UNIVERSAL FUND MEMBERDonating to honor my father who died of pancreatic cancer.
Laura joined Watsi on November 8th, 2014. Eight years ago, Laura joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Laura's most recent donation traveled 8,200 miles to support Marissa, a 48-year-old vegetable vendor from Philippines, to fund a cholecystectomy.
Laura has funded healthcare for 115 patients in 12 countries.
Laura has funded healthcare for 115 patients in 12 countries.
Marissa, who is 48 years old, is a hardworking vegetable vendor from the Philippines. In 2022, Marissa began to experience troubling symptoms, including excruciating abdominal pain, which have made it difficult for her to continue with her daily activities. After several months of enduring the pain, Marissa finally consulted a doctor, who diagnosed her with chronic calculous cholecystitis- an inflamed gallbladder complicated by gallstones- which needs to be treated surgically. Unfortunately, even with financial help from her sons, Marissa could not afford the cost of the surgery. As a result, she deferred her treatment, hoping that her condition would improve over time. However, the pain has persisted, making it increasingly difficult for her to continue working and providing for her family. After seeking treatment through our medical partner, World Surgical Foundation Philippines (WSFP), Marissa is scheduled to undergo a cholecystectomy on April 18th, at Our Lady of Peace Hospital. A portion of the cost of the procedure is being supported by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, but Marissa and her family still need help raising the remaining $1,128 to cover the cost of Marissa's surgery and care, which will prevent her condition from deteriorating. Marissa shared: "We are incredibly grateful to World Surgical Foundation Philippines and WATSI for the support they are providing. Without their help, I may have continued to suffer in silence."
Allan is an eight-year-old boy from Kenya who lives with his sibling and mother. One day while playing at school, Allen fell and fractured his leg. Since the accident, he has not been able to put weight on his leg and has been using crutches. Allan and his mother were initially unable to seek medical attention for his injury due to a lack of funds. With the help of his relatives, who fundraised in order to help him seek medical care, Allan was connected with our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare. Doctors there diagnosed Allan with an infection in his fractured left leg that requires immediate treatment. After the tibia sequestrectomy surgery, Allan will be able to use his leg comfortably once again and return to school. Allan and his family need support raising funds for the $1,500 surgery, which will take place on March 10th. Allan's mother says, "Allan stayed at home after the accident due to lack of funds. His leg has picked an infection. He is at risk of losing his leg if not treated. He needs this surgery to walk.”
Mylene is a small food business owner from the Philippines. She lives with her mother and two cousins. Her earnings from her business contribute towards sustaining the family's daily needs. Two months ago, Mylene began to experience troubling symptoms, including stomachaches and back pain. Thinking it was simply a urinary tract infection, she opted to delay her checkup. However, her symptoms worsened as her skin began to yellow and she began to experience severe skin itchiness. As a result, she temporarily closed her business as she was compelled to see a doctor. She was advised to undergo an ultrasound test and was diagnosed with Chronic Calculous Cholecystitis, a condition that causes swelling and irritation of the gallbladder. Doctors have recommended she undergo a cholecystectomy, the surgical removal of the gallbladder. If left untreated, her symptoms will continue to worsen and put her at risk for further health complications in the future. After seeking treatment through our medical partner, World Surgical Foundation Philippines (WSFP), Mylene is scheduled to undergo a cholecystectomy on February 24th. Mylene needs help raising $1,128 to fund her procedure and care. Mylene shared, "This free surgery is a life-changing opportunity. I no longer have to worry about how or where to find money to pay for my hospital bill. I'm truly grateful to WATSI and World Surgical Foundation Philippines for helping me!"
Ohn, who is 52 years old, lives with her husband in a village in Tak Province in Thailand. While Ohn's husband no longer works because of pain in his lower legs, Ohn earns money as a day laborer on a local farm. In the middle of 2021, Ohn began experiencing lower left abdominal pain, and discomfort when she urinates or has a bowel movement. She has been diagnosed with myoma, a uterine fibroid, and has been advised to have a total hysterectomy. Left untreated, Ohn's symptoms will worsen, and she will be at risk for additional medical complications. Ohn's income barely covers her and her husband's daily living expenses. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is seeking $1,500 to cover the cost of Ohn's procedure and care. Ohn is scheduled to undergo a hysterectomy on February 1st, at Mae Sot General Hospital, where both her uterus and cervix will be removed. After she has recovered, Ohn should be able to resume her life, free from pain. Ohn said: “I cannot sleep well because I am worried and feel depressed about my condition. When I learned that the organization [BCMF] would pay for the cost of my surgery, I felt very happy. I am very thankful to all donors and to BCMF for paying for my investigation and treatment. When I recover, I will try to work and save money, so I can pay back my debt."
