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Chrismarlie from Haiti raised $1,500 to fund the prep and travel costs for her life-saving cardiac surgery.

  • $1,500 raised, $0 to go
to go
Fully funded
Chrismarlie's treatment was fully funded on November 29, 2022.

Photo of Chrismarlie post-operation

February 17, 2023

Chrismarlie underwent life-saving cardiac surgery.

Because the critical care that Chrismarlie needed wasn’t available in Haiti, she traveled to nearby Cayman Islands for her treatment. After reaching the Cayman Islands, multiple procedures and tests were performed and it was determined that Chrismarlie’s condition is too delicate to take the risk of full open-heart surgery. Instead, stents were implanted in the arteries near Chrismarlie’s heart to enable her heart to become stronger over the next several months, at which point she will make a second trip to the Cayman Islands where a catheter will be used to insert an artificial valve inside Chrismarlie’s damaged valve. This will help ensure a healthier road ahead for Chrismarlie.

Chrismarlie’s mother shared: “I am very happy to know that the doctors are being so careful with my daughter’s health, and that we have a good plan to fix her heart now!”

Because the critical care that Chrismarlie needed wasn't available in Haiti, she traveled to nearby Cayman Islands for her treatment. After ...

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June 30, 2022

Chrismarlie is a 13-year-old student from Haiti. She lives with her parents and three siblings in a city on the northern coast of Haiti. Her father is a school administrator, and her mother is a homemaker. Chrismarlie shared that she enjoys going to school and listening to music with her friends.

Chrismarlie has a cardiac condition called pulmonic stenosis, which means one of her heart valves is too tight, making it difficult for blood to pass through and leading to heart failure.

The surgery that she needs is not available in Haiti, but fortunately, Chrismarlie will be able to fly to the Dominican Republic to receive treatment. On July 29th, she will undergo cardiac surgery, during which the surgeons will widen the heart valve so that blood can flow through it more easily. Chrismarlie’s family is raising funds to cover the costs of her surgery prep, as our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance (HCA), is contributing funds to help cover the cost of surgery. The $1,500 will support her surgery prep, which includes all labs, medication, check-ups and follow-up appointments, and the passports needed for HCA’s social workers to accompany Chrismarlie and her family overseas.

Chrismarlie said, “I would like to say thank you to everyone who is helping to fix my heart problem!”

Chrismarlie is a 13-year-old student from Haiti. She lives with her parents and three siblings in a city on the northern coast of Haiti. Her...

Read more

Chrismarlie's Timeline

  • June 30, 2022

    Chrismarlie was submitted by Owen Robinson, Executive Director at Haiti Cardiac Alliance.

  • July 7, 2022

    Chrismarlie's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • November 29, 2022

    Chrismarlie's treatment was fully funded.

  • February 7, 2023

    Chrismarlie received treatment at Health City Cayman Islands in Cayman Islands. Medical partners often provide care to patients accepted by Watsi before those patients are fully funded, operating under the guarantee that the cost of care will be paid for by donors.

  • February 17, 2023

    We received an update on Chrismarlie. Read the update.

Overseas Prep and Transportation
  • Cost Breakdown
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
On average, it costs $1,980 for Chrismarlie's treatment
Subsidies fund $480 and Watsi raises the remaining $1,500
Hospital Fees
Medical Staff
  • Symptoms
  • Impact on patient's life
  • Cultural or regional significance

​What kinds of symptoms do patients experience before receiving treatment?

When a hole exists in the heart, a physician can hear a buzzing noise, or murmur, in the child's chest as blood passes through the hole at high velocity. The child's parents might notice that their son or daughter cannot keep up with other children in daily activities. In severe cases, the lack of oxygen in the bloodstream can lead to dramatic symptoms, such as blue lips and tongue, clubbed fingers and toes, and heart failure. The patients treated by Haiti Cardiac Alliance tend to fall into two categories. They are either born with some type of hole or defect in the heart, or they develop valve disease as a result of an untreated strep throat infection (rheumatic fever). Patients with rheumatic valve disease experience swelling of the abdomen and extremities, as the heart tries to circulate blood through the body despite the valve's dysfunction.

​What is the impact on patients’ lives of living with these conditions?

Virtually all of the conditions treated at Haiti Cardiac Alliance will eventually lead to death without surgery, the majority of them within one to two years. In the meantime, patients experience heart failure as their hearts struggle to compensate for the presence of leaks or other defects. In most conditions, the heart becomes fatigued, limiting the child's ability to be active, go to school, and participate in daily life.

What cultural or regional factors affect the treatment of these conditions?

Families in Haiti often have complex cultural mechanisms for understanding cardiac illnesses and their causes, sometimes involving voudou or other religious belief systems. Nevertheless, the overwhelming majority of Haitian families in our medical partner's program also engage with the medical explanations and treatment of these conditions. Parents are willing and cooperative participants in their child's treatment.

  • Process
  • Impact on patient's life
  • Risks and side-effects
  • Accessibility
  • Alternatives

What does the treatment process look like?

The patient is first referred to our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance (HCA), by a pediatrician or another medical practitioner who detects symptoms that might be cardiac in nature. HCA staff then perform an echocardiogram to diagnose the cardiac condition. If surgery is required, the child joins a triaged waitlist to be placed for surgery with partner hospitals. It can sometimes take 6-12 months to move through this waitlist. During this period, HCA provides periodic cardiac checkups, changing the patient's triage position as appropriate. The child and his/her guardian then travel to the hospital with an HCA social worker. Typically, the child spends 4-5 days in or near the hospital prior to surgery for testing and examinations. After surgery, he or she spends several more days as an inpatient prior to being discharged. When the child is strong enough to travel, usually after several more weeks, he/she returns home to Haiti. HCA provides regular cardiac checkups for at least five years postoperatively before the final discharge from their program.

What is the impact of this treatment on the patient’s life?

These treatments are almost always life-saving in nature. These cardiac conditions are not survivable over the long-term without surgery. Within weeks after surgery, the patient should notice a difference in energy level. Many patients also undergo a growth spurt and/or gain significant weight after a surgery.

What potential side effects or risks come with this treatment?

The risk of death during or shortly after an open-heart surgical procedure is about 3%. Other risks, though rare, include stroke and post-operative infection. In a small percentage of cases, the material used to patch the hole "blows," and a follow-up surgery is necessary to re-patch the defect.

How accessible is treatment in the area? What is the typical journey like for a patient to receive care?

Patients come to Haiti Cardiac Alliance (HCA) from the entirety of Haiti. This can involve three days of travel in buses, pickup trucks, or even on horseback. There is no cardiac surgery of any kind available in Haiti outside of the HCA treatment network.

What are the alternatives to this treatment?

In general, patients are treated with medications to prevent heart failure until they are ready to travel. Patients may also seek care from traditional healers, who may use liquids and powders derived from local plants and roots.

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.