Denise Steele
Denise's Story

Denise joined Watsi on May 3rd, 2016. 22 other people also joined Watsi on that day! Denise's most recent donation traveled 8,200 miles to support Jonalyn, a 13-year-old girl from Philippines, for life-changing thyroid surgery.

Impact

Denise has funded healthcare for 8 patients in 6 countries.

All patients funded by Denise

Jonalyn is a happy, 13-year-old student who loves to study and play a game similar to kick-the-can. She lives with her parents and two siblings in the Philippines, where their one-room house has a cement floor and a thatched roof made of nipa leaves. Jonalyn noticed a mass on the right side of neck when she was 12 years old. She told her mother about it, but they did not seek help since they did not have money to spend on medical consultations or medicine. After a few months, she complained of pain when swallowing and difficulty breathing and also noticed that the mass on her neck was getting bigger. She has been unable to concentrate during her classes because of the on-and-off throbbing pain in her neck. During a church activity in May of 2015, Jonalyn felt a throbbing pain in her neck and was examined by a doctor. She was diagnosed with a goiter—an enlarged thyroid gland usually caused by a deficiency of iodine, an important element in the production of thyroid hormones that regulate the body's metabolism. The doctor prescribed an antibiotic for seven days and iron supplements for 10 days and referred Jonalyn to another care facility to undergo tests to determine the type of goiter. Unfortunately, the family was unable to seek further care for Jonalyn until now. She was screened by a health trainer in one of our sponsored communities, consultation was facilitated, and she was advised to undergo a thyroidectomy to remove the thyroid gland. Jonalyn's mother is a housewife, and her father raises pigs. They cannot pay for surgery for Jonalyn because their income is barely enough to sustain the family's daily needs. $1,500 covers the cost of Jonalyn's surgery, transportation to and from the hospital, 10 days of hospital care—including medicine, imaging, and blood tests—and medicine to take after she goes home. The surgery will lessen Jonalyn's discomfort due to her condition. "I am very thankful to you for helping people like me in my condition, especially those who are not financially capable in terms of health treatment," shares Jonalyn. "I was truly blessed because I was given an opportunity to be treated. After the surgery, I plan to continue my schooling to reach my dreams and help my family someday."

$1,500raised
Fully funded

Tah is a ten-year old boy who lives with his parents and three siblings in Burma. Tah’s family has lived in Burma for their whole lives, living on a small farm where they grow food for their own consumption. His father, U Kyaw Poe, is the only member of the family who earns an income and works as works as an agricultural day labourer. Of his three siblings, Tah is the only one who attends school. He is currently enrolled in third grade, and enjoys his studies very much. His siblings do not attend school, but rather help their mother with farm work and occasionally accompany their father to his job as an agricultural day labourer. On May 18th, Tah was riding in the back of a vehicle transporting a large water jug through his village when the vehicle hit a bump and Tah tumbled out onto the road. The heavy jug of water that had been in the back of the truck also fell out, landing on top of him. He sustained a serious shoulder injury as a result of the incident, and when the pain did not subside in a matter of days his father decided to travel to Mae Tao Clinic (MTC) to seek medical treatment. Tah and his father had to walk a few hours out of their village in order to catch a car that would take them to Mae Sot. The journey by car then took between 3 and 4 hours, When they arrived at MTC, clinic staff performed an x-ray of Tah’s shoulder, which revealed that it had been broken in two places. The trauma unit at MTC then referred Tah to Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF) in order to receive support for the reparative surgery he will need. Currently, Tah is unable to move his injured arm whatsoever. He is in severe pain at all times, and has had to miss school in order to travel to MTC for treatment. Before his accident, Tah loved to play soccer with his friends and brothers, but he can no longer enjoy this pastime due to his injury. His father wants him to be able to return to school and get a good education so that he can have a career more fulfilling than working as physical labourer. "I want to feel better and return to school without pain," Tah said.

