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Joyce is a 52 year old farmer from Kenya who needs $949 to fund a thyroidectomy to treat her thyroid cancer.

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September 16, 2022

Joyce is a 52 year old, small-scale farmer. She relies on the proceeds from her small farm, and from the milk that she sells from the one cow that she and her husband own. Her husband is also a farmer, and together, they have five adult children.

In October 2017, Joyce began to experience troubling symptoms, including pain in her neck - especially during swallowing - and difficulty in breathing. She went to a nearby health facility, and underwent several surgical procedures on her thyroid and esophagus, but her condition did not improve.

In May of this year, Joyce presented at Kijabe Hospital with progressive difficulty in breathing. After she was evaluated and scans were done, Joyce was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. While she has an excellent prognosis, Joyce needs to be treated quickly, to prevent the cancer from spreading.

Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is helping Joyce access the care that she needs. She is scheduled to undergo a thyroidectomy on September 20th, at our medical partner’s care center, AIC Kijabe Hospital. During this procedure, surgeons will remove all or part of Joyce’s thyroid gland. This operation will cost $949, and she and her family need help raising money.

Joyce says, “I am almost losing my voice. I have been through several hospitals seeking treatment. This cancer is threatening my life.”

Joyce is a 52 year old, small-scale farmer. She relies on the proceeds from her small farm, and from the milk that she sells from the one co...

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Joyce's Timeline

  • September 16, 2022

    Joyce was submitted by Ruth Kanyeria, SAFE Program Coordinator at African Mission Healthcare.

  • September 17, 2022

    Joyce's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • October 6, 2022

    Joyce was scheduled to receive treatment at AIC Kijabe Hospital 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.


    Joyce is currently raising funds for her treatment.

  • TBD

    Awaiting Joyce's treatment update from African Mission Healthcare.

Funded by 19 donors

Funded by 19 donors

  • Cost Breakdown
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
On average, it costs $949 for Joyce'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?

Patients in need of a thyroidectomy often present with a small thyroid growth (nodule or cyst), a thyroid gland that is so overactive it is dangerous (thyrotoxicosis), cancer of the thyroid, noncancerous (benign) tumors of the thyroid that are causing symptoms, or thyroid swelling (nontoxic goiter) that makes it hard to breathe or swallow. Patients in need of thyroid surgery often present with nervousness, anxiety, rapid heartbeat, hand tremor, excessive sweating, weight loss, and sleep problems, among other symptoms.

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

The thyroid gland is an organ located in the front of your neck. It releases hormones that control your metabolism (the way your body uses energy), breathing, heart rate, nervous system, weight, body temperature, and many other functions. When the thyroid gland is overactive (hyperthyroidism) the body’s processes speed up and you may experience nervousness, anxiety, rapid heartbeat, hand tremor, excessive sweating, weight loss, and sleep problems, among other symptoms.

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

Thyroid disorders are relatively common in the African continent. Iodine deficiency, although still the commonly documented cause of thyroid disorders in Africa, is not as rampant as it used to be. There is a compelling need to set up thyroid disorder registries in order to determine not only the scope of the burden of these disorders, but also to document changing trends, if any, especially given the background of widespread iodization programs. Thyroid cancer is the most common endocrine cancer, and its incidence has continuously increased in the last three decades all over the world. This trend is present on every continent except Africa, where detection is possibly insufficient.

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

What does the treatment process look like?

Thyroid surgery takes approximately three to eight hours depending on the patient. Patients will stay in the hospital for a maximum of six to eight weeks or as needed for recovery. A patient will usually have one follow-up appointment in six weeks.

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

In case of thyroid cancer, the surgery is the patient’s best chance of preventing the spread of cancer and saving the patient’s life. In cases of hyperthyroidism, the treatment help stabilize the hormones that regulate metabolism and effectively treat some of the patient's symptoms, such as rapid heartbeat, anxiety etc.

What potential side effects or risks come with this treatment?

Thyroid surgery is often 90% curative should diagnosis be done early. For benign tumors and hyperthyroidism, the surgery is more than 90% curative. The surgery comes with few risks.

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

The accessibility of the treatment is fairly easy in this region. Due to the high numbers of patients flocking to the government facilities, most patients opt to seek care in missionary and private hospitals which are slightly more costly. In Kijabe, we have an average of 80 to 100 thyroidectomies in a year (three to four cases a week).

What are the alternatives to this treatment?

In Kenya, surgery is the only treatment offered for thyroid cancer and hyperthyroidism. This is because radiotherapy and medication alternatives are not easily accessible. Also, the cost of treating with radiotherapy and medication is higher than that of surgery.

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.


Meet Su, a 10-year-old girl, living with her mother in Thailand. Because her parents are no longer together, Su sometimes also goes and stays with her father. Both of her parents work for local community organizations. When Su has free time, she enjoys drawing pictures, and playing with her friends. Su was born with clubfeet and a dislocated hip. After her birth, she received corrective surgery in Chiang Mai, with the help of our medical partner, BCMF. During her last visit to the hospital after her surgery, the doctor told her mother that she would need to bring Su back to the hospital after she had outgrown the special, corrective shoes she wore for her clubfeet. Due to financial constraints, issues with documentation, and the Covid pandemic, Su's parents were never able to bring her back to the hospital. In June 2022, Su started to experience pain in her right foot, whenever she walked for longer than 10 minutes. And, for the first time, she also began to feel pain in her right hip when she walked. The doctor at Mae Sot Hospital diagnosed her with a dislocated hip, and referred her to Chiang Mai for further treatment. Doctors in Chiang Mai want Su to undergo an MRI, which will help them to reach a definitive diagnosis, and to formulate a plan of treatment. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting your help to cover the $814 cost of Su's MRI and care, scheduled for October 18th, at Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital. "I want my daughter to become a doctor in the future so that she can help others who also suffer from clubfeet," said Su's mother.

65% funded

$279to go

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.