Malaika lives on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince in Haiti with her parents and four siblings; she is in the third grade and likes her science and reading classes. She was both with a cardiac condition called ventricular septal defect, in which a hole exists between the two lower chambers of her heart. Blood leaks through this hole without passing through her lungs to obtain oxygen, leaving her weak and short of breath. The surgery she needs is not available in Haiti, but fortunately for Malaika, doctors at the Clinica Corominas in the Dominican Republic will be able to perform an interventional heart catherization procedure to fix her condition. During the procedure, doctors will insert a catheter into her heart to plug the hole with a device. Now, her family needs $1,500 to help pay the costs of the procedure and travel. Another organization Gift of Life International is also contributing to her life-saving care. Malaika's mother says: "Our family is very hopeful that our daughter will be healthier and happier after her heart is fixed."
Dieunese is a mother of two from Haiti. She lives in the outskirts of Port-au-Prince where she cares for her two young children along with her husband who is a taxi driver. Dieunese has a cardiac condition called rheumatic mitral stenosis which makes it extremely difficult for her heart to pump blood through her body, leaving her weak and short of breath. Dieunese requires surgery, but it is not available in her country. To access care, she will fly to the United States to receive treatment. On November 17th, she will undergo cardiac surgery, during which surgeons will attempt to repair her heart valve; if they are unable to, they will remove it and implant an artificial replacement. Another organization, the Baylor Scott & White Heart Hospital, is contributing $20,000 to pay for this surgery. Dieunese's family also needs help to fund the costs of surgery prep and travel. The $1,500 bill covers labs, medicines, and check-up and followup appointments. It also supports passport obtainment and the social worker from our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance, who will accompany Dieunese overseas. Dieunese says, "I am hopeful that having this surgery will allow me to be alive and healthy for my children!"
Meet Katweensly, a 16 year old student, living with her mother and siblings in a small town in Haiti, near the border with the Dominican Republic. Katweensly, who is a junior in high school, particularly enjoys her math and science classes. As a young child, Katweensly suffered a bout of rheumatic fever, which damaged one of the four valves in her heart. As a result, her heart cannot pump blood efficiently through her body, leaving her feeling weak and short of breath. Thanks to the help of our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance, Katweensly is scheduled to travel to the Dominican Republic for surgery, which is scheduled for November 10th, at Hospital CEDIMAT. There, doctors will first try to repair the damaged valve. If they are unable to do this, they will implant an artificial valve. Another organization, Mitral Foundation, is helping supporting the cost of the surgery, but Katweensly's family needs an additional $1,500 to pay for lab tests, medicines, and follow up appointments that are a part of her overall treatment. In addition, support will help cover the travel costs and ensure a social worker from Haiti Cardiac Alliance can support the family during treatment in the Dominican Republic. Katweensly said: "I am feeling very happy to finally have the chance to have my heart repaired after waiting for so long."
Eliana is a friendly and talkative young girl from Tanzania. She is the firstborn child in a family of three. Her parents both work as small-scale farmers, and they depend entirely on what they harvest for their daily living. When Eliana was two years old, her parents noticed that her left leg was swelling up and that she would limp when walking. They initially thought she had fallen and hurt herself, so they took her to a local dispensary, where she was prescribed pain relieving medication. Eliana was eventually diagnosed with genu valgus, which is a malalignment of the knees. This condition is typically caused by an excessive accumulation of fluoride in the bones, which often stems from contaminated drinking water. As a result, Eliana struggles to stand and cannot walk more than four steps without either experiencing pain or falling down. This has resulted in her having to crawl most of the time in order to move from one place to another. In 2020, Eliana had corrective osteotomy surgery, which fortunately helped correct her legs to a point where she can now enjoy walking and playing with other children. However, she requires a second-stage procedure in order to remove her implant so her condition can heal entirely. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $880 to fund corrective surgery for Eliana. The procedure is scheduled to take place on August 11th. Treatment will allow Eliana's legs to completely heal, fully restoring her mobility, and greatly decreasing her risk of future complications. Eliana’s grandmother says, “The first surgery my granddaughter got helped ease her walking. I believe this next surgery will make her legs even better.’’
