Erica joined Watsi on April 7th, 2015. Six years ago, Erica joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Erica's most recent donation traveled 4,200 miles to support Luz, a baby girl from Bolivia, to fund surgery to treat her cardiac condition.
Erica has funded healthcare for 90 patients in 13 countries.
Erica has funded healthcare for 90 patients in 13 countries.
Luz is a sweet baby from Bolivia, where she lives with her parents and two older brothers in a small mountain village. Her parents work as farmers to support their family. Luz, in addition to being diagnosed with Down Syndrome, was born with a ventricular septal defect, a heart condition where a hole exists between the two lower chambers of her heart. As a result, blood leaks through the hole without passing through her lungs to obtain oxygen, leaving her weak and short of breath. Fortunately, our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance who is expanding their work in Bolivia, is helping Luz receive treatment. On January 19th, Luz will undergo surgery where doctors will sew a patch over the hole, allowing for blood to flow completely through her heart and reach her lungs, obtaining oxygen and, ultimately, allowing her to grow as a healthy baby girl. Luz's family needs help raising $1,500 to fund her procedure and care. From Luz's mother: "Our family is all praying that after the surgery our daughter will be stronger and healthier."
Hannah is a 70-year-old mother of seven children. She is a widow who lost her husband ten years ago. She is a small-scale tea farmer and relies on her children for upkeep and survival. For eight months, Hannah has been experiencing abnormal bleeding and pelvic pain. She has been diagnosed with endometrial cancer. She needs to undergo a hysterectomy, a procedure in which surgeons will remove her uterus. Although supportive, her children are unable to raise the funds required for her procedure. She had one cow that she sold to pay for a biopsy, treatment and fare to the facility. However, she is requesting financial support for her surgery cost. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is helping raise $1260 to fund Hannah's surgery. On December 16th, she will undergo gynecological surgery at our medical partner's care center. Once recovered, Hannah will be able to resume her daily activities free of pain. Hannah says, "I am old now and fragile. This cancer has depleted my financial resources and affected my health. I need the surgery to avoid the spread of the cancer.”
Rose is a retried woman who used to work as a junior officer at the county government in Machakos in Kenya. Her husband is also retired, and they both now spend their time farming at their ancestral home to provide food for their family. Together, they have one daughter who is currently attending secondary school. Their family does not have a stable source of income. Rose was involved in a motorbike accident two weeks ago, and she was rushed to a nearby facility. There, she was treated for pain and discharged, but she later developed a blister on her right leg which burst and worsened into a wound. After attempting to clean the wound at home with no improvement, one of Rose's relatives advised her to visit Kijabe Hospital. On June 21st, she visited the facility and underwent two debridement surgeries where they removed damaged and infected tissue in her leg. However, her wound still needs care, as well as skin graft surgery. Due to financial constraints, Rose has not been able to pay for her medical coverage since she retired. She accrued a bill that she has been unable to clear, and as a result, she cannot afford her third procedure. Rose currently experiences pain due to her injury, and she is unable to use her right leg or walk. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is helping Rose receive treatment. On July 4th, surgeons will perform a debridement and skin graft procedure to get rid of the infection and help her walk again. Now, Rose needs help to fund this $1,185 procedure. Rose shares, “I haven’t been able to walk since the accident. The leg was so swollen and infected. I am scared I might lose my leg if not treated.”
