United States • Born on July 17th
Van joined Watsi on August 23rd, 2016. Seven years ago, Van joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Van's most recent donation traveled 8,500 miles to support Ann, a hardworking woman from Kenya, to fund fracture repair surgery for a broken wrist.
Van has funded healthcare for 73 patients in 13 countries.
Van has funded healthcare for 73 patients in 13 countries.
Ann is a 45-year-old woman from Kenya and a mother of four children aged between 23-27 years old. Her husband passed away in 1999. Her children have been unable to secure steady jobs, and Ann works as a casual laborer washing clothes to provide a living. However, she shared that her income is inconsistent, as it depends on the availability of work. She lives alone in a single room. Ann does not have medical coverage and is requesting assistance with her treatment costs. In April 2023, Ann slipped and fell on the road causing a fracture in her right wrist. She went to a local pharmacy for first aid and has since been using hot water and salt to treat the fracture due to a lack of medical coverage. However, her hand has continued to swell, and she is in chronic pain, making it challenging to use her right hand. A church member recommended Ann visit Kijabe Mission Hospital for review. Through church members’ contributions, Ann received an X-ray, and the doctor recommended she undergo surgery to treat the fracture. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner can help. On May 15th, Ann will undergo a fracture repair procedure called an open reduction and internal fixation. This procedure will heal the broken bones and enable her to use her hand again. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), is requesting $1,500 to fund this procedure. Ann says: “I can’t use my hand because it is broken. I am unable to work and sometimes sleep hungry because I depend on my hand to work and earn a living. I need the surgery to earn a livelihood.”
Isaac is a 37-year-old husband and father to three young children ranging from 2-8 years old. He works as a laborer at a construction site in Nairobi. However, income is tight, as Issac's job has an inconsistent need for laborers and his wife is a stay-at-home mom. On the 13th of April, Isaac was involved in a bad car accident and rushed to our medical partner's care center Kijabe Hospital for emergency care. The car Isaac was in swayed off the road and hit a wall that caused a severe fracture in his right leg. The fracture has made it difficult for him to walk and causes him pain. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), can help. On April 14th, Isaac will undergo a fracture repair procedure, called an open reduction and internal fixation. This procedure will help him regain the ability to walk. AMH is requesting $1,500 to fund his medical procedure. Isaac says, “My family depends on me. I am scared of how to fend for them with this condition. I need the treatment since I cannot work with a broken leg."
Austin is seven years old and a pupil in pre-primary two in Kenya. His father sells household items in Mwiki, while his mother is a homemaker. Austin also has one sibling. Austin has suffered from developmental delays in his growth and ability to speak. He also suffers from a heart condition, for which he is receiving treatment. Additionally, Austin has been diagnosed with significant hearing loss in both of his ears. As a result, his father reports that Austin performs poorly in school and has difficulty pronouncing words. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, wants to help Austin procure hearing aids. After being evaluated, Austin will receive his hearing aids- which will cost $1,171- on March 21st, at AIC Kijabe Hospital. Austin and his family need your help to raise the necessary funds. Austin's father says: “Austin is struggling to study in school. He is unable to pronounce words and do sums in class.”
Elenita is a 60-year-old woman from Philippines. She previously worked as a Registered Midwife but lost her job during the pandemic's peak. She's now reliant on her four children for her daily basic needs. In January, Elenita began to experience troubling symptoms, including lower back pain that's radiating down to her lower extremities. She sought a medical checkup and was told to have an ultrasound and CT scan. The tests revealed that she was suffering from gallstones. These are small stones that are usually made of cholesterol that causes inflammation of the gallbladder. Elenita has been advised to undergo a cholecystectomy, the surgical removal of the gallbladder. If left untreated, her symptoms will continue to worsen and put him at risk for further health complications in the future. After seeking treatment through our medical partner, World Surgical Foundation Philippines (WSFP), Elenita is scheduled to undergo a cholecystectomy on February 17th. A portion of the cost of the procedure is being supported by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and WSFP is raising the remaining $1,128 to cover the cost of Elenita's surgery and care. Elenita shared, "Thank you, WATSI and World Surgical Foundation Philippines! You are such a blessing and I will never forget how you save my life. If in the future you will need my service as a midwife, I'm more than willing to help out."
