Ravi joined Watsi on March 12th, 2013. Six years ago, Ravi became the 17th member to automatically support a new Watsi patient every month. Since then, 6,455 more people have become monthly donors! Ravi's most recent donation traveled 8,300 miles to support Khin, a university student from Burma, to fund cardiac surgery.
Ravi has funded healthcare for 86 patients in 12 countries.
Htay is a 26-year-old-Araknese woman who lives with her younger sister in Yangon, Burma. Htay is in her final year of university. Her sister works as a seamstress in a shop and earns 200,000 kyat (approx.200 USD) per month. Their parents and their eldest sister are rice farmers in Rakhine State. Every year, they sell half of their harvest to earn an income. Htay's sister in Yangon sends their parents money occasionally, while their parents support Htay's medical expenses. The income that Htay's sister earns is enough to cover their daily expenses and pay for basic health care. In 2018, Htay started to feel very tired and could not sleep well at night. She also experienced chest pains if she walked anywhere far. She took traditional medicine which helped her feel and sleep better. However, she continued to feel tired and experience pain. One day in 2019, a neighbor who has a heart condition, told her that she could have a heart disease like her; the neighbor had also experienced the same symptoms as Htay. The neighbor advised her to seek treatment at Pinlon Hospital in Yangon, where the neighbor had undergone heart surgery. Htay decided to follow the neighbor's recommendation and also moved in with her sister in Yangon for extra support. In December 2019, Htay went to Pinlon Hospital to see a cardiologist. After receiving an echocardiogram (echo), the doctor told her that two valves in her heart no longer work and that she would need to receive surgery to replace those valves. The doctor also told her that because her condition is not severe, she did not need surgery yet. She received six month's worth of medication and a follow-up appointment for June 17th, 2020. When Htay came back for her appointment, she received another echo and an x-ray. After checking her results, the doctor told her that her condition had progressed and she now needed surgery, which would cost 15,000,000 kyat (approx.15,000 USD). When they learned about the price of the procedure, Htay and her sister lost hope of ever getting Htay treatment; they could not afford to pay such a large sum of money. When Htay told a nurse at the hospital called Sandar Ko about their financial situation, the nurse told her about an abbot who might be able to help her. The abbot heads Kyaung Gyi Parahita Monastery and is a partner of Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF). Htay called the abbot and asked for help accessing surgery. The abbot then referred Htay to Watsi's Medical Partner BCMF for assistance receiving treatment at Pinlon Hospital. Currently, Htay feels tired and suffers from chest pains when she walks a lot. She cannot sleep very well at night and she feels short of breath at least twice a week. To try and cope with her symptoms mentally, she prays or recites Dhamma. She also tries to help her sister with household chore such as cooking and sweeping. She hopes that she will be able to continue her studies after surgery and she would like to work for the government as a civil servant once she graduates. Htay shared, “When I graduate, I will work and support my parents because they are getting old and they will not be able to work on the farm in the future.”
Sean is a 64-year-old farmer who makes a living selling her crops locally. Her husband died four years ago from heart disease, but she has nine children in the area. She lives with one of her daughters, and together they help take care of her nine grandchildren. In her free time she loves to visit the local pagodas and take part in celebrations and ceremonies. 2 years ago, Sean started to experience back pain. She was able to work despite this pain, but the condition got worse over time. She was able to obtain painkillers which helped her continue to function. However, she recently has felt her pain increasing again. She experiences too much pain to be able to walk or stand for longer than a few minutes, and has difficulty sleeping. Luckily, Sean has come to Children's Surgical Centre, for help and doctors will be able to perform a laminectomy to relieve pressure on the nerves in her spinal cord. She will feel immediate pain relief and will have a much easier time doing all of her daily activities. She will also be able to return to her work and take care of her grandchildren.
Abdulkirim is a baby from Ethiopia. He is a cute boy who loves to play with other children and with his mom. He is a happy child and has one sibling. Abdulkirim underwent a colostomy, in which the end of the colon is brought through an opening in the abdominal wall. This surgery is often performed to bypass bowel malformations, but colostomies are usually temporary and may call for closure. In Abdulkirim's case, his colostomy requires closure in order to restore bowel function and prevent future complications. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,057 to cover the cost of a colostomy closure for Abdulkirim. The surgery is scheduled to take place on June 30 and, once completed, will hopefully allow him to live more comfortably and confidently. Abdulkirim's mom shared, "We sold all our animals and we asked for help from our community twice. When we came to Addis Ababa, our son had already undergone two operations and we were struggling with finances. We were out of money to even pay for our hotel. I was so worried and afraid, but we are now hopeful that he will get the surgery and it will be successful. We hope he will grow up to be a healthy boy and achieve a lot by getting a good education.”