Deborah's baby is a newborn - only a few days old. Deborah and her husband have two more children. Deoborah's husband is the breadwinner of the family, working as a small business operator while Deborah is a stay-at-home parent for their family. Her husband's income provides for their basic needs and school fees. Deborah's baby was born with clubfoot of his right leg. Clubfoot is a condition in which the foot is twisted out of shape. This causes difficulty walking and even wearing shoes. His parents are greatly concerned about their baby’s condition. They are worried, but also holding hope that their newborn baby will be ok. Fortunately, the parents brought their newborn to our medical partner's care center, Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre. There, surgeons will perform clubfoot repair surgery on September 6th. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is raising $935 to fund the baby's clubfoot repair. After treatment, his leg will be aligned correctly and he will be able to walk easily as he grows. His father shared, “It has been so hard living in doubt for the past three days. I'm grateful my baby will now get help."
Sopheak is a 38-year-old electronic repairer. He's married and has one daughter and two sons. In his free time, Sopheak enjoys playing football, exercising, reading books, listening to the news, watching boxing on TV, and helping his wife around their house. In April, Sopheak injured his left leg in a traffic accident. This injury caused Sopheak difficulty and pain while walking. After treatment at another hospital, Sopheak's wounds still have not healed so his neighbor encouraged him to seek our out medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre (CSC). On May 11th, surgeons at CSC will clean his injury and perform a skin graft procedure to heal his wound. CSC is requesting $487 to fund this procedure so that Sopheak can walk free of pain. Sopheak says, "I hope my leg can heal so I can walk and work again."
Neylan is a three-year-old girl and the first-born child in a family of two children. She is a charming girl who loves to play with her baby brother. Her father is a teacher at a local college while the mother is a housewife. Despite having a job, it is hard for her father to earn enough to provide and care for his wife and two children. Neylan was diagnosed with bilateral genu varus, her legs bow outward at the knee. This condition is typically caused by an excessive accumulation of fluoride in the bones, which often stems from contaminated drinking water. As a result, she has difficulty walking and playing. Her baby brother is also in need of treatment, which causes stress and worry for their family. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $880 to fund corrective surgery for Neylan. The procedure is scheduled to take place on July 8th. Treatment will hopefully restore Neylan's mobility, allow her to participate in a variety of activities, and greatly decrease her risk of future complications. Neylan’s mother says, “Please help me, my children's legs are being deformed and we are worried."
Simon is a 20-year-old who, since he was a little boy, he has worked selling goods at a nearby open market. He has no stable source of income and is currently unable to work due to his medical condition. His single mother is unable to support him. Fortunately, his friend is allowing him to stay in their single room close to the city market. Two years ago, Simon began experiencing pain in his left knee, causing him to limp as he walked. His pain eventually spread to his hip. He now cannot walk without a walking stick and has an infected hip and knee, which are limiting his mobility. After receiving a CT scan, Simon was diagnosed with septic arthritis, which is inflammation of a joint caused by an infection, and sequelae of the hip. In hopes to help his condition, Simon visited visited Kenyatta National Hospital. He has since been on medical follow-up for septic arthritis at the facility without any surgical intervention. He eventually had to stop attending the follow-up clinics due to a lack of financial resources. Fortunately, a friend told Simon about our medical partner's care center, and he traveled there to receive treatment. Now, Simon is scheduled to undergo a treatment on July 8th. This will hopefully finally help heal his condition and relieve his pain. Our medical partner is requesting $1,500 to fund his treatment. Simon shares, “I can barely move my leg without support from this walking stick. My hip is painful and my knee is just unbearable. I cannot work in my condition and therefore am struggling to survive.”