Luz is a sweet baby from Bolivia, where she lives with her parents and two older brothers in a small mountain village. Her parents work as farmers to support their family. Luz, in addition to being diagnosed with Down Syndrome, was born with a ventricular septal defect, a heart condition where a hole exists between the two lower chambers of her heart. As a result, blood leaks through the hole without passing through her lungs to obtain oxygen, leaving her weak and short of breath. Fortunately, our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance who is expanding their work in Bolivia, is helping Luz receive treatment. On January 19th, Luz will undergo surgery where doctors will sew a patch over the hole, allowing for blood to flow completely through her heart and reach her lungs, obtaining oxygen and, ultimately, allowing her to grow as a healthy baby girl. Luz's family needs help raising $1,500 to fund her procedure and care. From Luz's mother: "Our family is all praying that after the surgery our daughter will be stronger and healthier."
Festus is a cheerful boy who always has a friendly smile and a joyful, resilient spirit. The fifth born of six children, he is a third grader at a nearby primary school. His parents are small scale farmers who plant maize and beans for consumption and sale. Two of his siblings are in high school and the others are in primary school. His parents sell their farm produce in order to pay their school fees and manage their daily needs. Festus has had a long stay in hospital with an infected wound and multiple surgeries, two debridement surgeries and nerve repair after he sustained a deep cut in his left hand. He now needs a skin graft to cover the damaged area. The decision to perform the skin graft was recommended by his doctors because his wound has not healed after a long time. After undergoing three surgeries, Festus feels traumatized when he enters the operation theatre. His mother is worries that he might lose his hand if not treated. Their family has had to undergo counselling to promote resilience and assurance that everything will be okay, and that Festus will be able to use his hand again. After all this, the family is looking forward to the results of the surgery with excitement. His family is asking any well-wisher to support them in this time of need, as they need $1,089 to fund the skin graft. Festus's mother says, “It’s been a long journey for my son. For the last one week I haven’t slept well just thinking of his health. I hope he gets treated and will be well again.”
Dawentz is a student from Haiti. He lives in a small town in the mountains of central Haiti with his parents and siblings. He is in his last year of high school, and would like to go on to university to study law or business. Dawentz has a cardiac condition called severe rheumatic aortic regurgitation. One of the four valves of his heart was severely damaged by a rheumatic fever he suffered earlier in childhood. As a result, his heart can no longer adequately pump blood through his body, leaving him weak and short of breath. The surgery that Dawentz needs is not available within Haiti due to limited cardiac care. He is scheduled to fly to the United States to receive treatment. On November 18th, he will undergo cardiac surgery, during which surgeons will remove his damaged valve and implant an artificial replacement. Another organization, Baylor Scott & White Heart Hospital, is contributing $20,000 to help pay for surgery. Dawentz's family also needs help to fund the costs of surgery prep and travel. The $1,500 bill covers labs, medicines, and checkup and followup appointments. It also supports the costs of obtaining his passport and the expenses of the social worker from our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance, who will accompany Dawentz's family overseas. Dawentz says: "I am very glad to know that so many people are helping me to get my health back."
Shedrack is two years old, and lives in Tanzania with his parents and one sibling. His mother stays at home to care for the children, while his father is a small scale farmer, whose earnings cover the family's basic needs. Five months ago, when Shedrack was in the kitchen with his mother, he pushed over a pot of boiling water, burning his left arm and left leg. Shedrack's mother rushed him to a local dispensary, where they were sent on to the hospital. As the family lives in a remote area, Shedrack's treatment required extensive travel. And, while the burns ultimately healed, Shedrack developed contractures, which limit his ability to straighten his leg, or to use the fingers on his left hand. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is helping Shedrack receive treatment. On October 13th, surgeons at Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre will perform burn contracture release surgery, which will enable Shedrack to walk easily, and use his fingers again. Now, he needs your help to fund this $874 procedure. Shedrack’s mother says: “The burns were so bad that I thought I was going to lose my son. I am glad that now I am going to be able to help finish his treatment and all thanks to you.”
Kay is 43-year-old woman and garment factory worker. She lives alone on the border of Thailand and Burma. Kay supports her parents in Burma by sending them money every month. In her free time, she enjoys reading books about Buddhism. In the middle of 2021, Kay began experiencing pain and abnormal bleeding. By September of 2022, the pain and symptoms had worsened. Kay has been diagnosed with myoma, or a noncancerous growth in the uterus. She has been advised to undergo a total abdominal hysterectomy, which would surgically remove her uterus and cervix. If left untreated, Kay's symptoms will continue to worsen and put her at risk for further health complications in the future. Fortunately, Kay is scheduled to undergo her hysterectomy on September 19th. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to cover the total cost of her procedure and care. Once recovered, she will no longer experience pain or abnormal bleeding. She will be able to go back to work, and to continue supporting her family. “When I recover fully, I will continue to work in the garment factory. I will save my money and I will pay back my debt. I will try to continue supporting my parents,” said Kay.
