Maribel joined Watsi on February 21st, 2016. Three years ago, Maribel joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Maribel's most recent donation supported Queen, a playful 11-month-old from Tanzania, to fund clubfoot repair surgery.
Maribel has funded healthcare for 50 patients in 9 countries.
Maribel has funded healthcare for 50 patients in 9 countries.
Queen is a sweet 11-month-old from Tanzania. She is the youngest child in her family of eight children. Queen is very curious and charming; when she was at our medical partner’s care center, she could not stop playing with the other children. Her family is from a remote part of Western Tanzania, and her parents farm maize and beans. Queen’s mother shared that the recent weather changes made it hard for them to cultivate maize, and they are now dependent on their cultivation of beans. The low harvest also means there are not enough surplus crops to sell and earn money to support the family’s basic needs. Queen has clubfoot of both feet. Clubfoot is a condition in which the foot is twisted out of shape, which causes difficulty walking and even wearing shoes. Queen’s family was able to travel to our medical partner’s care center for assistance. On February 7th, surgeons will perform clubfoot repair surgery that will allow Queen to walk easily and wear shoes as she grows up. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), is requesting $935 to fund this procedure. Queen’s mother says: “I am worried that my daughter will be so limited when she grows up. I hope she gets the treatment for her condition.”
Meet Gianna, a lovely, four year old girl from Kenya. Gianna lives with her grandmother, while her mother works at a local hotel, and her father is a casual laborer on construction sites. Gianna was born with Osteogenesis imperfecta, also known as brittle bone disease. A child born with this condition has soft bones that break easily. Gianna has never walked, and lives in near constant pain. When she did try to walk using support, she fractured some bones. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is here to help Gianna access the care that she needs. On January 16th Gianna will undergo a procedure at AIC Cure International Hospital, that will provide greater support for Gianna's bones, and which may even enable her to gain sufficient strength to walk. Gianna's family is seeking your support to fund the $1,224 needed to pay for the surgery. Gianna's grandmother said: "Gianna has never walked, and my desire is to see her walk like other children. Your financial support to help her undergo surgery will be greatly appreciated."
Meet Nicolas, a lovely, two year old boy. He lives with his parents and one brother in a nature preserve in the far, southeast corner of Bolivia, where his parents work as beekeepers. When Nicolas was born, it was determined that he suffered from atrioventricular septal defect, which means that there is a large hole between all four chambers of his heart. Blood leaks through the hole without passing through his lungs and obtaining oxygen, leaving Nicolas weak and short of breath. Nicolas was also diagnosed with Down syndrome. Our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance, has stepped up to help Nicolas access the care that he needs. On December 22nd, surgeons at Hospital del Niño Dr. Ovidio Aliaga Uría will close the hole in Nicolas' heart, allowing the blood to flow normally, and enabling Nicolas to breathe without difficulty. Our medical partner is seeking your help to raise the $1,500 necessary to fund this procedure. Nicolas' father said: "We have been waiting many months for this surgery, and we will pray to God to bless everyone who is helping to make it possible."
Titus is the eldest son in a family of four. He shared his life's story with us: sometime back, his father was involved in a fatal argument with a neighbor, and went to prison. Titus' family became homeless as a result of this incident, and Titus could not stay in school after 8th grade due to financial difficulties. Recently, he has been working getting jobs near his home and sometimes he works at construction sites in order to earn a living. His jobs enable him to get his daily basic needs and be able to pay for his rent. Generally, Titus’ life is hard, and it is difficult for him to makes ends meet. Titus had a burn accident and his relatives rushed him to the hospital for treatment of severe burns on his hand and superficial burns on his chest and face. He has been on a daily dressing regime to lower the risk of infection and his doctor has determined that he needs a skin graft surgery in order to replace the lost skin and restore function of his right upper limb and forearm. Titus is requesting to be discharged home from the hospital without further treatment because he does not want the bill to accumulate as it will be hard to pay. However, it is critical for him to have the surgery, so that he can have the full use of his right arm. He needs $1,089 to pay for the surgery. Titus says, "Life has really been hard for me: when a problem ends, another one begins. I am so desperate, but I will not lose hope because someday things will be well. I kindly ask for your help to get well so that I may be able to continue working in order to change my current state.”