$1,500raised
Fully funded

Myo Win is a three-year-old boy who was born, and has lived most of his life, in Bangkok. He has three siblings; a sister and two brothers. The family relocated to their home in Burma when Myo Win’s grandmother passed away, and his parents have been working as day laborers on a farm. The family relies heavily on financial assistance from the Myo Win’s uncle who lives and works in Bangkok. Three months after birth, Myo Win developed a fever and was vomiting intermittently. They sought treatment at the Thai hospital; however, the symptoms worsened after several days as he suffered seizures and his head began to swell. Myo Win's parents did not return to the hospital as they lacked a health card and money, so they approached their employer in Bangkok who contacted several media outlets for help. The plea for public help was successful and Myo Win was seen by two different hospitals in Bangkok. At the second hospital, they noticed the increase in head size and intracranial pressure, so surgery was performed to insert a shunt to direct the cranial fluid to the abdomen. He was in the hospital for 25 days. Myo Win’s condition seemed to stabilize. Treatment in Bangkok was free as the public response covered the expenses. However in October of 2015, after the family moved back to Burma, he began to experience seizures, fever and vomiting attacks. The family took Myo Win to several different clinics for treatment, where it was found that Myo Win's shunt was malfunctioning due to blockage or infection. The only hospital able to perform surgery was out of financial reach for Myo Win's family. They were referred to Mae Tao Clinic (MTC), a Watsi partner, and told that Myo Win could receive surgery without charge through the Watsi program. Myo Win's present symptoms include abdominal pain, irritability, vomiting, constipation and difficulty urinating. $1,485 will cover the cost of the treatment Myo Win needs to get healthy. After the surgery, Myo Win will hopefully be able to run and play with his sister again. "My hope for my son is that he goes to school for an education and becomes a teacher," his mother said.

$1,485raised
Fully funded

"When I am big I want to be a soccer player," shares Jhonathan. "I want to be a great goalie." Jhonathan's mother brought her son to our clinic because she noticed that two years ago, he started developing lesions on his skin. Where there were lesions, Jhonathan did not have muscle. His left arm and leg started to become deformed. They went to various clinics and doctors and specialists, but nobody could give them a diagnosis or an effective treatment, so he has gotten worse. When he came to our clinic, he was diagnosed with Scleroderma, an autoimmune disease that attacks the body's tissues, first the skin, muscle, then bone. In recent months, new lesions have started to pop up on his right side, worrying his parents. Jhonathan is in third grade. He loves to go to school and study and learn, and he has made many friends. He likes to play soccer at school, he is the goalie for his class. He also likes to read and share with his friends. He isn't bothered by the fact that his arm and leg are deforming, he is still the same smiley and intelligent child as always. He does not care that the other kids make jokes about him--he is very strong and knows how to stay strong. His family has few resources, and they cannot afford the expensive imaging, labs, and medicines that their son needs to prevent future lesions and manage his symptoms. This treatment will give Jhonathan a full diagnostic work-up to confirm his diagnosis and help him start on medications that will prevent future lesions and deformities. Although this is a difficult and intense treatment, his parents are hopeful that he will respond well, and that he will be able to continue to play soccer, go to school, and live a full and independent life. "We hope that the treatment will be successful, that there won't be side effects," his mother shared. "We appreciate all of you for all of the help so that Jhonathan can keep moving forward and accomplish his dreams."

$367raised
Fully funded

Two-month-old Gregorio lives with his parents and older sibling in Guatemala. “Gregorio is acutely malnourished due to his mother's lack of breast milk,” our medical partner, Wuqu’ Kawoq (WK), tells us. “His mother is not able to produce enough breast milk for him to survive, meaning that he weighs even less than when he was born.” While Gregorio’s mother takes care of the children during the day, his father leaves their home early every morning to chop wood on the mountain and sell it in town. Despite the long hours of hard work, his father earns very little money and can afford only very basic foods like tortillas. As a result, the family is unable to buy formula for Gregorio. “Gregorio’s mother has been supplementing the little milk she makes with water, which depletes Gregorio’s electrolytes and puts him at risk of seizures and permanent brain damage,” WK continues. The inability to produce breast milk—known as lactational failure—is a serious condition for a newborn baby without access to formula. Fortunately, treatment for Gregorio is possible. “Formula will give Gregorio the nutrients, calories, and protein he needs to grow,” WK explains, “His mother will receive one-on-one motivational nutrition education to prepare her to give him solid foods and teach her how to prevent future malnutrition.” $1,016 pays for a one year’s supply of formula and six months of micronutrient support for Gregorio. Funding also covers the cost of a case manager and a nutritionist to help Gregorio’s mother coordinate his care, plan his meals, and monitor his progress. With treatment, “Gregorio's immune system will grow stronger, saving his life and helping his family to be much less stressed economically,” says WK.

$1,016raised
Fully funded