Byron joined Watsi on September 2nd, 2015. Seven years ago, Byron joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Byron's most recent donation traveled 8,700 miles to support Nuru, a young girl from Tanzania, to fund surgery to heal legs so that she can walk more easily.
Byron has funded healthcare for 107 patients in 14 countries.
Byron has funded healthcare for 107 patients in 14 countries.
Nuru is a young girl with a big family. Her father is a cattle breeder. Cattle breeding has been hard for the past few years because of climate change, so the cattle have been dying because of starvation. Nuru has always wished to go to school, but it has been hard for her to start because the nearest school is located around 6 km away from home and her condition makes it impossible for her to walk that distance every day. Nuru was diagnosed with bilateral genu valgus. Her legs bow inward so that her knees touch. This condition is typically caused by an excessive accumulation of fluoride in the bones, which often stems from contaminated drinking water. As a result, Nuru has a difficult time walking. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $880 to fund corrective surgery for Nuru. The procedure is scheduled to take place on January 6th. Treatment will hopefully restore Nuru's mobility, allow her to participate in a variety of activities, and greatly decrease her risk of future complications. Nuru’s father says, “My daughter has been suffering for a while. I wish for her to be able to do what she wishes independently.”
Mary lives with her husband and 5-year-old child in Kenya. She is 28 years old and works as a laborer on farms. Her husband does labor jobs when we can get them at construction sites. Their combined income is inconsistent, and they have no savings or medical insurance. Mary has been unwell for a while now. She had a hemorrhagic stroke in January of this year, which has mostly been resolved. However, an ultrasound revealed that she has a right ovarian serous cystadenoma. These are abnormal growths that need to be removed. If left untreated, they can turn into cancer (serous carcinomas). Mary needs surgery, but cannot afford it. She is scheduled for an oophorectomy procedure, which is the surgical removal of an ovary or ovaries. This surgery will cost $1074, and she needs help raising the payment. Mary says, "I am in so much pain and need treatment. If left untreated I am scared of losing my life.”
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!"
Mu is a 34-year-old wife and mother, living in Thailand. Mu lives with her husband, son, and two daughters in Mae Sot, Tak Province. Their family moved from Yangon, Burma to Thailand 14 years ago, in search of better job opportunities. Today, Mu is a homemaker, her son is a student, while her two daughters are still too young to study. Her husband is a dockworker in Mae Sot. Because their income is insufficient to cover their daily expenses, they sometimes have to borrow money from a neighbor. About two years ago, Mu developed a femoral hernia. Because of the hernia, Mu experiences severe pain in her left groin area, and she also has a lump that has been increasing in size, and which hangs down when she walks. Mu is very stressed about her condition, and because of chronic discomfort, she has been unable to keep up with her daily tasks. Fortunately, with the help of our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, Mu is scheduled for hernia repair surgery on October 27th, at Mae Sot General Hospital. Burma Children Medical Fund is seeking $1,500 to cover the cost of Mu's surgery and care, which should enable Mu to return to a life without the hardship she experiences now. Mu said: “I feel like I have to hold myself so this will not fall down when I walk, which makes me feel very uncomfortable. I want to receive surgery soon so that I can work to earn more money in the future. Now, my baby—our youngest daughter—is older so I will find a job after I have fully recovered from surgery.”
Samuel is a hard working man from Kenya who gets jobs at a construction site in Narok town. He lives in his ancestral home with his siblings - his parents passed on several years ago. Six days ago, Samuel was attacked by unknown people on his way home in the evening. He has a swollen face, is unable to chew, and is also unable to use his right hand. He was taken to a nearby health center by well-wishers for emergency care from where he was referred to a government facility, and thence to Kijabe Hospital. Kijabe doctors have recommended two surgeries to heal his fractures. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner can help him to get the care he needs. On September 30th, Samuel will undergo a fracture repair procedure, called an open reduction and internal fixation, to fix the fractures in his jaw and hand. Samuel's income is inconsistent, and is not enough to pay for the surgery. He does not have medical coverage and has been depending on well-wishers to pay for his medical bill. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,500 to fund this procedure. Samuel shared with us, “I can only take liquid meals. My mouth is painful and swollen. I am also unable to use my right hand. I cannot work to buy food, and I cannot even eat the food I struggle to get because of the injuries.”