Ma Win is an 18-year-old girl who lives with her parents, sister and brother-in-law in Yangon, Burma. Ma Win’s sister works at a clothing factory, while her brother-in-law works as a day laborer. Her parents are homemakers. Before Ma Win's current illness, she also worked at a factory. When Ma Win was four years old, she experienced a bout of high fever, and was brought to the local clinic. She received an injection, and the doctor informed her parents that she was born with a heart problem. However, she was too young at the time for corrective surgery. Instead, she was sent home with medication, and appeared to be doing well until this past year. In April, Ma Win began experiencing chest pains, high fever and difficulty breathing. She went to a clinic, and received an x-ray and an echocardiogram. After the doctor checked her results, she was diagnosed with an opening between two major blood vessels leading from the heart. The doctor told her and her family that she would need to have surgery. When Ma Win explained to the doctor that her family could not afford to pay for the surgery, she was referred to the abbot of a local monastery, who provided the family with information about our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund. Now Ma Win is scheduled for cardiac surgery on October 23rd at Pun Hlaing Hospital. After she has recovered, she should no longer experience chest pains or difficulty breathing, and she won't have to worry any longer about her condition. She will also be able to return to work, which will help ease her family's financial burdens. Now she needs your help to raise $1,500 to cover the cost of her procedure. Ma Win said: “I am scared to receive surgery, but my mother tries to encourage me. However, I am very happy that I will be able to receive treatment with your help. I would like to say thank you so much to all the donors.”
Naima is a smiley and playful baby girl from Ethiopia. She loves to breastfeed and play with her seven older siblings and her mother. Her dad is a retired driver and the community elder, and her mother stays home to care for the children. Because Naima's father has no source of income, their older children support them financially. Naima was born with an anorectal malformation, a congenital abnormality that leads to a complete or partial intestinal blockage. She needs to undergo a series of procedures to eliminate bowel dysfunction. Naima developed bowel obstruction because of her condition and an emergency colostomy was done. She has had multiple issues with her colostomy care and associated complications. As a result, she cannot make stool in a typical way. Her parents have been very troubled because of her condition and are asking for support. Naima is scheduled to undergo surgery to correct her condition on September 22nd. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,500 to cover the total cost of Naima's procedure and care. After her recovery, Naima will no longer experience bowel dysfunction or be at risk of developing health complications in the future. Naima's father says, “I hope my child will get the treatment and heal. Once she finishes her treatment, I hope she will be relieved from her pain and suffering and lead a healthy life.”
Hassan is a hardworking 37-year-old from Kenya who works as a casual laborer. He lives in a single-room rental house that costs about $10 per month. On July 25th, Hassan was working as a night guard when he was attacked by unknown people. During the attack, his left leg was hit with a sharp object. He was eventually taken to a nearby health facility for emergency treatment, where he received stitches and was discharged with pain medication. However, his condition did not improve, and he was still unable to walk. Community health workers in the area took Hassan to a nearby hospital, where an X-ray revealed a transverse patella fracture with some displacement. A doctor at our medical partner's care center, AIC Kijabe Hospital, recommends that he undergo fracture repair surgery. Hassan shares that income from casual labor jobs in Kenya is inconsistent and is not enough to pay for the proposed procedure. He also does not have medical insurance and would need to pay for the surgery in cash. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner can help. On August 26th, Hassan will undergo a fracture repair procedure, called an open reduction and internal fixation. This procedure will help him walk easily again. Now, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $979 to fund this procedure. Hassan says, “I am struggling to walk as a result of the fracture. I am unable to get any manual work to earn a living because I cannot use my legs. Surviving without a job is an issue. I need this surgery to be able to work.”
Santiago is a charming four-year-old boy from a mining community in the mountains of central Bolivia. His parents both work in office roles at a local mining company. Santiago enjoys watching cartoons and making new friends. He also loves to dress up as his favorite superheroes like Spiderman, who he aspires to be when he grows up! Santiago 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 him weak and short of breath. Fortunately, Santiago 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 his body and improving his quality of life. Another organization, Gift of Life International, is contributing $2,500 to pay for a portion of Santiago'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 Santiago and his family can travel to receive his life-changing cardiac procedure in La Paz. Santiago shares, "I hope that after my surgery, I will grow up to be Spiderman!"
