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Success! Quinel from Kenya raised $1,097 to treat a serious neurological condition.

  • $1,097 raised, $0 to go
to go
Fully funded
Quinel's treatment was fully funded on October 11, 2016.

Photo of Quinel post-operation

November 17, 2016

Quinel successfully was treated for a serious neurological condition.

Quinel’s surgery was successful! The surgery has greatly minimized the risk of acquiring an infection on an open spine. Her father was extremely grateful that this help came at the time they were in severe financial restraints.

“I have no words to express how grateful I am. I will raise my daughter in a way that she helps people in future and it is the same thing I practice onward,” shares Quinel’s father. “Please know that you have touched our hearts in a great way and we will always remember you for the great deed.”

Quinel’s surgery was successful! The surgery has greatly minimized the risk of acquiring an infection on an open spine. Her father was extre...

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October 5, 2016

Born less than one month ago, Quinel lives with her parents and older sister in a one-room rental house in Kenya. Her mother is a housewife, and her father is employed casually as a carpenter.

Quinel was born with a cystic mass on her lower back. Her condition—known as spina bifida—is a birth defect in which several vertebrae in the lower back do not close properly, leaving the baby’s spinal canal exposed. The spinal cord and its surrounding membranes protrude through the opening in the backbone, forming a sac on the baby’s lower back.

Without treatment, Quinel is at a risk of acquiring infections and experiencing delayed physical development. In children with spina bifida, the exposed spinal canal allows the spinal cord to attach to other tissues in the lower back. The cord can become tethered to those tissues and cannot move freely within the spinal canal, leading to back or leg pain, weakness or numbness of the legs or feet, and difficulty standing or walking.

Doctors immediately referred Quinel for specialized treatment at BethanyKids Kijabe Hospital to save her from the effects that come with the condition. At BethanyKids, an immediate operation is required at a cost, but Quinel’s parents are not able to raise the funds required for her surgical care.

For $1097, Quinel will undergo a surgical procedure to place her spinal cord back inside the spinal canal and close the opening on her back. Funding for Quinel also covers the costs of a ten-day hospital stay, three days of physical therapy, imaging, lab tests, and medicine.

“It’s a tough battle, but I believe we will get through,” share Quinel’s mother. “My utmost prayer is that Quinel gets treated.”

Born less than one month ago, Quinel lives with her parents and older sister in a one-room rental house in Kenya. Her mother is a housewife,...

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Quinel's Timeline

  • October 5, 2016

    Quinel was submitted by Joan Kadagaya, Curative Medical Support Program-Partner Representative at African Mission Healthcare.

  • October 6, 2016

    Quinel received treatment at BethanyKids Kijabe Hospital (BKKH) in Kenya. Medical partners often provide care to patients accepted by Watsi before those patients are fully funded, operating under the guarantee that the cost of care will be paid for by donors.

  • October 10, 2016

    Quinel's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • October 11, 2016

    Quinel's treatment was fully funded.

  • November 17, 2016

    Quinel's treatment was successful. Read the update.

Funded by 3 donors

Funded by 3 donors

Spina Bifida Closure
  • Cost Breakdown
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
On average, it costs $1,097 for Quinel's treatment
Hospital Fees
Medical Staff
  • Symptoms
  • Impact on patient's life
  • Cultural or regional significance

​What kinds of symptoms do patients experience before receiving treatment?

The patient has a mass or lesion on the back that leaks cerebral spinal fluid, which puts him or her at risk of infection.

​What is the impact on patients’ lives of living with these conditions?

Spina bifida can cause incontinence, bladder and kidney damage, and paralysis and numbness in the lower limbs, bladder, and sphincter. It can also lead to hydrocephalus as a result of disturbance to the fluid in the brain. Hydrocephalus can lead to cognitive dysfunction, blindness, and death.

What cultural or regional factors affect the treatment of these conditions?

Spina bifida is more common in developing countries due to improper and inadequate nutrition. Foods containing folic acid are scarce, and food is not fortified. In Kenya, however, the Ministry of Health has recently started a program to give expectant mothers folic acid for free at government facilities.

  • Process
  • Impact on patient's life
  • Risks and side-effects
  • Accessibility
  • Alternatives

What does the treatment process look like?

After surgery, the patient's hospital stay ranges from two days to three weeks. The length of stay depends on the healing rate of the wound and will be extended if the patient also undergoes a shunt insertion to treat hydrocephalus. However, shunt insertions are usually performed about one month after this surgery. The patient is continually monitored. If the wound heals and the patient is in a neurologically stable condition, the surgery is considered successful.

What is the impact of this treatment on the patient’s life?

Surgery performed within the first days of a child’s life prevents infection and saves the spine and brain from further damage. Early surgery also minimizes the risk of paralysis. Later treatment may save the child's life and prevent further damage.

What potential side effects or risks come with this treatment?

This surgery is moderately risky, and complications depend on the severity of the case.

How accessible is treatment in the area? What is the typical journey like for a patient to receive care?

There are few quality care centers in the region. Hospitals lack adequate resources and expertise to treat this condition. With about one neurosurgeon per 10,000,000 people in East Africa, initial treatment for spina bifida is often unavailable.

What are the alternatives to this treatment?

Surgery is the primary option for most types of spina bifida.

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.


Mercy is a 28-year-old subsistence farmer from Malawi. She lives in a grass-thatched house with her husband and their three children. Her oldest child is nine years old and attends school, while her youngest is five years old. She and her husband also take care of her 93-year-old grandmother who depends on them. Mercy and her husband farm together and their farm produces enough food to feed the family, but not enough to sell a surplus. To supplement their income, she and her husband also work on other people's farms. In 2018, Mercy noticed a small lump on the left side of her neck. Over the years, the lump has grown and is hard and painful. After having several appointments rescheduled, Mercy finally got a scan and was referred to a lab for thyroid tests and to a surgeon. The lab tests and transportation costs have greatly impacted her family’s income, and it has taken her three years to have all of the required testing. She was finally diagnosed with an enlarged thyroid and surgery was recommended to heal her condition. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH) is helping Mercy to receive treatment. On September 2nd, she will undergo a thyroidectomy at AMH's care center. Now, she needs help raising $1,015 to fund her procedure and care. Mercy shared, "this condition is not only affecting me, but mainly my helpless 93 years old grandmother and also my family. I can no longer draw water for my grandmother and my children are too young to help. My husband is now getting exhausted combining farm work and household chores. Please assist me with this surgery so I can start helping my family again."

82% funded

$173to go

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.