Yi is a 67-year-old woman from Bruma who lives in a monastery with 40 other monks, nuns, and villagers. Although she does not have an income, all of her basic needs are met by the monastery. Yi enjoys spending most of her time reading religious books. Over 15 years ago, Yi's vision in her right eye became blurred, but she did not seek treatment because she thought it was simply something that was destined to occur due to her aging process. However, she eventually sought medical care at a hospital with the support of donors because her vision progressively worsened. There, she was diagnosed with a cataract and was scheduled to undergo repair surgery. On the day she was supposed to receive treatment, her son unfortunately passed away, so she did not return to the hospital for the procedure. Over the next couple of years, Yi began to also experience blurred vision in her left eye. The vision in both of her eyes deteriorated to the point where she could no longer recognize people. Fortunately, she was able to undergo cataract surgery of her left eye two months ago with the help of our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF). Now, she is scheduled to undergo cataract surgery on August 10th. During this procedure, surgeons will perform a lens replacement on her right eye. BCMF is requesting $769 to cover the total cost of Yi's procedure and care. Yi shares, "As long as I am alive, I want to see and I do not want to depend on others to help me. I felt so happy when I learned that donors will pay for the cost of my surgery. Thank you so much to all the donors.”
Treshass is a three-week-old baby. She is the only child in her family. Her parents are hardworking and already are learning to be exceptional parents. Her father depends on casual labor jobs, while her mother has established a small local business selling groceries. They live near the city and the current inflation and high standard of living makes it difficult for them to provide even basic needs for their family. They are worried if their child will live a full life because they are not in a position to fund her medical bill. Treshass has clubfoot of both legs. Clubfoot is a condition in which the foot is twisted out of shape. This causes difficulty walking and even wearing shoes. Fortunately, Treshass's family traveled to visit our medical partner's care center, Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre. There, surgeons will perform clubfoot repair surgery on September 2nd. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $935 to fund Treshass's clubfoot repair. After treatment, she will be able to grow with her legs being straight and walking with ease. Treshass's father says, “When we heard of the work and treatment offered here, we decided to visit. We hope our baby will receive the required treatment."
Sarai is a sweet and friendly three-year-old girl from Bolivia who has Down syndrome. She lives in a small indigenous community in the mountains of central Bolivia with her parents, who are both farmers, and her five siblings. She is a friendly little girl who loves making new friends and blowing kisses to everyone she meets! Sarai was born with an atrial septal defect, a cardiac condition in which a hole exists between the two upper chambers of the heart. Blood leaks through this hole instead of flowing properly through her body, leaving her feeling weak and short of breath. Fortunately, Sarai is scheduled to undergo heart surgery on July 28th 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 Sarai's procedure costs. Our medical partner is requesting $1,500 to cover the remaining costs, which cover surgical expenses, cardiac exams, medications, and travel fees so Sarai and her family can travel to receive her life-changing cardiac procedure in La Paz. Sarai's mother shares, "Our family is all praying that our daughter will become healthy and strong after this surgery!"
