His left leg bends inward at the knee, while the right leg bends outward at the knee. This condition is typically caused by excessive fluoride in contaminated drinking water. As a result of his condition, walking is exhausting and painful, and he has stopped taking his father's cattle out to graze. While he is scheduled for surgery to help correct his legs, his parents cannot afford the treatment cost, and are asking for help. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is raising $880 to fund Robert's corrective surgery. It is hoped that this procedure, which is scheduled for May 13th, will restore Robert's mobility, allowing him to participate in a variety of activities, and greatly decreasing his risk of future complications. Robert says: “Staying at home all day without participating in daily life is very boring and it makes me feel bad, because I cannot work and help.”
We met Thomas, a 9-year-old jovial and social boy at Cure Hospital's Nyeri satellite clinic. He is the second born in a family of four children. His family hails from a village in Muranga County. Thomas is a third grade student and a very bright boy who aspires to be a pilot in the future. His mother is a small business lady while his father is a mason. Thomas lives with his grandmother. Thomas was born healthy, however at the age of three his grandmother noted an unusual bowing of his legs. He was taken to a hospital in Muranga, however, the condition has never improved and instead has continued to worsen. Fortunately our medical partner can help. Thomas is now scheduled to undergo surgery to heal his condition. The treatment will be impactful to him because he will be able to walk and play more easily. The severe pain he has been experiencing from straining when walking will be alleviated and he will be able to continue with his studies uninterrupted. We can't wait to see him flying in the skies one day! "I would request the hospital to help me undergo surgery so that my legs can be corrected and I can continue with my education," Thomas expressed.
Lionel is a charming five-month-old baby from Colombia. He was born near the northern coast and his parents are from Venezuela. After he was born, they moved to Medellin due to his father's job. Lionel was born with clubfoot of his right foot. Clubfoot is a condition in which the foot is twisted out of shape. This causes difficulty walking and wearing shoes as he grows older. Fortunately, Lionel'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 March 22nd. Our medical partner is requesting $1,422 to fund Lionel's clubfoot repair. After treatment, he will be able to learn how to walk and live a fully active life ahead. His father said: "I hope my little champion can get his surgery, I pray for his wellbeing. I just want his feet to be normal and hope to see him walking like any other child."
Meet Jonah, a 31-year-old quiet man. Jonah is the 2nd eldest in a family of three. His siblings and him were raised by a single mother who makes a modest living as a farmer. Earlier, Jonah left secondary school studies to find work to help support his family. Jonah has a history of a growing cheek mass that has recently increased in size. Jonah's condition is uncomfortable and often causes people to stare, which Jonah finds upsetting and is impacting his self esteem. Jonah received a scan of his cheek at AIC Kapsowar Hospital and was subsequently diagnosed with a submandibular tumor. Doctors recommended that the mass be removed and the procedure is scheduled for February 14th. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare is helping Jonah raise the $1,196 he needs to undergo this life altering surgery. Jonah shared, “I have waited for this moment in my life for so long. My mother has tried to take me to so many hospitals but we lacked means because they requested too much from us.”
Ray is a 2-year-old boy who lives with his four brothers and parents in a refugee camp. His siblings go to school and his mother weaves traditional Karen skirts for sale at their home. Unfortunately, his father has been unable to leave the refugee camp to search for work since August 2021, due to local COVID-19 restrictions. When Ray was eight months old, his mother noticed a worrying swelling. She brought him to the hospital in the refugee camp, where a medic examined Ray and advised his mother to come back if it increased in size. In July 2021, his parents brought him back to the hospital for a medical examination and he was referred to Mae Sariang Hospital for further treatment. With the help of the organization Malteser International (MI) staff, Ray and his mother were brought to the hospital, where a doctor examined Ray and diagnosed him with an inguinal hernia. Ray has little appetite and cries frequently, and the pain he feels often causes him to wake up during sleep. After completing a physical examination, the doctor scheduled him to be admitted to the hospital on January 12th so he can receive hernia repair surgery the following day. As Ray’s family cannot afford to pay for surgery, MI staff referred him to our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, for assistance accessing treatment. This procedure will cost $1,486, and Ray and his family need help raising money. Ray's mother shared, “I will send Ray to school when he is older and I want him to become a doctor because I want my son to help the community and other families."
Mu is a 17-year-old boy who lives with his sister in Mae Sot, Thailand. Before that, he lived with his parents, one older sister, two younger brothers and one younger sister in a refugee camp. His sister works at a non-governmental organisation helping others in need. Around mid-August, Mu woke up one morning with pain in his left knee. At first he thought that the pain would go away on its own and that it was nothing serious. However, when the pain remained a few days later, he told his sister about it. His sister bought him a type of Burmese pain reliever balm to apply on his knee. He applied the balm for a week, but he did not feel any better. When he and his sister noticed that his left knee had become slightly swollen his sister called their father. Mu’s father told them that it could be an ulcer and suggested that they go to a hospital or buy him pain medication to reduce swelling. His sister bought the medication their father had suggested at a pharmacy, and Mu took it for a week. However, he did not feel better, and the swelling did not decrease. Mu was able to have an MRI at Chiang Mai Hospital and now the doctor recommends he undergo surgery to remove a tumor on his left knee. Mu sought treatment through our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund and is now scheduled to undergo mass removal surgery on December 17th. He is requesting $1,500 to cover the total cost of his procedure and care which will enable him to get off of using crutches and back to feeling well again. Mu said, "After I heard from the doctor that my leg does not need to be amputated, I feel so happy."
