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Maxwell from Kenya raised $615 for life-saving brain surgery.

  • $615 raised, $0 to go
to go
Fully funded
Maxwell's treatment was fully funded on April 11, 2016.
July 2, 2016

Maxwell did not receive surgery as planned.

Maxwell was submitted for support to treat congenital hydrocephalus. His surgeon, however, decided that surgery would not improve Maxwell’s condition neurologically especially now that he has delayed development.​ There is a chance that Maxwell may have had a previous brain infection, and therefore he needs to be re-assessed for a new course of treatment.

When Maxwell needs further care, he will be re-eligible for Watsi funding.

Maxwell was submitted for support to treat congenital hydrocephalus. His surgeon, however, decided that surgery would not improve Maxwell's ...

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March 28, 2016

“I want what is best for Maxwell,” shares his mother. “I long to see him walk and talk just like his peers.” She and two-year-old Maxwell live alone in a one-room apartment in Kenya, and have gotten by as a family of two since Maxwell’s father left.

When Maxwell turned ten months old, “his mother noticed that his head was increasing drastically in size,” reports our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF). He also displayed “delayed development, lagging behind his peers in many activities, such as walking.” Maxwell was diagnosed with hydrocephalus, a condition where excess cerebrospinal fluid builds up in the cavities of the brain.

This disorder has not only given Maxwell’s head an abnormal size and shape, but also causes him discomfort as his expanding brain presses unnaturally hard against his cranium. This has changed his personality, making him more irritable than before. And if his hydrocephalus goes untreated, “Maxwell is likely to suffer brain damage and lose his sight,” says AMHF.

Fortunately, there is a surgical procedure that can help Maxwell. Doctors will insert a shunt into his brain that will remove the extra fluid from his brain and redistribute it to another part of his body, where it can be safely absorbed.

“With a daily average income of $2 Maxwell’s mother is not able to raise funds to enable him get a shunt insertion,” explains AMHF. However, we can help. $615 will cover the cost of Maxwell’s surgery, as well as the medications, tests, and five-day hospital stay that he will need to recover from the operation.

Let’s give Maxwell’s mother the chance to see her only child grow up healthy and strong.

“I want what is best for Maxwell,” shares his mother. “I long to see him walk and talk just like his peers.” She and two-year-old Maxwell li...

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Maxwell's Timeline

  • March 28, 2016

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

  • March 29, 2016

    Maxwell was scheduled to receive treatment at BethanyKids Kijabe Hospital (BKKH). 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.

  • April 10, 2016

    Maxwell's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • July 02, 2016

    Maxwell is no longer raising funds.

  • July 02, 2016

    Maxwell's treatment did not happen. Read the update.

Funded by 7 donors

Funded by 7 donors

Hydrocephalus - Shunt
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
  • 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.


Chan is a 36-year-old woman who lives with her husband and father-in-law in Shwepyithar Town, Yangon Division. Chan’s husband works as a day labourer on a construction site, while Chan is a seamstress who works from home. In 2010, Chan started to feel tired, had a rapid heartbeat and developed joint pain. She went to the clinic in Thaton, where she lived at that time, and received an an echocardiogram (echo) and x-ray. The doctor also told her that, if her heart became too enlarged, she would not be able to control her condition with oral medication and she would not be able to have a baby. She then received oral medication for a week which made her feel better for a while. In September 2019, when she went back for her follow-up appointment, she received another echo. Following this, the doctor explained to her that her condition could no longer be stabilized with medication. As he knew that Chan could not afford to pay for her surgery, he referred her to Pinlon Hospital. On 17th September 2019, she met the staff at Pin Long Hospital and who then referred her to Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF). Currently, Chan suffers from chest pain, has difficulty breathing, has a rapid heartbeat and has lost weight. In her free times Chan likes to sew, cook and do housework. “When I’m fully recovered, I will continue to work as a seamstress, save money and live happily with family,” said Chan. “Once I have enough money, my husband and I have decided to adopt one child. And I want to do charity work and help poor people as much as I can.”

51% funded

$726to go

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.