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Success! Lucas from Tanzania raised $1,369 to fund life-saving neurosurgery.

  • $1,369 raised, $0 to go
to go
Fully funded
Lucas's treatment was fully funded on December 25, 2017.

Photo of Lucas post-operation

August 23, 2017

Lucas underwent life-saving neurosurgery.

Lucas’s surgeries went well, and he is doing so much better. The doctors started with closing Lucas’s spinal gap first, then went ahead and inserted a shunt to relieve pressure on his brain. He is recovering well but still under observation.

Lucas’s mother says, “I would like to thank God for everything that he has blessed me for, because I did not expect that Lucas will get treatment on time. I thank God for all those who made Lucas to receive treatment, and God bless them.”

Lucas’s surgeries went well, and he is doing so much better. The doctors started with closing Lucas’s spinal gap first, then went ahead and ...

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June 19, 2017

Only one month old, Lucas is a gentle baby boy who is his parent’s first-born child. His father works as a motorcycle taxi driver, transporting passengers from one place to another, while his mother stays at home, looking after the family and doing other home activities. The family lives in a rental house in eastern Tanzania.

Lucas was born with hydrocephalus with a myelomeningocele. A myelomeningocele—a type of 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. As many as 90 percent of children with meningomyelocele also have hydrocephalus, a condition in which there is an accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain that causes the head to increase in size.

Without treatment, Lucas will experience increased pressure on his brain, which can cause brain damage and ultimately death. There is also the risk that the sac on his back will become infected, leading to further damage to the spinal cord and possibly preventing him from walking.

Lucas could not receive treatment earlier because there were no surgeons available at the hospital where he was born. In addition, his family did not have enough money to pay for the surgery that he needed. He was referred to Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre (ALMC), a care center of our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF), for treatment and support.

AMHF requests $1,369 to pay for two surgical procedures for Lucas. In one procedure—meningomyelocele closure—surgeons will place the spinal cord and nerves back inside the backbone and cover them with membranes before closing the opening in his spine. In the other operation—endoscopic third ventriculostomy—surgeons will create a bypass through a thin membrane in the bottom (or floor) of a specific region of Lucas’s brain. The cerebrospinal fluid will then flow up and over the surface of the brain and into the bloodstream. Lucas’s surgery is scheduled for June 21.

Funding also covers the costs of ten days of hospital care, imaging, blood work, medicine, and 25 days of accommodation for recovery and rehabilitation. Lucas’s family is contributing $45 to cover additional expenses associated with his care.

“I will be very happy and very thankful if Lucas gets treatment,” shares Lucas’s mother.

Only one month old, Lucas is a gentle baby boy who is his parent's first-born child. His father works as a motorcycle taxi driver, transport...

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Lucas's Timeline

  • June 19, 2017

    Lucas was submitted by Joan Kadagaya, Curative Medical Support Program-Partner Representative at African Mission Healthcare, our medical partner in Tanzania.

  • June 26, 2017

    Lucas received treatment at Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre (ALMC). 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.

  • August 15, 2017

    Lucas's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • August 23, 2017

    Lucas's treatment was successful. Read the update.

  • December 25, 2017

    Lucas's treatment was fully funded.

Funded by 28 donors

Funded by 28 donors

Myelomeningocoele w/ hydrocephalus
  • Cost Breakdown
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
On average, it costs $1,369 for Lucas'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?

Symptoms of hydrocephalus include an enlarged head size, irritability, abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain, and increased intracranial pressure. Cognitive development can be affected, and damage to the optic nerve can cause blindness.

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

In young children, hydrocephalus affects brain development, cognition, and vision. In older children and adults, hydrocephalus also causes headaches.

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

The burden of infant hydrocephalus in East Africa is significant, with more than 6,000 new cases estimated per year. The majority are caused by neonatal infection and vitamin deficiency, and should thus be preventable. In East Africa, the single most common cause of hydrocephalus is infection, usually via neonatal meningitis or ventriculitis. Neonatal sepsis is common and is exacerbated by the lack of skilled perinatal care for the majority of births in Africa.

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

What does the treatment process look like?

Hydrocephalus patients are usually treated within a few days of arriving at the hospital. Fortunately, our medical partner can accept many patients who would otherwise go home if they could not afford the surgery cost. Treatment involves inserting a shunt into the brain to route cerebrospinal fluid to another part of the body. One month after surgery, the patient returns for a follow-up appointment.

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

This surgery is lifesaving. The patient will no longer be at risk of cognitive and vision damage. Surgical treatment for hydrocephalus can restore and maintain normal cerebrospinal fluid levels in the brain.

What potential side effects or risks come with this treatment?

This condition is treatable, though the outcome depends on how quickly the disease is identified and treated.

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 hydrocephalus is often unavailable.

What are the alternatives to this treatment?

Surgery is the only option.

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.