Hellen is a charming and playful 3-year-old girl, living with her mother. They live with Hellen's grandparents who are also helping to raise her. The grandparents are small scale farmers, who rely on the crops that they grow, and on any income their surplus crops generate. While Hellen was born a healthy child, her mother noticed that when she began to walk, her legs bent outwards. Ultimately, Hellen was diagnosed with bilateral varus, a condition which is typically caused by the accumulation of excess fluoride in the bones, which results from the drinking of contaminated water. Hellen now walks with a limp, and has pain in her knees when she walks. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $880 to fund corrective surgery for Hellen. The procedure is scheduled to take place on June 17th, at Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre. Treatment will hopefully restore Hellen's mobility, allow her to participate in a variety of activities, and greatly decrease her risk of any future complications. Hellen’s mother says: “I have watched my daughter's legs move from bad to worse for two years, but I cannot afford to seek treatment for her. I am in dire need of your support.”
Teriki is a 74-year-old woman with three children. She is proud that all have grown up healthy and have children of their own now. Teriki’s husband passed away many years ago, and she lives with her grandchildren. Teriki’s children farm a small piece of land and take on labor jobs to help provide for their families. Alongside farming maize and vegetables, Teriki also helps on peoples’ farms to support her grandchildren in school and provide basic needs for herself. Teriki was recently in an accident when she had to separate some animals who were fighting on the farm. Now she has swelling and bruises, and her leg is broken. Teriki is experiencing severe pain and must use a wheelchair to move around, which has been challenging for her to do. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), can help Teriki heal. On May 18th, Teriki will undergo a fracture repair procedure called an open reduction and internal fixation. Upon recovery, Teriki will be able to walk easily again. AMH is requesting $1,145 to fund her medical treatment. Teriki says, “I really feel sorry right now. I have been depending on myself, yet now I cannot walk by myself. Please help me get back on my feet so that we do not suffer more for my grandchildren.”
Gebreegziabher is a brave, young, and fun boy who loves to hangout with his friends. He loves to play chase and other games with his friends and brothers. He has five siblings and shared with us that he loves goats! Gebreegziabher never went to school because of his condition. He is a shepherd and helps to keep the sheep and goats of his parents. Because of his condition, he has endured bullying, but he continues to be brave and his dad shared: “He is so strong despite his sickness. When others pick on him and speak bad things about him and things related to his disease he even gets in to fights.” Gebreegziabher's mom and dad counsel him and comfort him and help him to bring out self-confidence and strength. His dad and his mom are farmers and his mom takes care of all the household chores. Dad said: “Our area is dry. We work hard and farm but the harvest is poor with lack of rain. We purchase food because our harvest is not enough to support the family.” They also raise animals to support themselves. The community survives with the dry land and the scarcity of food by donations from the government and NGOs. But the past two years they couldn’t get the donation since they are in the war zone. For these reasons they can’t afford the medical bill for their son. Gebreegziabher was born with congenital anomaly called bladder extrophy. That is an abnormally where the bladder is open to air. Given the pain and risk of infection, he just ties clothes around the wound. His mom is very much worried and concerned because of his condition. She shared that she has excluded herself from the community for years in taking care of him and raises him and recalls that when growing up, he would sit faraway from others and boys in his age. They keep up hope for better days ahead and are a loving family who support each other the best they can. His Dad said: “He learned to exclude himself from others growing up. We are sad as a family because of his condition. The neighbor insults us, discriminate us and we feel so sad about this. We couldn’t tell what will happen to him. And we bring him to God always.”
SreyLean is a 15-year-old student in the tenth grade. She has one younger brother in grade seven. Her parents are rainy day rice farmers. SreyLean enjoys reading, cooking, and exercising with her friends. She likes math in school and would like to be a lawyer when she grows up. A month ago, SreyLean was involved in a motorcycle collision on her way home from school and fractured her left knee. Her parents took her to a government hospital to repair the fracture, but because they couldn't pay for her treatment, they left the hospital early. Her wound remains open and is not healing well. It is painful and she is unable to walk. When SreyLean's family learned about our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre (CSC), they traveled for three hours seeking treatment. On March 10th, surgeons at CSC will perform a muscle skin flap to to heal the open wound on her left leg. Now, she needs help to fund this $657 procedure. "I hope that my leg will be quickly healed and this infection will go away. I want to be able to walk again," SreyLean shared.