Geoff joined Watsi on March 12th, 2013. Six years ago, Geoff became the 671st member to automatically support a new Watsi patient every month. Since then, 5,755 more people have become monthly donors! Geoff's most recent donation traveled 8,600 miles to support Min, a man from Thailand, to fund kidney and bladder stones treatment.
Geoff has funded healthcare for 74 patients in 13 countries.
Min lives with his wife, son, and daughter in a village in Tak Province, Thailand. He moved from Burma to Thailand nine months ago in search of better job opportunities. His daughter is still too young to go to school and his wife and son work as day laborers on a farm, each earning 150 baht (approx. 5 USD) per day. Min had to stop working with his wife and son three months ago because of his condition. Their monthly household income of 3,000 baht (approx. 100 USD) is not enough to cover their daily expenses. Sometimes, they have to borrow money from their relatives to meet their basic needs. Four years ago, Min used to work as a construction worker in Bangkok. One day, he started to experience pain in the left side of his abdomen. He went to a clinic twice and was diagnosed with a kidney stone in his left kidney after receiving an ultrasound. The doctor told him that he would need to undergo laser treatment at a hospital to break up the stone. The next day, Min went to a hospital in Bangkok. He received another ultrasound and underwent laser treatment which he did not have to pay for because he had health insurance at that time. When he returned for his follow-up appointment, he underwent another round of laser treatment, followed by more oral medications to take home. Min was not able to return to the hospital because his father passed away before his next appointment and he had to go back to Burma for the funeral. Before he had a chance to return to Bangkok, his mother also passed away. After spending money on the two funerals, Min did not have enough money to return to Bangkok. He moved back in with his wife and children and started working as a day laborer on a farm with his wife in their village. In May 2019, Min started experiencing pain again in his left lower abdomen. He would also pass small stones about twice a month while urinating. He went to a clinic where he received oral medication as well as an ultrasound. The doctor told him that he has a stone in his left kidney as well as small stones in his urethra. Min went back to the same clinic several times for his follow-up appointments, where he received oral medication each time for his abdominal pain. By September 2019, he was feeling much better and was no longer in pain. He was also no longer passing stones when urinating. Min then stopped going back to the clinic and stopped taking medication. Later in December 2019, Min and his family moved to their current home in Thailand and in May 2020, the pain in Min’s lower abdomen returned. He has pain when urinating and has started to pass small stones again about every two weeks. He went to a local hospital in the beginning of May with his wife, and he received an ultrasound. The ultrasound showed that he now has stones in both of his kidneys in addition to a bladder stone. The doctor referred him to Mae Sot Hospital (MSH) for treatment, but his family was not able to afford the estimated cost so he returned home. At home, Min told his friend about his condition and his lack of funds to pay for it. His friend told him to seek help at Mae Tao Clinic (MTC) and with Watsi's Medical Parter Burma Children Medical Fund. Surgery is now scheduled for August 14th. Min shared, “I had to sell my phone to pay for my treatment [the ultrasounds and oral medications] and my transportation when I sought treatment. For the past few days, we don’t have enough rice and we also don’t have any money to buy more food. So we have to eat rice porridge. I feel so sad for my family.”
Phayuok is a 10-year-old student from Cambodia. He lives with his parents and younger sister. His parents are construction workers. Phayouk is in grade three of elementary school and wants to be a policeman when he grows up. For now, he enjoys reading books to his sister and playing soccer. Eight years ago, Phayouk suffered burns on both of his hands. Since then his fingers have been contracted, and he has always found it difficult to pick things up or use everyday tools such as a spoon or a pencil. When Phayuok's family learned about our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, they traveled for three hours seeking treatment. On July 8th, surgeons at CSC will perform a burn contracture release surgery to to release the contracture of his fingers and help him use his hands well again. Now, he needs help to fund this $477 procedure. His mother said, "I hope after this surgery he can have a normal life using his hands, pick things up easily, and write well at school."
