Zack joined Watsi on March 12th, 2013. Five years ago, Zack became the 780th member to automatically support a new Watsi patient every month. Since then, 5,692 more people have become monthly donors! Zack's most recent donation traveled 8,500 miles to support Esther, a sixth grader from Kenya, to fund knee surgery.
Zack has funded healthcare for 82 patients in 15 countries.
Meet Esther, a 13-year-old girl, from a village in Kenya who is in need of treatment for genu varus, a knee condition that impacts her ability to walk. Her aunt told us that Esther likes reading and is very active at home. She helps her mother in doing household chores. Esther came to the hospital with her aunt, her grandmother, and a friend from the village. They told us that her mother could not make it to the hospital since she has a young child and she also has a disability on her feet. Esther is the oldest in a family of two children, with her family hailing from a village in Machakos County. Her mother is a housewife while her father is a farmer. They shared that their family lives in a two-roomed mud-house. Esther was born a healthy child, however at the age of one years old, her family noticed un unusual bowing of her legs. She could also feel pain. Since then her condition has continued to worsen. Currently, Esther is a sixth grade student. She often feels pain while walking, she cannot walk far or carry heavy loads. Her self esteem has also been very low which has affected her studies as well. Surgery will be of great impact to her because she will be able to walk, continue with her education, help her mother, and most of it all her self esteem will improve meaning she will be able to interact with other children comfortably. “If there is any kind of help to help our girl, we will gladly appreciate it,” Esther’s aunt told us.
James is a young man from Kenya. He is single and works as a bus conductor on the Kiambu-Nairobi route. He is on a daily contract and earns an average $3 depending on the day. For the last three months, he has been jobless following the government COVID-19 restrictions that are in place. James shared that his mother is elderly and depends on farming for upkeep. His father passed on years ago. On the 22nd of July, James accidentally hit a brick wall when the vehicle lost control while he was driving the bus to work. James was injured in the accident and fractured his hip. He is now in chronic pain and cannot walk. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner can help. On July 29th, James will undergo a fracture repair procedure, called an open reduction and internal fixation. This procedure will help him walk easily again. Now, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,094 to fund this procedure. James says, "I will be happy to get help so that I can get back to work and help my elderly mother who depends on me.”
Mercy is a 49-year-old single mother of two children from Kenya who makes a living as a street vendor. Mercy has been experiencing heavy bleeding and lower abdominal pains for the past three years. She has been diagnosed with uterine fibroids. She needs to undergo a hysterectomy, a procedure in which surgeons will remove her uterus. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $791 to fund Mercy's surgery. On July 3, she will undergo surgery at our medical partner's care center. Once recovered, Mercy will be able to resume her daily activities free of pain. “I have no one to help me yet this problem is affecting my social life and my ability to work. I am asking for Watsi's help so that I can be well and be able to live a normal life," shared Mercy.
Joseph is a 19-year-old joyful boy who hails from the Mount Elgon area in Kenya. He shared that he is known around the village as the guy with the large mass due to his protruding hernia on his abdomen. In February 2019, Joseph was involved in a road traffic accident when he was headed home from his daily labor. He sustained injuries in his stomach where he was rushed to a hospital and an exploratory laparotomy was done. A few days later, Joseph was discharged from hospital and as his wounds were healing he started developing a mass on his stomach. Joseph feared to go to the hospital again because he didn’t want to be in pain. As the mass grew bigger, Joseph started worrying about his life. He went to his church pastor where the church raised money to send him to the capital city to get it removed but they were told he needed a specialist who demanded a lot of money which they could not afford. Joseph had given up on the possibility of getting treated. It was not until a friend asked his pastor to bring him to our hospital, where he was diagnosed with an incisional hernia that he was happy to be told that his condition can be treated. Joseph's father died of illness while he was young. He dropped out of school in Grade 4 because his mother re-married and she didn't have money to send him to school, so he began to work in farms to help get money for his daily needs like food. Joseph works in the farms and gardens and enjoys planting and farming. He wants to be able to have a big farm and grow lots of vegetables, corn, and millet. Joseph has gone to other doctors to help with his mass but everyone said it wasn’t operable. He is most disturbed by the way people who stare at him. Joseph is a very practical man and looks forward to going back to his farm and working hard to have a good crop and harvest and have a good life. Joseph is worried that he might not get a wife due to his condition. He is also facing stigma by people talking about his condition and has been denied work. If he is not treated, his condition will continue to worsen and his future plans feel bleak to him if he does not get treatment. Joseph told us, “I just want to be able to find a girl to marry and have a family.”
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."
