Mateo joined Watsi on November 22nd, 2016. Six years ago, Mateo joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Mateo's most recent donation traveled 4,200 miles to support Gareth, a very special 4-year-old boy from Bolivia, to fund life-saving heart surgery.
Mateo has funded healthcare for 74 patients in 13 countries.
Mateo has funded healthcare for 74 patients in 13 countries.
Gareth, who is four years old, lives with his parents and three siblings in central Bolivia. His parents are shopkeepers and have so much love for their family. Gareth was born with ventricular septal defect, a heart condition that creates a hole between the two lower chambers of the heart. Blood, which should circulate through his lungs to obtain oxygen, simply leaks out through the hole, leaving Gareth weak and short of breath. In addition to his heart condition, Gareth was born with Down syndrome. Doctors at our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance, are scheduled to operate on Gareth on January 19th, at Hospital del Niño Dr. Ovidio Aliaga Uria. During the procedure, surgeons will sew a patch over the hole in Gareth's heart, so that his blood will flow normally. Gareth's family needs your help to fund the $1,500 to cover the costs of his care. Gareth's mother said: "Our family is very grateful to everyone who is making it possible for Gareth to have this surgery."
Zeblom is a four-year-old boy from Ethiopia. He loves toys, playing football with his brother, and enjoys going to school. His twin brother is currently suffering from pneumonia and his parents are struggling to pay for medical treatment for both of them. His mother is currently not working as she is taking care of her kids, while Zeblom's father cuts wood for a living — his income is limited to providing basic needs for his family. They have not yet managed to get proper treatment for Zeblom due to these financial constraints. Zeblom was born with hypospadias, a congenital abnormality that causes urinary dysfunction. Without treatment, he will continue to experience uncomfortable symptoms and will be at risk of cancer and future infertility. Fortunately, Zeblom is scheduled to undergo corrective surgery on December 20th. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,293 to cover the total cost of his procedure and care. Zeblom's mother says, “After he goes through his surgery, I want to start working again and educate him. I hope he will be healthy like other children.“
Saw Myo is a 14-year-old from Burma. He lives with his grandparents, parents, two sisters, and brother. His grandparents are retired. His father farms paddy and rubber trees on their land, while his mother is a homemaker. Saw Myo and his siblings are all in school, but Saw Myo recently had to stop attending due to a medical condition. Saw Myo has had a lump on his lower spinal cord since he was nine years old due to an injury from a slingshot. He received medicinal ointment from a traditional healer that helped with the stiffness and prevented further growth. However, Saw Myo fell off his bicycle a few years later, and the lump grew in size. His family took him to several clinics, and an X-ray indicated a potential spinal cord problem. The doctors recommended a computerized tomography (CT) scan, but due to COVID-19 policies, Saw Myo could not receive the scan. His parents continued to try and help Saw Myo receive treatment but learned that his condition could not be treated locally. Saw Myo's mother then contacted a neighbor who worked as a medic at a clinic in Burma and began raising money for his care. The doctors want Saw Myo to undergo an MRI, which is an imaging procedure that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce images of bodily organs. This scan will help doctors diagnose his condition and formulate an appropriate treatment plan. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF), is helping Saw Myo receive this treatment. On November 15th, he will undergo an MRI. BCMF requests $814 to cover the cost of Saw Myo's MRI procedure and care. Saw Myo's mother said: “We have been so worried since we saw the mass increasing in size. It was tiring to seek treatment in Burma, and we now have borrowed a lot of money without Saw Myo having received treatment."
Sebastiana, who is eight years old, lives with her mother and four siblings in Tanzania. Because she is separated from her husband, Sebastiana's mother works many different jobs in order to support her children. One day, when their mother was away, Sebastiana and her siblings were busy helping out with household chores. Sebastiana got into an accident, and hot water spilled all over her arm. She received treatment for her burns - which healed - but they have left her with scars that limit the use of her arm. Sebastiana and her mother traveled a long way to meet with doctors from our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation. As a result of their visit, Sebastiana is now scheduled to undergo contracture release surgery, and the amputation of her left thumb, at Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre on October 13th. After her surgery, Sebastiana should regain full use of her hand and arm, which will be a big relief to her mother. Now we need your help to fund the $1,088 required for the surgery. Sebastiana’s mother says: “When we were leaving home, she was so happy knowing that she is going to get treatment.”
