Canada • Born on October 15th
Gareth joined Watsi on March 20th, 2014. Eight years ago, Gareth joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Gareth's most recent donation traveled 8,800 miles to support Rose, a 62-year-old widow of two children from Malawi, to fund surgery to remove a portion of her thyroid gland causing swelling and pain.
Gareth has funded healthcare for 104 patients in 12 countries.
Gareth has funded healthcare for 104 patients in 12 countries.
Rose is a 62-year-old widow with two fully grown children. She lost her husband four years ago. Rose owns a small business where she sells sand and also performs garden maintenance for a small fee. Rose gets support from both children, who are married with children themselves now. She lives with her second-born child in a three-bedroom house without water and electricity. Rose likes doing house chores and enjoys eating nsima, a culinary tradition of Malawi, made from maize flour with vegetables. In 2014, Rose started experiencing pain when she swallowed. She visited the hospital near her home, where she was treated. The treatment worked for awhile until December of last year when her daughter noticed that Rose's neck was swollen on the right side. In March, Rose noticed that the swelling was getting larger and also causing consistent pain. Rose decided it was time to visit Kamuzu Central Hospital in Malawi where a scan revealed her mass had grown substantially and was stemming from the right thyroid lobe. Her doctor diagnosed her with a goiter and determined that surgery would be needed. Due to her financial challenges, Rose could not afford the surgery. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), can help. Rose met with a surgeon who confirmed her diagnosis and the need for surgical intervention called a thyroidectomy, which removes part or all of the thyroid gland. Rose believes the surgery will help her to get better and prevent her symptoms from impacting her day to day life, and allow her to focus on how good her life is. She was able to contribute $10 toward her care and is grateful to all to help her raise the $1,015 needed. Rose said, “Thank you donors for supporting me, I want to live my normal life.”
Win is a 50-year-old man from Burma. He lives with his extended family in a village in Karen State, which is an area under conflict and violence. He and his wife have four children, and three grandchildren. Win, his wife, two sons and one of his sons-in-law are farmers, while his two daughters are homemakers. Win lost vision in his right eye in the middle of 2022. Two months after this occurred, the vision in his left eye blurred, until he could only perceive light. He was diagnosed with glaucoma in his left eye, and as a result of his impaired sight, he had to stop working. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to cover the cost of eye surgery for Win. On April 3rd, doctors at Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital will operate and, after recovery, Win will be able to see clearly again. Now, he needs your help to fund this $1,500 procedure. “I feel stressed and worried about my life," Win said. "I want to go back to work after my surgery.”
Meet Ku, a 21-year-old from Thailand. He lives with his parents, four younger brothers, and one younger sister. Two of his brothers are in school, while his parents and other siblings practice subsistence farming. Ku works as a day laborer, providing the sole income for his household. In his free time, Ku enjoys gardening, growing vegetables, and looking after his family's two cows. In March, Ku was in a driving accident that caused his motorcycle to fall onto his left leg, fracturing his left thigh. He was brought to a clinic before being referred to the local hospital. After an x-ray confirmed his diagnosis, he was referred to our medical partner's hospital for further treatment. Currently, Ku is experiencing a lot of pain and cannot move or lift his left leg, sit up, or leave the hospital bed. With the help of our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF), Ku will undergo surgery on March 13th to reset his fractured bones and ensure proper healing. This procedure will help him walk again and live pain-free. He will also be able to go back to work and will no longer require a caregiver. BCMF is requesting $1,500 to fund Ku's surgery. Ku shared, "I feel so upset. I never thought I would become like this [bed-bound]. I want to get surgery soon so that I can recover and go back to work. If I'm not working, my family could have a problem. I had to borrow money from my friend [to pay for basic expenses while getting treatment]. I want to go back to work and pay back my debt."
