Nicola joined Watsi on March 31st, 2022. One year ago, Nicola joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Nicola's most recent donation supported Ko Thaw, a 27-year-old factory worker from Burma, to fund mitral valve replacement surgery.
Nicola has funded healthcare for 15 patients in 7 countries.
Nicola has funded healthcare for 15 patients in 7 countries.
Ko Thaw, who is 27 years old, lives with his extended family in Burma. In early June 2022, Ko Thaw- who was working in a factory in Malaysia- developed a headache. Later that day, he also experienced chest pain, a racing heart, and an episode of vomiting. His employer brought him to the hospital, and after some testing, Ko Thaw was informed there was a problem with his aortic valve. He was given medications and a follow-up appointment. In January 2023, Ko Thaw's health deteriorated, and he was brought back to the hospital. An echocardiogram showed aortic valve regurgitation, and Ko Thaw was told that he would need surgery. His employer wouldn't pay for the surgery, and as Ko Thaw couldn't afford to pay for this on his own, he tried to manage his condition with medication. But when the medications stopped working, Ko Thaw decided to move back to Burma. Ko Thaw was referred to our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund. With their help, he is now scheduled to undergo mitral valve replacement surgery on May 14th at Pun Hlaing Hospital. For Ko Thaw, who currently experiences chest pain, insomnia, muscle stiffness, and headaches with fever, this surgery can't happen soon enough. Now he is seeking your help to raise $1,500 to cover the cost of his treatment. "I hope I can find suitable work soon after my surgery. I would like to say thank you so much. You all do incredible work for poor people who need assistance," said Ko Thaw.
Zaw, who is 29 years old, lives with his wife and extended family members in Karen State, Burma. He and his wife are currently unemployed, although Zaw hopes to work as a second-hand motorbike seller. Zaw has had an irregular heartbeat since he was 10 years old. Although he visited a local clinic as a child, he was never provided a definitive diagnosis. By January 2022, he began to experience fatigue. His back and neck were stiff, and he lost his appetite. He also had difficulty sleeping, experienced a persistent cough and body aches, and his lips turned blue. After multiple hospital visits, Zaw was told he had a heart condition that required surgery. Unable to afford surgery in Burma, Zaw sought affordable care at Mae Tao Clinic (MTC) in Thailand. With the help of our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, he received a free echocardiogram, which revealed he had mitral valve regurgitation, atrial valve regurgitation, pulmonary valve regurgitation, and patent ductus arteriosus. He is now scheduled for a procedure at Kasemrad Prachachuen Hospital in Bangkok on April 18th to repair or replace three of his valves and address any other issues with his heart. Currently, Zaw continues to experience fatigue, thus he is unable to work. He experiences shortness of breath and a racing heartbeat, for which he requires oxygen therapy three times a day. He needs your help to raise the $1,500 to fund his life-changing surgery. Zaw said: “I want to be free from this disease as soon as possible. Thank you all for helping with my treatment cost.”
Naw Lah is a 35-year-old woman who lives with her husband and her daughter in a refugee camp in Mae Hong Son Province. Naw Lah is a teacher, while her husband is a homemaker caring for their three-year-old daughter. Every month, they receive 864 baht (approx. 28.80 USD) on a cash card from the organization The Border Consortium. This amount combined with the 1,200 baht (approx. 40 USD) from her salary is not enough to cover their family's daily needs. They receive free basic health care in the refugee camp, provided by Malteser International (MI) Thailand but this does note cover surgery, including the c-section that she needs. Naw Lah is currently expecting her second child. Due to complications during her previous delivery, the doctors recommend that she should receive a C-section this time to avoid risk of complications. This way, doctors can ensure the safety of both mother and child. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is helping Naw Lah undergo a C-Section on March 1st. This procedure will cost $1500, and Naw Lah needs your support. “I hope to have a boy because my previous baby is a girl. But I will love my baby regardless if they are a girl or a boy,” she said.
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."
Rose is a 44-year-old wife and mother of two children from Haiti. She lives in a small town in central Haiti with her husband, two children, and her sister and her sister's children. Unfortunately, she has been too unwell to work for over five years, but previously sold electronics in a local market. Rose has a cardiac condition called rheumatic mitral regurgitation. One of the four valves of her heart was severely damaged as a result of rheumatic fever a number of years ago. Her heart cannot adequately pump blood through her body, leaving her tired and short of breath. Fortunately, our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance (HCA), is helping Rose receive treatment. She will fly to the Dominican Republic for her surgery. On January 27th, she will undergo cardiac surgery, during which surgeons will remove her diseased mitral valve and implant an artificial replacement. HCA is contributing $12,000 to cover the cost of Rose's procedure, but she and her family also need help funding the costs of surgery prep. Rose and her family need help raising $1,500 to cover labs, medicine, check-ups and follow-up appointments. This money will also support passport obtainment and the social workers from HCA that will accompany Rose's family overseas. Rose shared, "I have felt very sick for a very long time, and I am very hopeful that this surgery will bring me relief and new energy!"
Irenea is a 60-year woman from the Philippines. She takes care of her grandchildren and helps with household chores. Her daughter, a vendor, and her son-in-law, a baker, support the family financially. In February 2022, Irenea began to experience troubling symptoms, including intermittent fever and episodes of blood in the urine. She sought a medical checkup and underwent an ultrasound test. The test revealed that she was suffering from gallstones. She opted to take medicine in the hopes that it would cure her condition. Unfortunately, her condition seemed to worsen over time. Irenea has been advised to 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), Irenea is scheduled to undergo a cholecystectomy on December 16th. A portion of the cost of the procedure is being supported by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and WSFP is raising the remaining $826 to cover the cost of Irenea's surgery and care. "This treatment is almost impossible for our mother to receive. Our financial resources are insufficient, so we're incapable to pay for her hospital bill," Irenea's daughter shared tearfully. "To WATSI and World Surgical Foundation Philippines, thank you for this early Christmas gift! Our family is so happy to be one of your beneficiaries," she added.
