Ben SternMONTHLY DONOR
Ben's Story

Ben joined Watsi on June 18th, 2014. Seven years ago, Ben joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Ben's most recent donation traveled 8,300 miles to support Myo, a 40-year-old fisherman from Burma, to fund surgery for an infection on his left foot.

Impact

Ben has funded healthcare for 96 patients in 12 countries.

All patients funded by Ben

Myo is 40-years-old and lives with his two sisters, two nephews, and two nieces in a village in Burma. He was a fisherman but stopped working when he started to experience problems on his left foot. As a result, his sisters support their household. One year ago, Myo noticed that his left big toe was itchy and swollen after he came home from fishing. Soon enough, it developed into an ulcer. Without enough money to go to a clinic or a hospital, he used traditional medicine and bought pain medicine to clean the infection. However, each time Myo would clean the ulcer, it would heal but returning a month later. Four months after he first developed the ulcer, the recurrent ulcer worsened until he could no longer walk without support from his sister. Eventually, he saved enough funds to visit a health clinic. When the ulcer still did not heal, he went to a second clinic and was referred to our medical partner's care center, Mawlamyine Christian Leprosy Hospital (MCLH). At MCLH, the doctor tried to first clean and treat the infection. When that did not work, the doctor told him that they would have to amputate his left big toe and referred Myo to our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF) for assistance accessing treatment. On January 13th, Myo will undergo treatment to amputate his left big toe so that his infection can finally be treated and not spread to other parts of his body. For the treatment, BCMF is requesting $1,500 to help cover the costs. Hopefully, he will be able to return to fishing and other activities he previously enjoyed soon. Myo is hopeful that things will be better after surgery and shared, "When I recover, I will find work and support my sisters’ families.”

75%funded
$1,126raised
$374to go

Mu is a 17-year-old boy who lives with his sister in Mae Sot, Thailand. Before that, he lived with his parents, one older sister, two younger brothers and one younger sister in a refugee camp. His sister works at a non-governmental organisation helping others in need. Around mid-August, Mu woke up one morning with pain in his left knee. At first he thought that the pain would go away on its own and that it was nothing serious. However, when the pain remained a few days later, he told his sister about it. His sister bought him a type of Burmese pain reliever balm to apply on his knee. He applied the balm for a week, but he did not feel any better. When he and his sister noticed that his left knee had become slightly swollen his sister called their father. Mu’s father told them that it could be an ulcer and suggested that they go to a hospital or buy him pain medication to reduce swelling. His sister bought the medication their father had suggested at a pharmacy, and Mu took it for a week. However, he did not feel better, and the swelling did not decrease. Mu was able to have an MRI at Chiang Mai Hospital and now the doctor recommends he undergo surgery to remove a tumor on his left knee. Mu sought treatment through our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund and is now scheduled to undergo mass removal surgery on December 17th. He is requesting $1,500 to cover the total cost of his procedure and care which will enable him to get off of using crutches and back to feeling well again. Mu said, "After I heard from the doctor that my leg does not need to be amputated, I feel so happy."

81%funded
$1,217raised
$283to go

U Ghwe is a 70-year-old man who lives with his wife and granddaughter in Burma. His wife is ill and not able to look after household chores most of the time. His granddaughter is a student in grade 12, but since her school is closed right now, she looks after the household chores. U Ghwe is a weaver and primarily makes bamboo baskets used to carry materials for construction. The family also fishes and raises chickens. Four years ago, U Ghwe had a stroke which left the muscles in his right foot very stiff. Although he can walk, he cannot wear sandals comfortably and instead goes barefoot. About a month ago, while cutting bamboo for weaving, he felt something bite the sole of his right foot. When he got home that evening, his foot was painful, itchy, red and swollen. Unfortunately, he did not have money to seek treatment at a clinic and eventually, the wound developed into an abscess filled with pus. A family member finally recommended that he visit our medical partner's care center for further examination and treatment. After examination, a doctor diagnosed him with an ulcer and told him that he has diabetes. The doctor shared with him that any injury U Ghwe sustains will not heal easily. His doctor has recommended surgery to clean the ulcer and help it to heal. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF), is helping U Ghwe receive the recommended treatment. On October 7th, he will undergo a wound debridement procedure at BCMF's care center to help his wound heal. Now, he needs help raising $694 to fund his procedure and care. U Ghwe shared, "I do not know how long my daughter will not be able to [give] me money. Today, my daughter called me and said that my son-in-law will need to have surgery so she cannot send me money. I am the only one who can earn an income, so if I do not feel better, I will not be able to work. I am interested in working with wood. If was younger, I would learn and become a carpenter but now I feel I am too old."

$694raised
Fully funded

Ar is a 28-year-old man who lives with his wife, three sons, and two daughters in a refugee camp. Originally from Burma, his family fled to Thailand 20 years ago due to civil war. His children attend school, except for his youngest daughter, who is not yet old enough. His wife is a homemaker and Ar works as a day laborer when work is available. Ar's family shared that, in addition to his day laborer pay, they receive a monthly cash card from The Border Consortium to purchase food in the refugee camp. Overall, the family's total monthly income is just enough to cover their basic needs. On September 2nd, Ar climbed a tamarind tree to pick tamarinds fruit. When the branch he was standing on suddenly broke, he fell and landed on his right arm and experienced pain in his back. He visited the camp hospital that day, and the medic initially determined that his arm was not broken. Due to recent positive COVID-19 cases in the refugee camp, Ar could not be immediately referred to the local hospital for further testing and was kept for observation at the camp hospital. When the pain in Ar's back and arm did not subside the next day, the medic referred Ar to the local hospital. After receiving a negative COVID-19 test, Ar was finally able to visit the hospital on September 6th, where he received an X-ray for his arm and a blood test for a second COVID-19 test. The X-ray revealed that his upper right arm is broken. With the help of our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF), Ar will undergo surgery on September 8th to reset his fractured bones and ensure proper healing. The procedure will enable Ar to continue working in the future. BCMF is requesting $1,500 to fund this procedure. Ar shared, "I am scared to receive surgery. But I was told that I will not be able to work using my right arm if I do not receive surgery, so I gave my consent to the doctor. I hope that I will be able to work again after I receive treatment."

$1,500raised
Fully funded

Simon is a ten-year-old boy and is the fifth of seven children. Simon and his siblings are being raised by their widowed mother. Though they do not have a farm, Simon's mother has received some support from their village church and has been able to start a small business of selling sugar, tea leaves, salt, and little snacks like doughnuts to be able to support and provide for her children. Recently, Simon was diagnosed with a bone condition called right valgus. During year seven at school, he fell ill from a bacterial infection and was bedridden for a long time. His mother tried to use traditional herbal medication which didn't help with the condition. Simon's infection continued to get worse, and as his mother began to worry he might die, the church helped to pay for medical treatment so he could recover fully. When he was strong enough to get out of bed and walk, his mother noticed his leg was not straight, but she thought it was because of the long period he had been in bed not walking. Over time, his leg has worsened, making walking difficult for him. As a result, Simon is unable to get around or attend to his normal daily activities with ease. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $880 to fund corrective surgery for Simon. The procedure is scheduled to take place on April 20th. Treatment will hopefully restore Simon's mobility, allow him to participate in a variety of activities, and greatly decrease his risk of future complications. Simon’s mother asks, "Please help my son."

$880raised
Fully funded