Ye Min is is a 2-month-old baby from Thailand. His father works at a hotel and his mother is a homemaker. After being delivered, doctors assessed that Ye Min began to experience poor vision in both eyes. These symptoms have made it increasingly difficult for him to see clearly. Ye Min has been 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 completely. Ye Min is scheduled to undergo surgery to reattach his retina on January 26th. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF), is requesting $1,500 to cover the total cost of his procedure and care. After his surgery, Ye Min's vision will hopefully be restored, and he will resume his daily activities comfortably. Ye Min’s mother said, “I am worried about my son’s condition because he is too young to receive the surgery. I cannot wait to stay with him and take care of him well. I want my son to get better soon. I was very happy when I hear that this organization will help pay for my son’s treatment. I am really thankful to all of the donors who will help my son receive surgery.”
Thuon is a 43-year-old garment worker who enjoys listening to the news on the radio. He is married and has one daughter, who is currently attending school. His wife works as a cleaner in a restaurant to support their family. Due to his failing vision, Thuon has been unable to work for the past few years. Three years ago, Thuon developed a cataract in his right eye, causing him to experience light sensitivity and blurry vision. He has difficulty seeing things clearly, including colors and faces, and is worried about falling when walking, so he is not able to go places on his own. When Thuon learned about our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, he traveled for three and a half hours seeking treatment. On August 11th, doctors will perform a small incision cataract surgery and place an intraocular lens implant in his right eye. After recovery, he will be able to see clearly. Now, he needs help to fund this $253 procedure. Thuon says, "I hope after surgery my eye can see better and I can go back to work to support my family."
Myo is a 14-year-old boy from Burma. He lives with his parents in a village in Karen State. His mother is a homemaker who is currently eight months pregnant. His father is a subsistence farmer, but he also works as a day laborer to earn money. Myo is in grade six and he enjoys playing football in his free time. Two years ago, Myo developed a pain in his arm which he noticed while playing football with his friends. Right away he was in a lot of pain, but his arm did not look broken. At first, the pain lessened, but gradually the pain worsened and his upper left forearm became swollen. Myo could also feel a mass under the swollen area of his left forearm. Myo and his father went to Chiang Mai Hospital, where he received a MRI and other tests, as well as a biopsy which confirmed that the tumor in his forearm was cancer. Now he needs surgery to remove the tumor, and he will need a chemo after surgery. The enlarged mass in Myo's left forearm has not increased in size, and only causes him pain when he lifts something heavy or when he does any physical activity with that arm such as washing his clothes or cleaning. Although he can take a shower by himself, using only his right arm makes it challenging. When he plays with his friends, he needs to protect his left forearm to prevent getting hurt. Myo's family sought treatment through our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund. He is now scheduled to undergo mass removal surgery on December 8th, and his family needs help funding the $1,500 cost to cover his procedure and care. He said, “I feel sorry for my mother and I pity her that she has to stay alone with the new baby. I also feel sad that I cannot go to school this year. I want to recover quickly and go back to see my brother and mother.”
Dieunese is a mother of two from Haiti. She lives in the outskirts of Port-au-Prince where she cares for her two young children along with her husband who is a taxi driver. Dieunese has a cardiac condition called rheumatic mitral stenosis which makes it extremely difficult for her heart to pump blood through her body, leaving her weak and short of breath. Dieunese requires surgery, but it is not available in her country. To access care, she will fly to the United States to receive treatment. On November 17th, she will undergo cardiac surgery, during which surgeons will attempt to repair her heart valve; if they are unable to, they will remove it and implant an artificial replacement. Another organization, the Baylor Scott & White Heart Hospital, is contributing $20,000 to pay for this surgery. Dieunese's family also needs help to fund the costs of surgery prep and travel. The $1,500 bill covers labs, medicines, and check-up and followup appointments. It also supports passport obtainment and the social worker from our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance, who will accompany Dieunese overseas. Dieunese says, "I am hopeful that having this surgery will allow me to be alive and healthy for my children!"