Taing is a 15-year-old student from Cambodia. He has two brothers, four sisters, and he enjoys reading and listening to music. Since Taing was born, he has had swelling of his right foot and ankle. His leg has gradually been increasing over time, and it is difficult for him to walk or wear shoes. When Taing learned about our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, he traveled for seven hours seeking treatment. On March 17th, surgeons at CSC will perform a tumor excision and flap procedure so that he will be able to walk without difficulty, and will no longer feel any pain or discomfort. Taing will be able to be fitted normally with shoes again. Now, he needs help to fund this $657 procedure. "I hope that my son recovers well from his surgery because he is very unhappy and I worry about him a lot." -Taing's Mother
Janet is a baby from Tanzania. She is the third born child in a family of three children. She is a cheerful and curious little girl. Janet's parents own a small shop which sells small home stuffs. Janet was diagnosed with genu valgus. Her legs bow inwards so that her knees touch. 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 can not walk without rubbing her knees together and this is causing her pain and discomfort. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $838 to fund corrective surgery for Janet. The procedure is scheduled to take place on February 28th. Treatment will hopefully restore Janet's mobility, allow her to participate in a variety of activities, and greatly decrease her risk of future complications. Janet's mother says, "I see that my daughter has a problem with her legs, I do not understand much about her condition but it worries me that she may grow up and become disabled if I do not do anything. Please help my daughter."
Aung is a 34-year-old man from Burma who lives with his wife, son, and daughter. Both he and his wife work as government officers. In his free time he likes to read books. Aung was diagnosed with a heart condition that involves a malformation of the mitral valve, the valve between the left atrium and left ventricle. This valve controls the flow of blood, but certain conditions may cause blood to flow backward or the valve to narrow. Currently, Aung feels tired, has chest pains, and has difficulty breathing. However, he can eat and sleep well. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund a mitral valve replacement for Aung. The treatment is scheduled to take place on January 27th and, once completed, will hopefully allow him to live more comfortably. “I want to go back to work [as a] healthy [person] and support my family,” said Aung.
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.”
U Min is a 49-year-old man from Burma. He lives with his wife, son, and daughter. He and his son work as day laborers. His wife stays home to look after household chores, while his daughter studies in grade school. About a month ago, U Min's right heel was injured while he was getting off from the tractor he was driving at work. It was very painful that he went to a clinic in his village to receive treatment. However, his condition did not improved with the treatment, and the wound worsened day by day. He was then advised by the health workers at his village to go to Mawlamyine Christian Leprosy Hospital (MCLH) for further treatment. At MCLH, the doctor did detail assessment of U Min's condition and said that because of his injury, the blood supply to his heel was insufficient. His wound by then has turned into black color, as the tissues around his heel were damaged and have died, and it causes him severe pain, especially at night. Since the doctor could no longer help to make his ulcer healed by treatments, the only option is to do a below knee amputation. U Min said, "It's so painful that I can't bear it anymore. I just want to receive surgery as soon as possible."
Myar is a 34-year-old from Pin Lounge Township, Shan State, Burma. She lives with her husband and four children who are all students. Myar and her husband work as farmers and grown rice, corn and onion depending on the season. In July 2018, Myar moved to Singapore and worked as a domestic worker. After one month of working in Singapore, Myar started to get frequent headaches and felt tired. A few days later, she wanted to go to a clinic but Myar’s employer told her not to go because the treatment cost is very expensive there. However, she feels pain in her chest and couldn’t work anymore. Myar’s sister who stays in Mae Sot asked her to come to Mae Tao Clinic (MTC) in Mae Sot. On July 25th 2019, Myar arrived to Mae Sot Clinic and was referred her to Mae Sot Hospital (MSH) for an echocardiogram. The echo result shows that Myar's heart has a hole and the doctor told her that she would need to undergo surgery. Currently, Myar feels uncomfortable while sleeping because of her chest pain. She sometimes has high fever and she also has difficulty breathing. She is tired very easily. Myar said, “When I am fully recovered, I will work hard with my husband and pay back my debt. I will also support my children so that they can receive an education.”
Aung is a 30-year-old man from Burma. He lives with his wife, daughter and sister in an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp which is close to the Chinese-Burma border town of Lweje in Momauk Township, Kachin State. Today, his wife works as a mathematics teacher at a middle school in the IDP camp. His sister is a student in the IDP camp while his daughter is still too young to go to school. He used to work as a English teacher. Later on, he stopped working in June 2019 due to his poor health. feels exhausted and he is not able to walk for longer than 30 minutes, or he feels tired. His heartbeat is rapid, he has blue lips and sometimes he feels like he is not able to get enough oxygen. He has no appetite and he is not able to sleep well, worrying over his health condition, the cost of his surgery and his inability to access it. Aung was born with ventricular septal defect, a cardiac condition in which a hole exists between the two lower chambers of the heart. Blood leaks through this hole without first passing through his lungs to obtain oxygen, leaving his sick and short of breath. Aung is scheduled to undergo heart surgery on September 15th to correct his condition and improve his quality of life. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to cover the total cost of Aung's procedure and care. Aung said, "Even if I could go someplace else, I wouldn’t be able to do any hard labour due to my condition. And I can’t go to China because I can only speak a little bit of Chinese.”