Thi is a 31-year-old woman who lives with her husband, father-in-law, nephew and daughter in Shwepythar Town in the Yangon Division of Burma. Thi is a homemaker while her husband is an electrician. Thi’s nephew and her daughter are students. In mid-February 2019, Thi developed a fever, a cough, and difficulty breathing. She went to the nearest clinic where she received an injection and oral medication to treat her fever and cough. When she took the medication she felt better, but the next day, she had difficulty breathing, felt tired, had a sharp pain in her chest, and a rapid heartbeat. She then went to a hospital in Yangon, where she received another injection, oral medication, and an x-ray. After the doctor diagnosed her with asthma, she also received a nebulizer for her asthma. Once the doctor checking her had the x-ray results, the doctor told her that her heart is enlarged and referred her to another hospital for further investigation. There she received an echocardiogram (echo) and another x-ray. After her results came in, the doctor told her that her heart valves are not working well and that she might have to replace two of the valves in her heart. She was diagnosed with mitral valve stenosis, mitral valve regurgitation, aortic valve stenosis, and aortic valve regurgitation. The doctor also told her that the surgery would cost 2.5 million kyat (approx. 2,500 USD). Thi could not afford to pay such a large amount and when she told the doctor this, the doctor provided her with oral medication every month. She did not feel better after she took the medication. Last month, Thi’s husband was setting up the electricity in his friend’s house when he met a cardiologist. The doctor had come to look after his friend’s sister, who has a heart condition. Thi’s husband had told his friend about Thi’s heart condition and his friend introduced him to the cardiologist. After he told the doctor about Thi’s condition, the doctor told him to bring her in to his office with her medical records. After they came into his office and doctor reviewed her medical records, he referred her to Watsi's Medical Partner Care Center Pinlon Hospital to finally receive the treatment she needs. Currently, Thi feels tired, has difficulty breathing and cannot walk long distances. Aside from her symptoms, she is very stressed and upset about her financial situation. In her free time, Thi likes to do housework and bring her daughter to and from school. In the future, when she is fully recovered, she would like to work as a seamstress and save money for her family. Thi said, “I think too much about my condition and worry about the treatment’s cost. So, I cannot sleep at night and I have a small appetite.” Thi’s husband said, “I have to accompany her whenever my wife visits the hospital. My daughter and I have had to stop working and attending school whenever she is sick. I feel bad for my wife because she cries every night since she found out that she needs to receive surgery.” Thi added, “I am very afraid to die and to lose my family as my daughter is still young.”
Ratha has one sister and one brother. She attends kindergarten and already enjoys Khmer books and reading as her favorite subject. Ratha likes to drink milk :) and she wants to be a doctor when she grows up. Her mother is a rice farmer and her father is a construction worker. Ratha was born with scoliosis. Her parents took her to a local public hospital for treatment, but unfortunately their surgeries made her worse off. She is in pain and it is now hard for her walk. She has now been absent from school during this time and needs a corrective spinal surgery with rods distraction to treat her scoliosis. Ratha's mother shared, "she can't do anything, which makes me worry very much about her treatment. I hope that the surgery will be done well, so my daughter can walk again and return to school."
Keith is a 12-year-old from Kenya. He is the first born child in a family of two, both of whom are students in grade three. They hail from Kaptul village which is known to be a rural area with less access to medical and social services. His parents are peasant farmers and they depend on seasonal farm products like mangoes and cassavas for commercial purpose. The money they get from those farm products is not enough to sustain the family for their daily needs. Therefore they depend on well-wishers for food and clothing when they don’t have farm products to sell. Four days ago, Keith fell from a high height and sustained trauma with injuries on right leg. A right tibia fracture was revealed by x-ray on his arrival to the hospital. Keith was looking after his grandmother’s cattle when he fell into a ditch. He is now in pain and cannot walk. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner can help. On February 20th, Keith will undergo a fracture repair procedure, called an open reduction and internal fixation. This procedure will help him heal well and be able to walk again. Now, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $968 to fund this procedure. Keith’s mother says, “He is hardworking and he is liked by his grandmother for being honest and taking responsibility. He will be missed by his grandmother, who is wishing him quick recovery.”
Abigael is a three-year-old girl from Kenya. Her mother is a 20-year-old student due to complete her high school education. Her grandmother and uncle are the sole breadwinners of the family. From bi-monthly payments of selling milk, her grandmother makes $15 which mostly pays fees for her children. This leaves her grandmother with little income to take care of any other family needs. Abigael is a playful young girl. When she was two years old, in 2018, Abigael was playing with her friends and she ran into the kitchen, falling into boiling water. She dipped her left hand into the water and had spillover on her gluteal region. She is now not able to move her fingers. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is helping Abigael receive treatment. On February 19th, surgeons at their care center will perform a burn contracture release surgery so she will be able to move her fingers easily. Now, she needs help to fund this $1,176 procedure. Abigael’s grandmother says, “My prayer is to see my grandchild utilizing her hand with ease.”