Gilbert is a calm and polite boy. He is the second born in a family of four children and hails from Dagoretti in Nairobi county. He is in 3rd grade at a primary school in Nairobi and aspires to be a pilot. Gilbert was brought to our hospital by his mother because he was experiencing pain and could not walk long distances. He has had this condition since he was three years old and it has significantly impacted his ability to go to school. Gilbert's mother shared that, “I sometimes carry him to school as his knees knock against each other which hinders his movement. But when I have money, I will pay for a motorbike to take him and his brother to school.” His mother works part-time cleaning houses, washing clothes, and performing other household work she may be given. Gibert's father is a street pastor and works as a street vendor. The family lives in a one-bedroom rental house in Nairobi and they shared with us that they feel life is hard because they do not have the resources to buy everything they need. Gilbert was able to already have his right leg treated which is now healed. He now needs support for the surgery on his left knee. With both knees healed, Gilbert will be able to walk comfortably and continue with his studies.
Harrison is an elderly man from the Rift Valley in Kenya. For the last two years, his hearing has gradually deteriorated, making him struggle with communication. He had been to a different hospital previously and was given hearing drops. However, his hearing did not improve and he has now sought treatment at Watsi's Medical Partner Care Center Kijabe Hospital. The audiologist recommended hearing aids for him which would improve his hearing and communication ability. Harrison is a father of 12, who have all made their own families too. His eldest son supports him and his wife from time to time. Harrison used to work in his farm but no longer does due to his older age. Because of ongoing flooding in his area, Harrison and his neighbors have been evicted from their houses as a nearby lake continues to swell. They did not get any compensation and his children are now paying for his single-roomed rental space. He is not able to meet the entire cost of hearing aids and appeals for help. Harrison shared, “I will be delighted to hear with better clarity than I am currently.”
Lengelai is a secondary school student from Tanzania who loves geography and mathematics. He has not made up his mind yet regarding who he wants to be when he grows up; he thinks maybe a teacher or maybe a doctor but he is worried because he finds chemistry a little challenging. He is a third-born child to his mother and one of many children to his father who has four wives and many children. Lengelai does not know half of his siblings but knows that they live elsewhere in another town. Lengelai's father is a pastoralist and his mother is a stay-at-home mom. Lengelai has clubfoot of his right foot. Clubfoot is a condition in which the foot is twisted out of shape. This causes difficulty walking and even wearing shoes. Fortunately, Lengelai traveled to visit our medical partner's care center, Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre. There, surgeons will perform clubfoot repair surgery on February 11th. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $890 to fund Lengelai's clubfoot repair. After treatment, he will be able to walk easily and wear shoes. Lengelai says, “My life would be a little bit easier if am able to have this foot treated as I am struggling a lot. Please help.”
Alex is a second grade student from Kenya. He is the second born in a family of three chidlren. Our medical partner came to learn that Alex and his siblings stay with their grandfather, who is a widower; he helps to feed them, clean them, and prepare them for school every day. Alex’s father separated from his mother and she subsequently left him with their three children. Having challenges with alcoholism, Alex's father could not care for them and so their grandfather decided to take the children to his house and tend for them. Alex’s grandfather does hawking for a living; selling artificial flowers with little income. In December 2019, Alex fell while playing on the bed and sustained closed fracture left elbow joint. He is in pain and cannot use his hand freely. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner can help. On March 18th, Alex will undergo a fracture repair procedure, called an open reduction and internal fixation. This procedure will allow him heal and not develop a deformity. Now, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $998 to fund this procedure. “I look at this child and would not like to see him with a deformed hand. May God touch those people of Watsi to help him and I will appreciate it,” said Alex's grandfather.
Joseph is a bodaboda taxi operator from Kenya. Joseph relies on his motorcycle to make a living. To supplement their limited income, his wife sells charcoal in a small makeshift kiosk. As a father of one, he is worried of not being able to meet his family’s needs. Joseph was involved in a road accident on 31st January 2020 in his hometown, few kilometers from Watsi Medical Partner Kijabe Hospital. The accident left him with multiple fractures on his face and lacerations. He cannot eat and is in constant pain. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner can help. On February 6th, Joseph will undergo a fracture repair procedure, called an open reduction and internal fixation. He will be able to chew his food again and no longer suffer pain. Now, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,451 to fund this procedure. Joseph says, “My hope is to recover quickly and resume my fatherly duties of provision.”