Andy lives in a neighborhood of La Paz with his parents and younger sister; he is in the fifth grade and likes playing video games and spending time with his friends and family. Andy was born with a heart condition called ventricular septal defect: a hole exists between the two lower chambers of his heart, and blood leaks through this hole without passing through his lungs to obtain oxygen, leaving him weak and short of breath. During surgery, doctors will sew a patch over this hole to close it. His surgery costs $1,500, and Andy's family needs help to pay for it. Andy's mother said, "Our family is very hopeful that after this surgery Andy will have more energy and will grow bigger and stronger!"
Teresiah is a quiet but social mother of three children, who lives with her family in Kenya. She is a small-scale farmer while her husband works as a casual laborer. Teresiah's children are all in school and she has big hopes for their future. Teresiah started experiencing severe epigastric pains intermittently. She has visited many hospitals without much success. Finally, at Nazareth Hospital, an ultrasound scan examination was done, and it showed that Teresiah has Cholelithiasis - gall stones. In addition to the severe pain she is experiencing, Teresiah might also develop complications like inflammation of the pancreas, gall bladder, or gall bladder obstruction. The surgeons advised that she needs to undergo surgery to treat her condition. Teresiah is not in a position to fund her treatment and she therefore requests for help. She needs $788 to fund her surgery. Teresiah says, "Having kids in school and not being able to take care of them is very difficult. I humbly ask for assistance and medical attention. I want to take care of my family and return to my regular life."
Nancy is a small-scale farmer from Kenya. Together with her elderly husband, they grow food crops for home use on their half-acre piece of land. She is a mother of eight children who are all adults. All her children don’t have a stable source of income at the moment. She needs care but does not have medical coverage and hasn't been able to raise the required amount for treatment. In early July this year, Nancy was tripped by her dog and fell on a stone, hurting the left side of her hip. She sustained a left sub-trochanteric fracture that is making her immobile. This is a fracture of the proximal femur located a few centimeters from the hip. She was taken to a nearby health facility and had an x-ray done after review. She was then referred to our medical partner's care center Kijabe Hospital for surgery. She is unable to walk and is currently using a wheelchair and although jovial and smiling, she is in pain. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner can help. On September 30th, Nancy will undergo a fracture repair procedure, called an open reduction and internal fixation. This procedure will relieve her of her pain and help her walk easily again. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,500 to fund this procedure. Nancy says, “I am unable to walk. I am desperate, and also struggling to pay for my treatment. I need this treatment to be able to get out of this wheelchair.”
Samuel is a nine-year-old student who lives with his parents and three siblings in Haiti's capital city, Port-au-Prince. He is currently in third grade and enjoys studying history and science. Samuel has a cardiac condition called Tetralogy of Fallot, which is a combination of four different congenital heart defects, including a hole between two chambers of the heart and a muscular blockage of one of the valves. Fortunately, Samuel is scheduled to travel to the United States where he will undergo cardiac surgery on September 14th at Akron Children's Hospital. During the procedure, surgeons will sew a patch over the hole in his heart and remove the blockage from his valve. A portion of the cost of Samuel's treatment is being supported by Akron Children's Hospital. Our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance (HCA), is raising the remaining $1,500 to cover the costs of his surgery prep, which includes all labs, medication, check-up and follow-up appointments, and the passports needed for HCA’s social workers to accompany Samuel and his family overseas. Samuel's mother says, "I have been very worried about my son's health for many years. I am looking forward to being able to stop worrying so much after this surgery!"
Alison is a sweet 6-year-old from Bolivia who loves princesses and coloring in coloring books! She lives with her parents in a small town on the border between Bolivia and Argentina. Her father is a minibus taxi driver, and her mother is currently finishing her university studies. Alison also attends school and recently finished first grade. Alison was born with a ventricular septal defect, a cardiac condition in which a hole exists between the two lower chambers of the heart. Blood leaks through this hole without first passing through the lungs to obtain oxygen, leaving her feeling weak and short of breath. Fortunately, Alison is scheduled to undergo heart surgery on July 26th with the support of our long-standing medical partner Haiti Cardiac Alliance, which is now growing and expanding into Bolivia. Surgeons will close the hole with a patch, allowing blood to properly flow through her body and improving her quality of life. Another organization, Gift of Life International, is contributing $2,500 to pay for a portion of Alison's procedure costs. Our medical partner is requesting $1,500 to cover the remaining costs, which funds surgical expenses, cardiac exams, medications, and travel fees so Alison and her family can travel to receive her life-changing cardiac procedure in La Paz. Alison's mother shares, "Our family is so grateful for this opportunity to save our daughter's life!"
Abegaelle is a five-year-old girl from Haiti. She lives in the capital city of Port-au-Prince with her parents and older brother. Some of her favorite activities include going to preschool and attending church with her family. Abegaelle was born with a cardiac condition called atrial septal defect, which means a hole exists between the two upper chambers of her heart. As a result, blood leaks through, leaving her weak and short of breath. The care she needs is not available in Haiti, but fortunately, our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance (HCA), is helping Abegaelle receive treatment. She will travel to the Dominican Republic to undergo surgery on July 26th, during which surgeons will insert a catheter to plug the hole in her heart and restore a healthy blood flow. Abegaelle's family is raising $1,500 to cover the costs of her surgery prep, which includes all labs, medication, check-up and follow-up appointments, and the passports needed for HCA's social workers to accompany Abegaelle and her family overseas. Abegaelle's mother shared, "Our family is all very thankful that Abegaelle will have this chance to have her heart fixed!"