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 1,900 miles to support Malaika, a 9-year-old schoolgirl from Haiti, to fund heart surgery allowing her to grow strong.
Laura has funded healthcare for 111 patients in 12 countries.
Laura has funded healthcare for 111 patients in 12 countries.
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.”
Davin is a 10-year-old 3rd grade student. He has three older brothers and one older sister. Davin's parents are rice and lemongrass root farmers. Davin told us how much he enjoys playing football. Two years ago, Davin had a severe ear infection. This infection caused a cholesteatoma, or an abnormal skin growth, to develop in the middle ear behind the ear drum. Now, Davin experiences ear pain, discharge, hearing loss, and tinnitus. He has difficulty hearing his teacher or classmates and is often absent from school due to his ear pain. Fortunately, on June 1st, Davin will undergo a mastoidectomy procedure in his left ear. During this procedure, ENT surgeons will remove the cholesteatoma. Our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, is requesting $926 to fund this procedure. This covers medications, supplies, and inpatient care. Davin's parents say, "I hope his hearing improves and he can enjoy school again."
Abigail is a bright three-year-old girl. She lives with her parents and one older brother in a neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, which is the capital of Haiti. Abigail was born with a condition called patent ductus arteriosus. The deformity causes blood to leak through a hole between two major blood vessels near the heart. That makes it difficult for her small heart to function properly and can lead to tiredness, shortness of breath and restricted growth as she gets older. Fortunately, the condition is highly treatable with surgery. Our medical partner Haiti Cardiac Alliance has arranged for Abigail, her family and an escort to travel to the Dominican Republic, where doctors will use a catheter to plug the hole near her heart. Abigail should then be able to go on to live a full, healthy life. Another charity, Gift of Life International, is also contributing $5,000 toward the procedure, which is scheduled to take place on May 24th. This $1,500 will help fund Abigail's life-changing surgery and related care. Abigail's mother says, "We would like to say thank you to everyone who is helping to heal our daughter's heart!"
Thein is a 56-year-old man who lives with his family in a refugee camp. Two of his daughters and his son-in-law work as seasonal workers outside of the camp, while Thein and his wife look after their three grandchildren, send them to school, and care for the household chores. In January, Thein was diagnosed with a cataract in his right eye and an early cataract in his left eye. Currently, he cannot see with his right eye, as his vision is blurry, and the vision in his left eye is also beginning to blur. As a result, Thein cannot walk easily and relies on a bamboo staff to help stabilize him as he tries to avoid tripping on any objects in his path. He shared that he feels discomforted and like he is living in darkness. Fortunately, Thein was able to visit our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF), and they can help him heal. On March 8th, doctors will perform a lens replacement. After recovery, he will be able to see clearly. BCMF is requesting $1,500 to fund this procedure. Thein shared, “When I recover from surgery, I will help my family plant and water vegetables around the house. It can save us money from buying the vegetables. I can help send my grandchildren to school and pick them up in the evening. I will also be able to visit my friend.”
Sa is a 36-year-old woman who likes to sew clothes. She also enjoys doing household chores and making delicious curries. Her husband is a nightguard at a hospital. Since 2015, Sa started to experience pain in her back and her pelvic area. Since December, her pain has worsened which makes it hard for her to sleep. She shared that she is feeling increasingly worried and depressed since she first experienced the pain and realized that she was unwell. Watsi donors helped support a CT scan and doctors have now diagnosed her with bilateral ovarian cancer. To help treat her condition, her doctors advised Sa to undergo a total abdominal hysterectomy, the surgical removal of her uterus and cervix. If left untreated, Sa's symptoms will continue to worsen and put her at risk for further health complications in the future. Fortunately, Sa is scheduled to undergo her hysterectomy on February 25th. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to cover the total cost of her procedure and care. Once recovered, she is hopeful that she'll no longer be in pain and will have a better shot at recovering from cancer. Sa said, "I was very worried when I heard that I needed surgery and that it would cost a lot of money. I was worried that if the donors stopped helping me, where would I come up with enough money to pay for my surgery. I could not sleep last night, constantly worrying about my treatment cost. When I called BCMF's staff and they told me that donors could pay for my surgery, I felt so much better. Thank you everyone for helping me."