Neath is a ten year old girl from Cambodia. She has two older brothers, an older sister, and she loves to drink soy milk and eat fried chicken. When she is not studying, her favorite pastimes are reading books, watching television, and going for walks with her friends. Neath was born with congenital scoliosis. She has undergone several treatments in the past to correct her spine as she grows, and a growing rod was placed along her spine to assist with alignment. However, the rod has to be realigned to ensure successful treatment and outcomes for Neath. Surgery will ensure that Neath can grow up without any difficulty and discomfort. "I hope that my daughter's surgery will go well and that she will recover after her surgery." -Neath's Mother
Shwe Win is a 39-year-old man who lives with wife, two daughters, and two sons in Yangon, Burma. Shwe Win used to work as a civil engineer but is currently unemployed. His wife is a teacher and all of his children go to school. Their monthly household income is enough to pay for their expenses and basic health care, but they have to use their savings to pay for all the children’s school fees. In the beginning of 2018, Shwe Win developed severe pain in his waist and back. He went to a local hospital to see a doctor, who ordered an ultrasound, x-rays, a blood test and a urine test. After checking his results, the doctor told him that he has a stone in his left kidney. He was given an injection, and the doctor told him that he would need to be admitted at a hospital to have the stone broken up surgically. Afterwards, Shwe Win would be in pain anytime he lifted anything heavy or sat for longer than 30 minutes. Whenever the pain became unbearable, he would take painkillers. In June 2019, he decided to join a rehabilitation program run by Christian Youth. When he finished the program, he developed severe pain again. This time, neither the painkillers nor the injection worked. He was referred again to the hospital. There he was admitted for five days because he was in so much pain that he vomited and had difficulty breathing. While admitted, he received an ultrasound and was told that he now had stones in both of his kidneys. He would need to have treatment to break up the stones. "I feel thankful that I was able to meet Burma Children Medical Fund. If I hadn’t come here, I wouldn’t have pursued treatment because I don’t want to be a burden on my siblings nor my wife anymore,” shared Shwe Win.
Dachena is a student from Haiti. She lives with her parents, grandparents, and siblings in a neighborhood of Port-au-Prince. She likes going to school and singing in her church choir. Dachena has a cardiac condition called rheumatic mitral regurgitation. One of the four valves of her heart was severely damaged by a rheumatic fever she suffered in childhood, and can no longer adequately pump blood through her body. Dachena will fly to the Dominican Republic to receive treatment. On October 29th, she will undergo cardiac surgery, during which surgeons will attempt to repair her valve; if they are unable to do so, they will implant an artificial replacement. Another organization, The Mitral Foundation, is contributing $7500 to pay for surgery. Dachena'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 Dachena's family overseas. Dachena said, "I hope that after surgery I will have more energy to do the things I enjoy!"
Said is an infant from Tanzania. Said is a handsome and cheerful infant. He has been in the hospital for some time being treated off bilateral club foot. He was diagnosed with the condition upon birth and treatment commenced a few weeks later. However, the mother and grandmother could not keep up with the cost of casting and manipulation. They were referred to ALMC where manipulation and casting were recommended. If not treated, Said will be at risk of permanent disability. Said's grandmother is the only provider in the family through subsistence farming. She further has the responsibility of caring for her other children. She is afraid that treatment for her grandson might be halted due to their finances. Fortunately, Said traveled to visit our medical partner's care center, Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre. There, surgeons will perform clubfoot repair surgery on October 11. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $890 to fund Said's clubfoot repair. After treatment, Said will be able to walk with ease and free from permanent disability. Said’s mother says, “I don’t want my son to grow up disabled but we are unable to afford the treatment cost, please help.”
Enelo lives in a small town in southwestern Haiti with his mother and father; he is their first child. Shortly after birth, he was diagnosed with two holes in his heart: atrial septal defect, between the two upper chambers; and ventricular septal defect, between the two lower chambers. During surgery, doctors will use patches to close both of these holes so that his heart can pump blood normally.