Samuel is a 21-year-old talkative young man. He is the second born in a family of five children. His father passed away when he was four years old, so his mother had to raise him and his siblings by herself. She does jobs on tea farms to provide for the family. When Samuel was two years old, his abdomen started to swell, which was very painful for him. His mother took him to the hospital and he was given some medication and sent back home. The medication did not work as expected. He was then taken to a different hospital for examination. He was given more medication and after some time he seemed to be better. The stomachache did not go away completely, however. Samuel and his mother shared that over the years, he has had stomachaches and gotten used to taking pain medication. In 2017 when Samuel was in high school, the pain worsened and his abdomen started to swell again. He had to leave school as a result. His mother took him to a hospital in Meru where he was admitted for three months. While in the hospital, scans and a biopsy were done to determine what the problem was. He was given a colostomy, where the end of the colon is brought through an opening in the abdominal wall, in order to pass stool. This surgery is often performed to bypass bowel malformations, but colostomies are usually temporary and may call for closure. In Samuel's case, his colostomy requires closure in order to restore bowel function and prevent future complications. At that time, his doctors did not manage to treat him and referred him to BethanyKids Hospital in 2018. On arrival, he was examined and admitted, as he was not in good condition. After more scans and tests, he was ultimately diagnosed with Hirschsprung’s disease. Since then, Samuel has undergone several surgeries with the aim of trying to better his condition. The first surgery failed, but the second was successful. He is now scheduled to undergo his last surgery to close the colostomy so that he can pass stool on his own again and live a more active life. Earlier in his treatment, Samuel's parents had enrolled in the national health insurance program (NHIF), which helped them pay for most of his hospital bills. BethanyKids also chipped in on occasion to help with some of the bills. Unfortunately, for his last surgery, NHIF has rejected the request since he is beyond the age to be covered by his mother’s insurance. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is helping him to undergo treatment and needs $1,084 to cover the cost of a colostomy closure for Samuel. The surgery is scheduled to take place on November 11th and, once completed, will hopefully allow him to live more comfortably and confidently. Samuel’s Mother says, “For years now, I have been very worried about my son, but God has seen us through.”
Agnes is a college student and is in her final year pursuing an architectural course. She lives with her parents and is the second born in a family of three children, all of whom are in school and rely on their parents for school fees and upkeep. Her father is a carpenter in their hometown, Kimende, and his income is inconsistent and not enough to cover the cost of the required surgery. Her mother is a small-scale farmer. Agnes was heading home in the evening last night when she remembers hearing screams and was hit by an unknown motorist from behind. She has no recollection of what happened after that. She lost consciousness and could not recognize her surroundings. She was brought to our medical partner's care center Kijabe Hospital and had an x-ray that revealed a left distal femur fracture. Doctors have recommended an urgent fracture repair surgery since the wound is open and she is in extreme pain. Today, she has regained her consciousness but cannot sit or walk due to the fracture. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner are here to help. On October 14th, Agnes will undergo a fracture repair procedure, called an open reduction and internal fixation. This procedure will help get rid of the pain and she will eventually be able to sit and walk easily again. Now, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $1,500 to fund this procedure. Agnes says, “I am in so much pain and I cannot walk. I don’t remember what happened, I just found myself bedridden with lights all over. I am unable to go back home because of the fracture.”
Linda is a two-month-old baby girl. She was born in a public hospital in Mai Mahiu town where her mother was living with a friend. At birth, she was diagnosed with spina bifida. Her mother was referred to another facility more familiar with this diagnosis, and upon further examination referred Linda to our medical partner's care center BethanyKids Hospital for treatment. On arrival at the hospital, Linda was found to be in critical condition and had to be admitted and put on medication. She stayed in the hospital for more than two weeks. When she got better, she was discharged home and scheduled to undergo spina bifida repair surgery with support from Watsi. Last week, Linda reported back to the hospital for her surgery, but arrived with a fever. She was admitted to the High Dependency Unit. While in hospital, she was diagnosed with hydrocephalus, or a build-up of fluids in the cavities of the brain, which required urgent surgical intervention. The spina bifida surgery was postponed to a later date while she recovers from the shunt insertion surgery to heal her hydrocephalus. Linda is the youngest in a family of three children. Her father left the family one month before she was born. He used to do casual jobs and had not been supportive. During the last few months before Linda was born, her mother was very sick and lost her job as a security guard, thus losing the family's only source of income. Having come from Uganda, they did not have many people to help them. Her Ugandan friend heard of her suffering and offered to accommodate her as she was pregnant. Since then, this friend has been facilitating their hospital transport and helping with financial support as much as possible. Linda’s mother cannot raise any money to pay for her daughter’s surgery and is appealing for support. Hydrocephalus is a condition in which excess cerebrospinal fluid accumulates in the brain and increases intracranial pressure. Without treatment, Linda will experience severe physical and developmental delays. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $720 to cover the cost of surgery for Linda to treat her hydrocephalus. The procedure is scheduled to take place on September 14th, and will drain the excess fluid from Linda's brain. This will reduce intracranial pressure and greatly improve her quality of life. With proper treatment, Linda will hopefully develop into a strong, healthy young girl. Linda’s mother says, “I am still confused with all that is going on, and I hope that she will be okay.”