Meet Hour! He lives in Cambodia with his parents, who both work as farmers. His 26-year-old brother works as a seller at a local market. Hour completed school up to 6th grade, but he no longer attends. He enjoys spending time listening to music, playing games, and meeting friends. When he was a toddler, Hour was diagnosed with hemophilia, a medical condition that severely reduces the ability of blood to clot. This causes him to bleed heavily from even slight injuries. Four months ago, Hour began experiencing pain in his hips. He was diagnosed with bilateral hip necrosis, a painful condition that occurs when the blood supply to the head of the femur, or thighbone, is disrupted. Because bone cells need a steady supply of blood to stay healthy, his condition can ultimately lead to the destruction of his hip joint. Hour is currently unable to walk without support, has anemia, and is in chronic pain. Fortunately, our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre (CSC), is helping him receive treatment. On August 10th, he will undergo a joint replacement, called an uncemented hip arthroplasty. CSC is requesting $1,500 to fund Hour's treatment and care. Hour shares, "I am thankful that I have a chance to have a new hip. This treatment will help me be able to work to help my family in the future."
Neylan is a three-year-old girl and the first-born child in a family of two children. She is a charming girl who loves to play with her baby brother. Her father is a teacher at a local college while the mother is a housewife. Despite having a job, it is hard for her father to earn enough to provide and care for his wife and two children. Neylan was diagnosed with bilateral genu varus, her legs bow outward at the knee. This condition is typically caused by an excessive accumulation of fluoride in the bones, which often stems from contaminated drinking water. As a result, she has difficulty walking and playing. Her baby brother is also in need of treatment, which causes stress and worry for their family. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $880 to fund corrective surgery for Neylan. The procedure is scheduled to take place on July 8th. Treatment will hopefully restore Neylan's mobility, allow her to participate in a variety of activities, and greatly decrease her risk of future complications. Neylan’s mother says, “Please help me, my children's legs are being deformed and we are worried."
Yoon is a bright and loving 12-year-old girl. She lives with her mother and uncle in Karen State of Burma near the border with Thailand. She was a student in grade three but stopped studying in August 2020 when she was no longer able to walk. Yoon enjoys painting pictures and reading books. In the future, she wants to go back to school and continue her studies. She helps out her mother with household chores. Her uncle is unemployed whereas her mother is an agricultural day labourer. One day at home, Yoon fell down when she tried to stand up to go to the bathroom. Her feet felt painful and were pointing downwards. After that, she did not try to stand up again and would move around her house on her knees. Her mother would have to carry her to the bathroom. Due to their financial situation, her mother was not able to seek treatment despite being very worried for her daughter. Over time, Yoon noticed that her feet were increasingly pointing downwards and were stiff. Her legs would feel painful and were also stiff. Sometimes, she could not stretch out her legs due to feelings of tightness and pain. Her mom shared that she would cry whenever her legs pained, and she would have to wait until the pain lessened by itself. Additionally, her hands began to weaken until she could not hold food with her hands. At the same time, her speech became slurred and her voice became hoarse. On June 17, Yoon arrived at our medical partner's care center, Mawlamyine Christian Leprosy Hospital (MCLH), and was admitted that same day. She received a physical examination and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and tightness of Achilles tendon in both of her legs. The doctor recommended she receive surgery on both of her feet, which would help her walk again, and scheduled the procedure for June 21st. When Yoon’s mother told the doctor that they cannot afford to pay for surgery, the doctor referred Yoon to Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF) for assistance accessing further treatment. Our medical partner, BCMF, is requesting $1,500 to cover the cost of an Achilles tendon lengthening procedure for Yoon. This procedure will elongate her Achilles tendon, allowing increased motion at the ankle joint. Without treatment, Yoon's condition will continue to cause her discomfort and will further limit her movement. Her mother said, “I cried almost every night when I saw my daughter in this condition. She always cried and complained about her feet. She always asked me to bring her to the hospital to get treatment. Whenever she asked me, I felt very sad and I would cry in secret. I want her to get treatment, but I cannot afford to pay for it. Due to COVID-19 and the current fighting in Burma, I cannot make enough money or save it. Often, I would only eat fishpaste and rice, but give her meat so that she can have something nutritious. When I heard that she has donors who will help her receive treatment, I felt very happy and thankful to BCMF for this kindness. I never thought she would receive such an opportunity. It makes me so happy that I do not know how to express it in words.”