Ikram is a friendly, playful 4-year-old boy and the only child of his parents. His family recently moved from the city back to the village in Tanzania due to the lack of work and hardships they experienced. His parents work as small-scale farmers to provide for the family. Ikram cannot attend school right now as his parents are worried the walk to school will be painful for him. They also shared that he may experience discrimination by other children. Ikram was born with clubfoot of both feet. Clubfoot is a condition in which the foot is twisted out of shape, causing difficulty walking and even wearing shoes. Fortunately, Ikram’s family traveled to visit the care center at our medical partner’s care, African Mission Healthcare (AMH). On November 16th, surgeons will perform clubfoot repair surgery. AMH is requesting $935 to fund Ikram’s procedure. After treatment, he will be able to walk easily and wear shoes. Ikram’s mother shared, “Life took a quick turn, and we could no longer afford to live in the city. We moved back to the village and hope for a better life.”
Edna is a 48-year-old single mother and small-scale farmer who grows food crops for home use. Her four children range in age from 17 to 29 years and have been depending on her. Unfortunately, Edna is now unable to walk due to lower limb weakness. She has been suffering from goiter for over 15 years and the thyroid malignancy has now spread to her spine impacting her mobility. Accompanied by her daughter, who had to push her in a wheelchair, Edna recently visited our medical partner's care center AIC Kijabe Hospital for help. She has been to other facilities but still hadn't been able to get the help she needs due to a lack of funds. After a multi-disciplinary team meeting comprising of Head & Neck and Ortho surgeons, she has been scheduled for a Total Thyroidectomy, Neck Dissection, and Spine Decompression and Fusion to help her heal and walk again. Our medical partner African Mission Healthcare (AMH) is requesting $1,500 to cover this intensive procedure, a ten-day stay at the hospital, and wheelchair adjustments, tests, and physical therapy for Edna. Edna says, “I lost my ability to walk after this disease attacked me. I am afraid if not attended to I may be confined to a wheelchair for good. But my hope is up and alive now that doctors have scheduled me for surgery. This treatment is meant to rectify the situation and help me to walk again.”
Bunroeun is a 38-year-old farmer who works alongside his wife in the fields. Together, they have four children—one son and three daughters. Since he was seven years old, Bunroeun has experienced recurrent ear infections and discharge. Bunroeun's ear infections caused the tympanic membrane to perforate in both of his ears, meaning a hole or tear was created in his eardrums. As a result, he is experiencing discharge, hearing loss, vertigo, and frequent headaches, which leave him feeling unwell and unable to communicate clearly with others. Bunroeun was unable to follow up on his care when his wife recently delivered their youngest child. However, upon learning about our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre (CSC), he traveled to their care center for treatment. On September 8th, Bunroeun will undergo a myringoplasty procedure to close the tear in each eardrum. CSC is requesting $913 to fund this procedure, which includes coverage of all medications, supplies, and inpatient care. Bunroeun hopes that this procedure will help stop the ear infections and finally improve his hearing loss.
Paw is a 24-year-old woman from Thailand. Originally from Burma, Paw, her husband, their three daughters and her parents fled in March 2021 after the Burmese military shot rockets into their village. In Thailand, as refugees, they cannot work, and have temporarily moved in with Paw's brother and his family. They receive rice from her brother's neighbors, while her brother's family provides them with vegetables and curries. In July 2021, Paw's parents and her two older daughters went back to their village when they felt it was safe to do so. Meanwhile, her husband and her three-month-old baby have stayed with her while she receives treatment in Chiang Mai. Two years ago, Paw noticed a mass on the right side of her neck. Her neighbor suggested she apply a natural remedy, but unfortunately, the mass remained and grew over time. In September 2019, she visited a local hospital in Thailand with her husband, but the surgery recommended was too expensive. She experiences pain near the site of the mass, and the mass is still growing. Paw sought treatment through our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF). She is scheduled to undergo mass removal surgery on August 16th, and now she needs to raise $1,500 to cover the total cost of her procedure and care. Paw shared, “I felt embarrassed and very upset when I first noticed that I had this problem. I will feel a lot better after my surgery because I have needed to receive it since I first went to see the doctor in 2019. In the future I want to look after my children and send them to school.”
Phoebe is a fruit vendor and a single mother with one daughter, now 27 years old. She moved in with her daughter in December 2018 after she was involved in an accident and broke her leg. She used to sell fruits but has not been able to work since her accident. Since the beginning of January 2021, Phoebe has been experiencing back pains, which have persisted over time and extended to her lower abdomen. Upon examination, doctors found a mass on the cervix which was bleeding, and she has been diagnosed with an early stage cancer. She needs to undergo a hysterectomy, a procedure in which surgeons will remove her uterus. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $794 to fund Phoebe's surgery. On July 15th, she will undergo gynecological surgery at our medical partner's care center. Once recovered, Phoebe will be able to resume her daily activities free of pain and her risk for future spreading of the cancer will be limited. Phoebe says, “Cancer is scary for me. I cannot wait to be declared free of the dangerous cells that I know can end my life. ”