Nana is an adorable 18-month-old baby. Her father works as a farmer, and her mother works selling food. Nana is the only child in her family. She enjoys playing with toys, and her favorite meal is fried noodles with fresh milk! Ten months ago, Nana's left-hand fingers were severely burned from a pan of boiling oil. Her mother took her to a local clinic for medications, but her fingers did not heal. She has since developed scar contracture on three of her fingers. This means the scar from the accident is pulling together and tightening the skin surrounding it, leaving Nana unable to hold objects. In order to help her condition, she will need to undergo a contracture release surgery, as well as a skin graft surgery to repair the scar tissues. When Nana and her family learned about our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre (CSC), they traveled for three and a half hours seeking treatment. On July 4th, surgeons at CSC will perform a burn contracture release surgery to help Nana use her fingers again. Now, she needs help to fund this $495 procedure. Her mother expressed, "I hope after this surgery my daughter can use her hand like other children."
Tin is a 45-year-old man. Originally from Burma, he fled to Thailand over 20 years ago due to civil war. He currently lives with his wife, who works as a street vendor selling various snacks and vegetable, and one of his daughters, who is currently in school. His family also raises chickens, which they sell when they need cash. Tin previously worked as a farmer and a construction worker, but he has recently been unable to work due to his condition. In the future, he hopes to go back to work and help support his family. After an incident that occurred this past April that caused him to be hit in the left eye by a mango, Tin lost his vision in that eye and began to experience headaches, swelling, severe eye pain, and dizziness when attempting to stand. Tin eventually sought medical attention at a clinic. There, a medic checked his left eye, gave him a bottle of eye drops, and told him to seek treatment at Mae Tao Clinic (MTC) since they could not treat him there. However, he did not go to MTC right away due to financial constraints. He instead hoped that his eye would recover over time with the help of eye drops. Although his pain was temporarily reduced, the bruising disappeared, and the swelling went down over time, he never regained his vision. The pain in his eye eventually returned, and he noticed that he had a white spot on his left pupil. As the white spot increased in size, his eye progressively became more painful and began to itch. He now experiences discharge and watering in his eye, as well as difficulty sleeping. At the beginning of this month, a small lump appeared near the white spot on his left pupil. The lump gradually increased in size until it bursted on August 13th. After the discharge and bleeding from the lump stopped, he asked his friend to take him to MTC right away. When he arrived at the clinic, he was told to come back on Monday since there were not any eye specialist medics working on the weekend. When Tin returned on Monday, a medic examined his left eye, and he was diagnosed with corneal perforation, a condition resulting from the cornea being penetrated and damaged. Tin was also told that his eye is infected. He now must undergo surgery at our medical partner's care center, Mae Sot General Hospital, to remove his left eye as quickly as possible before the infection spreads to his right eye. Fortunately, Tin was referred to our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF), for financial assistance accessing treatment. On August 17th, surgeons at our medical partner's care center will perform an enucleation to remove his left eye. Now, BCMF is requesting $1,500 to fund Tin's life-changing procedure. Tin shares, “I feel very depressed and worried about my eye. I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I lost vision in both of my eyes. I want to receive surgery quickly to prevent my right eye from becoming infected. Without your help, I don’t think I would be able to receive further treatment. Therefore, I want to say thank you to the donors and the organization for agreeing to support my treatment costs.”