Ko Myo Zaw is a 41-year-old man who lives with his wife in Burma. He and his wife used to work as a seamster and sew children’s clothing. However, Ko Myo stopped working more than a year ago because of his poor health and he now relies on his wife’s income. On the 18th of June 2018, Ko Myo developed pain in his left waist after sitting for a long time. He then had to stand up every two hours to reduce the pain. This continued for a few more months, until he was no longer able to work. A year after he first experienced these symptoms, he went to Myawaddy Hospital to see a doctor. He received an x-ray and ultrasound which revealed he has a kidney stone in his left kidney. The doctor gave him medication to breakup the stone and Ko Myo took the medication for one year. The medication reduced the pain during the first month, but returned a month after that. By the 29th of May 2019, he could no longer take the pain and went to see the doctor at Myawaddy Hospital. The doctor then gave him stronger medications to reduce the pain and break up the stone. At the suggestion of a neighbor, he decided to seek treatment at Mae Tao Clinic (MTC) across the border in Thailand, which he was told provides charitable health care. On 5th of October 2019, he arrived at MTC. The next day, he was brought to the local hospital where he received an ultrasound and an appointment to undergo laser treatment to breakup the kidney stone. He took out a loan to pay for the first round of treatment on November 24th, 2019. When he returned to the clinic in January to undergo a follow-up ultrasound, he was told they also found stones in his right kidney. Unable to pay for further treatment, Ko Myo was referred to Watsi Medical Partner Burma Children Medical Fund for assistance in accessing further treatment. Ko Myo's next appointment to undergo a second round of laser treatment will be on Jaunary 28th. He will complete treatment for the kidney stone in his left kidney, before he receives treatment for the stones in his other kidney. Currently, Ko Myo still has pain in his waist. Sometimes he feels tired and the area around his left waist feels hot. "Once I recover I would like to go back to work and pay back my loan," said Ko Myo.
Robdu is a beautiful and playful baby girl from Ethiopia. She was born with an anorectal malformation, a birth defect where a child has an imperforate anus or they have no opening in their anus. She developed bowel obstruction because of the condition and an emergency colostomy was done. She has also had multiple issues with her colostomy care, requiring constant hospital visits. She is planned for PSARP in our facility to correct the congenital defect. Robdu and her two brothers live with their parents in Ethiopia. Her father relies on subsistence farming to make ends meet while her mother is a housewife. They do not have funds required for the surgery and so appeal for financial assistance. Robdu is scheduled to undergo surgery to correct her condition on December 31st. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,500 to cover the total cost of Robdu's procedure and care. After her recovery, Robdu will no longer experience bowel dysfunction or be at risk of developing health complications in the future. Her dad said, “I hope she will get well. And it is my dream to educate her and see her achieving so big in her life.”
Brian is 16 years old and the second born in a family of four children in Kenya. His mother used to look after the cerebral palsy children at the cerebral palsy society of Kenya but is currently at home while his father is a hawker in Nairobi. Brian was born without any complications but at the age of one he suffered from malaria and while on treatment the doctors confirmed he had cerebral palsy. He can neither walk nor sit upright. His mother often takes him to a therapy session 3 times a week to avoid stiffness of his hand and leg. “Last week Brian started crying uncontrollably. I noticed a swelling on his hip and we immediately took him to Mama Lucy Kibaki hospitals. An x-ray was taken and showed a fracture on his femur, so we were referred to CURE hospital for specialized care,” Brian’s mother told us. Currently Brian is in pain and discomfort as he cannot stretch his foot further. Fortunately, he is scheduled to undergo hip repair surgery. This treatment will be good as it will stabilize and heal the broken bone as well as re-align the bone. It will enhance his mobility once he heals and reduce his pain. Brian's father shared, “I am kindly requesting for support; my joy would be to see my son without pain and walking like other children. God bless you."
Davy is a 40-year-old mother of three from Cambodia. In her free time, she likes to watch television, and cook and take care of her children. Two months ago, Davy had an accident while working out in the rice fields, injuring her left shoulder. She can no longer work because of the pain and cannot move her left shoulder. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, can help. On September 11th, Davy will undergo a fracture repair procedure, which will cost $430. Treatment will help to realign her shoulder and allow her bend and lift her arm with ease. "I hope that after my surgery, I will be able to work again and will not have any pain."
Mary walks into my office with the top of her cardigan covering her chin. She sits on the chair opposite me with one hand clasping the top of her black cardigan to veil the swell running from her jawline to her neck. The lower lip protrudes with a peeping swelling attached in so that her upper lip cannot touch the lower one. This has been Mary’s life for over 6 months. Late last year, Mary developed a small swelling on her jaw. It was not painful and therefore she did not think of it as serious. As time passed, the swell grew in size. Mary who could eat just about anything now has restrictions on what she can eat. There is pain when she bends and this has also obstructed her working. Mary is married with two children. She was a subsistence farmer before the condition restricted her activities. Mary and her husband depend on one of their daughter who sells second-hand clothes. Besides helping her parents, she has four children under her care. Mary says, “Please help me because I can barely eat."