Chaw is 20-year-old who lives with his parents and three younger sister in a refugee camp. Chaw's sisters go to school, his mother is a homemaker and his father and brother work as agricultural day labourers. Chaw's brother lives on his employer's land and sends the family what money he can every month. After his accident, Chaw stopped working on the same farm as his brother. In his free time, before his accident, Chaw liked to play football with his friends and visit with them. In 2020, Chaw was carrying corn to the peeling machine where he worked and he slipped and hit his left lower leg against the fan of the machine. Chaw was in a great deal of pain and was brought to the hospital. Chaw was told that his left lower leg was broken, and underwent surgery to insert a steel rod into his leg. This past January, Chaw noticed a mass on his left lower leg, where he had received surgery. The mass was very painful and felt hot to the touch. Over time, the mass increased in size until his whole lower left leg became swollen. Although he received surgery to remove the mass, Chaw's leg never fully healed. Eventually he was diagnosed with osteomyelitis and was told the steel rod in his leg would need to be replaced. Chaw is in a lot of pain and his lower left leg continues to be swollen and red. He cannot sleep well and needs crutches and assistance to move around. With the help of our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF), Chaw will undergo surgery to reset his fractured bones and ensure proper healing. The procedure is scheduled for September 6th and BCMF is raising $1,500 to cover the cost of this life-changing procedure that will help Chaw walk free of pain. Chaw shared, “I am happy that I will receive surgery with the help of the organisation [Burma Children Medical Fund] and I am thankful to all of the donors. In the future I want to get better quickly. I will find a new job and support my family.”
Ronald is a middle-aged farmer from Kenya who is the thirdborn in a family of six. He and his family all live in semi-permanent houses and work as small-scale farmers. His father passed away years ago, so his mother, who is diabetic, was left to care for the children alone. Ronald studied up to the college level, but he could not secure a job in his field, so he now works as a casual laborer. He also helps his mother with house chores since she is sick and on medication, making it difficult for her to do them alone. With the income he earns through doing casual labor, Ronald helps support his family's basic day-to-day needs. Ronald was recently involved in a road traffic accident while traveling as a passenger on a motorbike. After his driver lost control due to being hit by another motorbike, they both fell on the tarmacked road, and the motorbike landed on Ronald's lower limbs. Fortunately, there were people around who helped them, but he could not manage to stand. He had to be lifted onto a passenger service vehicle, which took him to the hospital. Since he sustained an open fracture to his foot during the accident, it was treated as an emergency, and he was immediately taken to the operating room for cleaning and debridement. He was then admitted to the ward and is now waiting to undergo fracture repair surgery. He is currently in pain and unable to use his limb Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner can help. On August 12th, Ronald will undergo a fracture repair procedure called an open reduction and internal fixation. After the procedure, he will no longer be in pain and will be able to walk and work again. Now, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,145 to fund this procedure. Ronald says, "I earn a living through casual jobs, which some are near and some are far from home. This state has actually brought me down. Please help me so that I may not be a burden once I am able to work.”
Faith is a beautiful four-month-old baby from Kenya. She is the youngest of two children. To support their family, her mother is a stay-at-home mom, and her father herds and sells cattle. Faith was born at home with several congenital conditions. Her parents took her to a nearby facility for examination, where she was diagnosed with spina bifida, hydrocephalus, and clubfoot. They were referred to another facility where a medical device, called a shunt, was used to help treat the hydrocephalus, draining the excess fluid from her brain. On discharge, the hospital referred her and her family to our medical partner's care center, BethanyKids Kijabe Hospital, where Faith was examined and scheduled for spina bifida repair surgery. Spina bifida is a type of neural tube defect in which the spine does not properly close around the spinal cord. Without treatment, Faith 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 Foundation, is requesting $1,151 to cover the cost of Faith's spina bifida closure surgery. The surgery is scheduled to take place on July 13th. This procedure will hopefully spare Faith from the risks associated with her condition, instead allowing her to grow and develop along a healthy trajectory. Faith’s father says, “When I saw the problems that my child has, I was worried that she would never receive treatment. I am hopeful she will receive treatment with your help.”
Tablut is playful a eight-year-old boy from Burma. In his free time, he enjoys playing football with his friends and hunting with a slingshot in the jungle. He lives with his parents and four sisters in a village near the border in Karen State, Burma. During the day, Tablut and his sisters go to school in the village, while his parents work as agricultural day laborers. They also grow rice for their family to eat, as well as raise chickens and pigs. Together they earn 5,000 baht (approx. 166 USD) per month. The income they earn is just enough to cover their monthly expenses and they cannot afford to pay for other costs that come up including basic health care. On April 26th, Tablut and his friends climbed up a mango tree to pick mangoes, however, Tablut slipped and fell out of the tree, fracturing his right leg. Right away his thigh looked deformed, and he experienced a lot of pain. His friends ran to get his mother who carried him on her back to a nearby clinic where he was admitted for four days. There the medic wrapped his right thigh in a bandage and gave him medication for his pain. While admitted, his pain lessened but his thigh became swollen and he began to develop a fever which caused him extensive pain and an inability to sleep. His mother was told by the medic that they would arrange transportation to take him to a hospital. On April 31st, Tablut and his mother were brought to our medical partner's care center Maharaja Nikon Chiang Mai Hospital (CMH). There, he received an x-ray confirming that his right thigh was fractured. In early May he underwent surgery to place an external fixation device onto his right thigh. Initially, after surgery his pain lessened, however as time has gone on the pain and swelling have returned and he's once again began to develop fevers at night, as well as blisters on his leg where the external fixation device is attached. Currently, he cannot shower by himself, and cannot move his right leg or walk anywhere without the help of his mother. With the help of our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, Tablut will undergo surgery on June 17th to reset his fractured bones and ensure proper healing. After surgery, Tablut's pain will finally subside and he will be able to walk, play, and go back to school to be with his sisters and friends. Our medical partner is asking for $1,500 to fund Tablut's surgery and medical care. His mother said, “Now I am miserable. I want my child to receive surgery quickly so that we can go home. I worry for him and I also worry about my other children who were left behind [at home]. There is flooding in my village, and I am worried that they will go to the river to swim. Thinking about both Tablut and my other children, I can’t sleep at night nor eat. The school will reopen soon, but I have not saved any money for my children’s school fees yet. I want him to go to school when he recovers.”