Anjelina is a beautiful two-year-old baby from Tanzania. She is the youngest of three children in her family. Both of her parents do small-scale farming of maize, beans, and other vegetables, which they grow to feed their family. To help earn money, her father sometimes works as a casual laborer. Anjelina was born at a local hospital where her parents were informed that their daughter has clubfoot of both feet. Clubfoot is a condition where the foot is twisted out of shape, causing difficulty walking and even wearing shoes. Although the doctor notified them that their daughter's condition could be corrected at a referral hospital, the hospital was over an eight-hour bus ride away, and they could not fund the transportation due to financial constraints. Fortunately, Anjelina's family was able to travel to our medical partner's care center, Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre. There, surgeons will perform clubfoot repair surgery on July 15th. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $935 to fund Anjelina's clubfoot repair. After treatment, she will be able to walk easily. Anjelina’s mother shares, “We tried to correct her feet using a local doctor, but there was not much improvement, and we couldn't afford to go to the referral hospital.”
Eddys is a farmer and tailor who hails from the highlands of Elgeyo Marakwet County in a small village well known for potato farming. She is a calm and conversational woman. Eddys is a mother of two aged between 5 and 9 years. She separated from her husband due to domestic violence at home. She returned to her homeland after the separation and now lives with her parents and her children in a semi-permanent house in their village. Before the incident, Eddys used to earn her wages through tailoring, a skill she learned in a polytechnic program. Eddys presented to our medical partner's hospital with a five-month-old fracture following a road traffic accident, which left her with severe injuries and a broken leg. Before they came to our hospital, Eddys was managed in a local health facility near her home. She had a cast applied and was told that she will heal without surgery. However, two months later, she started having pain in her leg. One of her relatives referred her to our facility where an X-Ray revealed a closed fracture of the shaft of her tibia. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner can help. On June 21st, Eddys will undergo a fracture repair procedure called an open reduction and internal fixation. Eddy will be able to walk, work and provide for her children once she heals. Now, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,145 to fund this procedure. Eddys has been surviving on her friend’s contributions and relies on her mother because she has not been working since the accident. She appeals for financial assistance so that she can be well again. Eddys says, “My children need my motherly support which I am unable to give them since I broke my leg, it has been a nightmare for us. My hope is to get my leg treated and be able to walk again.”
We met Thomas, a 9-year-old jovial and social boy at Cure Hospital's Nyeri satellite clinic. He is the second born in a family of four children. His family hails from a village in Muranga County. Thomas is a third grade student and a very bright boy who aspires to be a pilot in the future. His mother is a small business lady while his father is a mason. Thomas lives with his grandmother. Thomas was born healthy, however at the age of three his grandmother noted an unusual bowing of his legs. He was taken to a hospital in Muranga, however, the condition has never improved and instead has continued to worsen. Fortunately our medical partner can help. Thomas is now scheduled to undergo surgery to heal his condition. The treatment will be impactful to him because he will be able to walk and play more easily. The severe pain he has been experiencing from straining when walking will be alleviated and he will be able to continue with his studies uninterrupted. We can't wait to see him flying in the skies one day! "I would request the hospital to help me undergo surgery so that my legs can be corrected and I can continue with my education," Thomas expressed.
Samuel is a 52-year-old small-scale farmer and a father of four. He grows cereals for his family to eat, but the lack of rain in the area has dramatically affected his crop yield. Samuel shared that his family was able to fundraise for his medical consultation and testing, but they request assistance for the cost of his surgery. A year and a half ago, Samuel noticed an itch at the back of his throat that gradually became painful. Although his symptoms were on-and-off, the pain increased over time, and his jaw began to swell. A local dentist referred Samuel to our medical partner’s hospital, Kijabe Hospital, for review. The doctors conducted a biopsy and found cancerous cells in his tonsils and throat. He needs to undergo urgent surgery to stop the spread of the cancerous cells. Currently, Samuel is struggling to talk due to the pain and the way the tumor affects his speech. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), can help Samuel receive treatment. On April 20th, he will undergo surgery to remove the mass. AMH is requesting $1,500 to help fund the cost of this procedure. Samuel says, “This tumor is painful, and I have been told it is cancerous. If it is not removed, it may result in the spread of the fatal cells. I am hopeful the surgery will be helpful because at the moment I am even struggling to eat.”