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Leonardo from Guatemala raised $512 for life-saving nutritional therapy.

  • $512 raised, $0 to go
to go
Fully funded
Leonardo's treatment was fully funded on June 24, 2016.

Photo of Leonardo post-operation

October 17, 2016

Leonardo successfully has begun receiving nutritional therapy.

Leonardo has been making steady progress with his growth since his treatment began, however his development of language and motor skills has been delayed. The medical team has decided to take him on as a long-term patient and run a full workup on him to determine if a possible hormonal imbalance or a genetic defect is limiting his ability to develop normally. We are hopeful that we can help Leonardo continue to make progress with his growth and help him catch up on the developmental milestones he has missed with additional treatment.

“Our family is appreciative of this program, it is such a great benefit for our son,” shares Leonardo’s mother, “Thank God he has improved with the food and the classes. He is eating better than before and wants to play with his ball!”

Leonardo has been making steady progress with his growth since his treatment began, however his development of language and motor skills has...

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May 31, 2016

“Leonardo’s mother has been worried, because she has noticed that her son is not growing as well as the other kids and doesn’t know what to do. He is suffering from malnutrition, and will not be able to grow until he has access to an adequate diet,” reports our medical partner, Wuqu’ Kawoq (WK).

“His lack of calories has not only stunted his physical growth, but slowed his developmental milestones – he still cannot walk or stand without support, a benchmark most children reach by about age one. Additionally, his immune system has grown weak due to his lack of calories. He gets frequent bouts of diarrhea, putting his life in danger and preventing him from having the energy to grow and play. In the long term, he could face low IQ, chronic diseases, and difficulty finding a good job if he does not receive treatment,” continues WK.

“Leonardo is the youngest of two children. He lives with his family in a one-room adobe house with a tin roof in a rural mountainous community in Guatemala. His mother works at home, taking care of Leonardo and his brother, cooking, and cleaning,” shares WK. “His father works as a bricklayer. Although they both make many sacrifices for him, they are unable to buy him even the most basic healthy foods–they cannot afford even one egg, fruit, or vegetable per day.”

“Growth monitoring, micronutrient and food supplementation, and deworming medication will help Leonardo recover from malnutrition–saving his life now and putting him on track to live a better life in the future. He will gain weight and grow taller to catch up with other children his age. His immune system will grow stronger with the increased caloric intake, preventing him from having any more life-threatening situations with diarrhea, fevers, and cough. This will further increase his appetite and help him use the extra calories to develop mentally instead of those calories being wasted on getting over frequent illnesses,” adds WK.

“His parents will receive the support they need to feel empowered to give Leonardo a diet to grow and develop healthily. Intervention now will prevent the future devastating effects of malnutrition, and give Leonardo the chance to live a healthy and productive life, finish school, get a good job, and escape the cycle of malnutrition and poverty that made him sick in the first place.”

Leonardo’s mother adds, “I want my son to grow and study in the future.” Let’s help make that a reality.

"Leonardo's mother has been worried, because she has noticed that her son is not growing as well as the other kids and doesn't know what to ...

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Leonardo's Timeline

  • May 31, 2016

    Leonardo was submitted by Jessica Hawkins at Wuqu’ Kawoq.

  • June 3, 2016

    Leonardo received treatment at Clinic Panajachel in Guatemala. 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.

  • June 19, 2016

    Leonardo's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • June 24, 2016

    Leonardo's treatment was fully funded.

  • October 17, 2016

    We received an update on Leonardo. Read the update.

Funded by 8 donors

Funded by 8 donors

Acute Malnutrition
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
  • Symptoms
  • Impact on patient's life
  • Cultural or regional significance

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

Children generally face stunted physical growth, delayed mental and motor development, low appetite, and frequent illness. Malnourished children have weakened immune systems that put them at risk of diarrhea, fevers, and respiratory illnesses. This treatment treats growth failure in small children usually under 2 years of age. The most common form of growth failure in children in Guatemala is called stunting. This is a form of malnutrition where weight is relatively normal but height is severely reduced.

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

Stunting has major effects on the developing brain. Stunted children have low IQ and they don’t make major developmental milestones. These effects persist into adulthood, where they impact schooling and economic potential. Furthermore, stunting contributes to the development of serious adult illness like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

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

Indigenous Guatemalans are one of the most marginalized and vulnerable populations in the world. They live in rural areas and suffer from high rates of food insecurity. The poorest indigenous Guatemalan villages have the highest rates of stunting in the world.

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

What does the treatment process look like?

Children enrolled in our recuperative nutrition program receive about 1-4 months of intensive intervention, depending on the severity of the case. All of this care is delivered in the home in a personalized fashion. Most require a basic laboratory evaluation to look for thyroid disease, anemia, and intestinal infections. Acute infections are rapidly treated with antibiotics. Then a specialized case manager and nutritionist make weekly or every other week educational and health monitoring visits to the home. An assessment of food insecurity is conducted using standardized instruments and food is often provided to help bolster acute recovery. Micronutrient supplementation is provided.

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

This treatment saves brains. Appetite and growth and developmental milestones recover, and height begins to rise once again. The immediate outcome is improved overall child health, including reduced vulnerability to severe infections. The long term outlook is improved cognitive potential, school completion, and economic prospects. Nearly 100% of children will experience improve appetite, energy, and development. At least 75% of children will have noticeable improvement in growth parameters. The effects of the intervention extend to other children in the home; since the approach is highly educational, parents learn how to care for other children and prevent this from occurring subsequently.

What potential side effects or risks come with this treatment?

This condition is treatable, and no risks for treatment exists.

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

Treatment for malnutrition is incredibly inaccessible in Guatemala. Populations are rural and don’t have access to intensive nutritional intervention and education. Public sector approaches are too low intensity to make a difference for these children.

What are the alternatives to this treatment?

There are no real alternatives to our program. Many organizations and governmental entities provide basic preventative care, but once a child is already malnourished these approaches are no longer effective. Most children fail prevention and therefore need our help.

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5% funded

$682to go

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