Purity is an adorable seven-month-old baby who was born with spina bifida. She is the youngest of two children in her family. Her parents previously relied on casual labor to support their family, meaning they would pick up work wherever and whenever it was available. However, with jobs currently being so hard to find, they now do small-scale farming to provide for their family. Since she was born, Purity has had a swelling on her lower back. A few days after birth, her parents took her to a nearby facility, where she was examined three times without receiving any help. During the fourth visit, she was referred to another facility in the bigger city of Nakuru. There, she was diagnosed with spina bifida, a condition caused by the spine not properly closing around the spinal cord. After receiving a diagnosis, Purity was referred to our medical partner's care center, BethanyKids Kijabe Hospital (BKKH), for treatment. Last week, Purity's family was finally able to gather enough money to bring her to BKKH for an evaluation. However, due to financial constraints, her family is unable to fund the procedure needed to help her condition. Without treatment, Purity is at risk of lower-limb paralysis, infection of the exposed nervous tissue, development of tethered cord syndrome, and possible developmental delays. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), is able to help. Purity is scheduled to undergo spina bifida closure surgery on July 7th. Now, AMH is requesting $1,151 to cover the cost of Purity's spinal surgery. This procedure will hopefully spare Purity from the risks associated with her condition, instead allowing her to grow and develop along a healthy trajectory. Purity’s mother says, “I’m not happy to see my child with this condition. I would really like her to be treated and have a normal life.”
Jayden is a sweet baby and the last born in a family of 5 children. His parents separated before he was born and his mother does laundry for neighbors to provide for the family. Shortly after Jayden was born, his mother noticed a large swelling on his back. She did not have the money to take him to a doctor at the time but, when he was seven months old, she took him to the hospital where Jayden was examined and was sent to another facility for a scan. Unfortunately, the scan was not done because Jayden's mother could not raise the required amount of money. She shared her plight with her boss who got in touch with one of the ambassadors from BethanyKids hospital in their village. The ambassador reached out to her the following day and helped bring Jayden to the hospital. Upon examination, he was diagnosed with spina bifida and urgent surgery was recommended. Spina bifida is a type of neural tube defect in which the spine does not properly close around the spinal cord. Without treatment, Jayden is at risk of lower-limb paralysis, infection of the exposed nervous tissue, development of tethered cord syndrome, and possible developmental delays. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $1,151 to cover the cost of Jayden's spina bifida closure surgery. The procedure is scheduled to take place on June 21. This procedure will hopefully spare Jayden from the risks associated with his condition, instead allowing him to grow and develop along a healthy trajectory. Jayden’s mother says, “I have been praying for a long time for Jayden’s healing and I now believe that he will be treated.”
U Tin is a 36-year-old man, living with his mother on the western coast of Burma. U Tin’s mother is retired and helps with household chores. U Tin works in a photo studio, printing photos and wedding invitations. Through this, his monthly income is just enough to pay for their basic living expenses. One year ago, U Tin started to experience pain in his lower left abdomen. Thinking that the pain would go away, U Tin relied on traditional medicine and pain medication. In February, the pain increased, but U Tin could not afford to seek treatment at a hospital. Instead, he purchased more pain medication from a pharmacy, which helped ease his discomfort somewhat. However in April, the pain became so severe that he could no longer work. He borrowed money from his friend, and went to a hospital. The doctor examined him, and diagnosed him with an inguinal hernia. When the doctor told him the surgery would cost 1,200,000 kyat (approx. $1,200 USD), U Tin told the doctor he could not afford to pay such a sum, and he returned home still feeling unwell. A few days later, U Tin told his neighbour about his problem, and she suggested that he seek treatment at Mawlamyine Christian Leprosy Hospital (MCLH), where care is more affordable. He followed his neighbour’s advice, and went to MCLH, where the doctor confirmed his diagnosis and the need for surgery. When U Tin explained that he could not afford to pay for the surgery, the doctor referred him to our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, for assistance in accessing the treatment he needs. Currently, U Tin is experiencing severe pain, and he cannot sit or stand for any length of time. Fortunately, he is now scheduled for surgery on May 24th, and Burma Children Medical Fund is requesting $807 to cover the cost of U Tin's hernia repair treatment. U Tin said: “I would like to recover. I am worried that I will not be able to work and take care of my mother. When I recover, I will go continue to work [at the shop] and pay back the money I borrowed from my friends.”
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!"