When U Eain was 10 years old, he became a monk. Now, at the age of 33, he lives with five other monks in a monastery in Yangon, Burma. As a monk, U Eain doesn't have an income. Instead, every morning, two of the novice monks from his monastery collect food donated by followers in Yangon. In addition, worshipers who visit the monastery donate vegetables, fruits and curries to eat. When the monks preach in other villages, they may receive small cash donations, and when U Eain's parents visit him every year, they provide U Eain with a small amount of money. In this way, the monks are able to cover their basic needs. In February, U Eain went to a town in Mon State to preach. During his second day there, he felt very tired and struggled to breathe, and ultimately, he had to stop preaching. He went to a local clinic, where he received two injections that helped him to feel better. The next day, he returned to his monastery in Yangon. Once he was home, he developed a fever and felt very tired, so he went to a nearby clinic. There, he received an electrocardiogram (ECG). After his results came back, the doctor told him that there were problems with his heart, and U Eain was referred to Yangon Government Hospital for an echocardiogram. On April 19th, U Eain had the echocardiogram, and then brought the results back to the nearby clinic. Due to numerous issues uncovered by the test, U Eain will need cardiac surgery to replace two valves in his heart. Fortunately, our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is able to help U Eain access the care that he needs. On October 21st, doctors at Pun Hlaing Hospital will replace the two valves in U Eain's heart, relieving him of the chest pains, rapid heartbeat, fatigue and difficulty breathing that he suffers from now. With his limited income, U Eain needs your support to raise the $1,500 to cover the cost of the procedure. He is hopeful to feel himself again soon and looks forward to returning to preaching and teaching. U Eain said: “I am so happy to receive treatment. I would like to say thank you so much to all of the donors.”
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.”
Ty is a 51-year-old food seller. He has two children - a son and a daughter. His son is seven years old in first grade, and his daughter is nine years old in third grade. Ty and his wife work together, selling soft drinks and snacks from their home. In his free time, Ty enjoys playing with his children and helping them with their school work, as well as listening to the radio. In May 2020, Ty fell and fractured his left ankle. He went to a local hospital for surgery. The wound still had not healed after six months, so Ty visited another hospital to remove the surgical hardware. Even now, Ty's ankle is still swollen and in constant pain. He cannot walk or help his wife with their store, which Ty shared has been causing him depression. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre (CSC), can help. On January 7th, he will undergo a fracture repair procedure. Surgeons will perform an ankle fusion, eliminating Ty's chronic pain and swelling. As a result of surgery, he will be able to walk again without pain or crutches. CSC is requesting $465 to fund this procedure. Ty shared, "It is hard for me to stay at home and not do anything. I hope I can walk again soon so I can play with my children and help my wife with the store."
Sarah is a 5-year-old girl from Haiti. She is typically a healthy and active girl and is very loved by her family. Sarah has been diagnosed with hydrocephalus, a condition in which excess cerebrospinal fluid accumulates in the brain and increases intracranial pressure. As a result of her condition, Sarah has been experiencing severe headaches. Sarah had a shunt placed when she was an infant for treatment and it allowed her to develop normally. The recent headaches alerted the doctors that the shunt stopped working and needed to be replaced. Without treatment, Sarah will experience severe physical and developmental delays. Our medical partner, Project Medishare, is requesting $957 to cover the cost of surgery for Sarah at Hospital Bernard Mevs. This is the only site in the country where this care is currently available and the procedure is scheduled to take place on December 7th. This critical treatment will replace the shunt and drain the excess fluid from Sarah's brain to reduce intracranial pressure and greatly improve her quality of life. With proper treatment, Sarah will hopefully continue to develop into a strong, healthy young girl. Their family is grateful that Sarah will be able to continue to have a happy life after the shunt is replaced.
Ann is a farmer and the mother of two children aged 10 and 5 years. They live in their ancestral home in Central Kenya. Ann and her husband are small-scale farmers growing food for home use. The couple does not have jobs and therefore has no source of income. They also don’t have a medical coverage and are required to pay for the treatment and surgery out-of-pocket, which they cannot afford. Two years ago, Ann began to experience troubling symptoms, including pain and discomfort. She was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. She needs surgery to prevent her symptoms from getting worse. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is helping Ann receive treatment. She is scheduled to undergo a thyroidectomy on November 10th at our medical partner's care center. Surgeons will remove all or part of her thyroid gland. This procedure will cost $949, and she and her family need help raising money. Ann says, "I have been feeling uncomfortable with this condition. It has been two years since I was diagnosed and there has been no improvement. I hope this surgery is a solution to my long-term problem."