Jane is a loving mother from the Philippines. She has an adorable 8-month-old baby boy. Jane works as as a municipal administrative aide, while her husband works as a contractual college teacher. However, even with their combined salaries, they still cannot afford to cover her medical treatment. In 2019, Jane began to experience troubling symptoms, including a painful, palpable mass on her neck. She was diagnosed with a nodular goiter, which is a solid or fluid-filled lump that forms within the thyroid. However, due to financial constraints, she opted to take the doctor’s prescribed medicine to alleviate the symptoms instead of having the surgery she needs. Fortunately, our medical partner, World Surgical Foundation Philippines, is helping Jane finally undergo treatment. She is scheduled for a thyroidectomy on May 3rd at Our Lady of Peace Hospital. Surgeons will remove all or part of her thyroid gland. This procedure will cost $1323, and she and her family need help raising money for this life-changing care. “Once this surgery is done, I won’t have to endure this pain. Thank you World Surgical Foundation Philippines and Watsi for this opportunity to be treated. Now, we don't have to worry about where to get the money for my treatment,” Jane shared with relief.
Rehiwilzahra is a sweet toddler from Haiti. She lives in Port-au-Prince with her mother, father, and three older siblings. Rehiwilzahra likes watching cartoons and playing with her older siblings. Rehiwilzahra has a cardiac condition called Tetralogy of Fallot. This heart condition involves several related heart defects including a hole between the two lower chambers of the heart, and a muscular blockage of one of the valves. These defects prevent blood from circulating properly through the lungs leaving Rehiwilzahra weak and short of breath. The surgery Rehiwilzahra needs to heal is not available in Haiti, so she will need to fly to the Dominican Republic to undergo cardiac surgery to close the hole in her heart with a patch and remove the blockage from her valve. Our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance is helping Rehiwilzahra's family raise $1,500 to cover the cost of labs, medicines, and follow-up appointments. This amount also supports passport obtainment and the social workers to accompany Rehiwilzahra's family overseas. Rehiwilzahra's mother shared, "We have been praying for a long time for a solution to our daughter's heart problem. We are very thankful to everyone who is helping her!"
Jack is a teacher from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and is currently in Kenya in search of a better livelihood. He works as a French translator and part-time teacher, but his job is temporary so isn't providing a stable income yet. Jack and his wife are separated and together have two children aged 12 and 14 years old. He currently lives in a single-room rental house costing Ksh. 9000.00 ($90) per month. Two weeks ago, Jack was involved in a road accident that caused a left tibial fracture. Now he is unable to walk and needs to get around in a wheelchair. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner can help. On March 18th, Jack will undergo a fracture repair procedure, called an open reduction and internal fixation. If left untreated, he risks being unable to use his legs and could become permanently disabled. Now, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $1,500 to fund his procedure. Jack says, “This accident caused me to be confined in a wheelchair. If I don’t get treated I might lose my ability to walk. This surgery will really help to rectify the injuries.”
Sioni is a 17-month old girl and the only child to her young mother. Sioni's mom never had a chance to go to school herself, and is the second wife to her husband, who has two wives and seven children. Sioni's father is a livestock keeper and a small-scale farmer. They come from a Maasai community where health facilities are a long distance away, and frequently are unable to go to hospitals due to financial challenges. Due to this reality, Sioni was born at home through the help of midwives. Sioni was born with clubfoot on both feet. Clubfoot is a congenital musculoskeletal condition in which the foot is twisted out of shape. This causes patients to have a great deal of difficulty walking and wearing shoes. Fortunately, Sioni's family traveled to our medical partner's care center, Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre, where she will receive treatment for her condition. There, on February 18th, surgeons will perform clubfoot repair surgery on both of Sioni's feet. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $935 to fund Sioni's clubfoot repair. After treatment, she will be able to walk easily, and grow up to run and play like other children. Sioni’s mother says, “I would like my daughter to be like other children.”