Melissa RowlandUNIVERSAL FUND MEMBER
Melissa's Story

Melissa joined Watsi on August 12th, 2014. Three years ago, Melissa joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Melissa's most recent donation traveled 1,900 miles to support Marise, a 13-year-old girl from Haiti, to fund cardiac treatment.

Impact

Melissa has funded healthcare for 53 patients in 10 countries.

Patients funded by Melissa

Nay is a 31-year-old man from Burma. He lives with his mother, two sisters, two brothers-in-law, two nephews, and two nieces in a village in Karen State along the Burma border. Nay works in Thailand as a day laborer, spending one week working in Mae Sot and then returning for two days to his village. Nay’s mother is retired and one of his sisters is a homemaker, taking care of her children. The other sister and two brothers-in-law are day laborers on a farm in Karen State. They also grow vegetables for family consumption. His nephews and one niece go to school. Their monthly income is enough for basic needs and they make an effort to pay for basic health care. In his free time, Nay enjoys helping in his community and fixing electronic items. In July 2023, Nay began to experience blurred vision in his right eye. He has intermittent pain and discharge. These symptoms have made it increasingly difficult for him to see clearly. Nay feels uncomfortable seeing only with his left eye and feels sad and depressed about his condition. Nay was diagnosed with retinal detachment, a condition in which the retina pulls away from the supportive tissue in the eye, resulting in vision loss. If left untreated, he could lose vision entirely in the right eye. Nay is scheduled to undergo surgery to reattach his retina on January 18th. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to cover the cost of this procedure and care. After the surgery, Nay's vision will hopefully be restored, and he will resume his daily activities comfortably. Nay said “I was stuck and hopeless while the doctor was telling me that I would need a surgery. I don’t even know how to explain about my health problem to my family. I worry they will feel so sad and worry about me. I am unhappy and feel tired emotionally. After learning that I have donors who will help me paying for my treatment in Chiang Mai, I feel like my hope has returned and I'm wishing my vision would repair and I'll be able to continue my career in the future."

$920raised
$580to go

Siek Meng is a 15-year-old who resides in the Prey Veng province of Cambodia with her parents and two younger brothers. Her parents make a living as rice farmers, and when Siek Meng returns home from school, she helps care for her siblings. During her free time, she enjoys learning English by watching English-language films and television shows. She aspires to pursue higher education in the capital of Phnom Penh and study medicine in the future. Around the age of 6, Siek Meng and her parents noticed something concerning about her back. However, they postponed seeking treatment until two years later due to the high cost of treatment and not considering it essential at that time. Unfortunately, the condition has since deteriorated, and she has been diagnosed with scoliosis, a deformity of the spine. In the past year, Siek Meng has experienced increased difficulty breathing as her rib cage presses on her lungs. Additionally, she occasionally feels numbness in her legs caused by her vertebrae compressing nerves. Thankfully, Siek Meng and her father undertook a challenging journey of two and a half hours to reach our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre (CSC), seeking assistance for her disability. The medical team at CSC plans to perform a spinal fusion with implants on August 2nd, which requires financial support as the operation costs $1500. This amount will cover radiology, medications, surgery, and post-operative physiotherapy care. CSC is requesting $1500 to help fund this procedure for Siek Meng. Siek Meng shared, "I am feeling embarrassed about my back and I want to not have chest pain anymore. I hope after surgery I can go back to school and be able to walk around my village more easily."

$1,500raised
Fully funded

Wine is a three-year-old boy who lives with his parents and siblings in Karen State - an area of Burma that is in a state of crisis and conflict. Wine’s father is a construction day laborer and his mother stays at home with Wine and his siblings. Wine's older brother lives in Bangkok and his sister lives in Shan State and is able to send Wine's household money every month. His other four siblings are students. Wine was born in 2019 with a condition called hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus is caused by a brain malformation or birth defect that causes excessive cerebrospinal fluid to accumulate in brain cavities. Cerebrospinal fluid is a clear, colorless liquid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord, protecting them from injury. It carries nutrients to the brain and spinal cord and takes away waste. In a healthy person, the amount of this fluid produced by the brain is absorbed by the body. In hydrocephalus, the fluid fails to drain and accumulates, leading to pressure on the brain. Wine's symptoms include a lump on the bridge of his nose. His eyes frequently water, and he cries a lot when he is in severe pain. Additionally, his head is gradually increasing in size as the fluid continues to build. The condition is most often treated by inserting a shunt. The shunt diverts excess cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from the brain to another part of the body where the fluid can be reabsorbed. Wine visited a doctor when he was born to address the issue. While he was in the process of receiving treatment across the border at a hospital in Thailand, the Thai-Burma border shut down due to the outbreak of COVID-19. With the closure of the Thai-Burma border, Wine and his family could not go back to his follow-up care. Fortunately, after the Thai-Burma border reopened, Wine was able to meet with our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF). Wine received a CT scan at Mae Sot General Hospital and the doctor was able to diagnose the issue and scheduled Wine to undergo surgery immediately on June 2nd. BCMF is now requesting $1,500 to help fund this procedure. Wine's mother said, "I want him to be able to walk, sit, and be healthy like other children his age. My husband and two of my children work, so I can take good care of Wine. I cry a lot whenever I see Wine suffering from pain, but now I feel like I no longer have to shed a tear for him because of that. I don’t want to be rich, nor do I want him to be rich. I only want Wine to be healthy and happy."

$1,500raised
Fully funded