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Success! Alison from Bolivia raised $1,500 to fund life-changing cardiac surgery so she can grow to be a strong, healthy young girl.

Alison
100%
  • $1,500 raised, $0 to go
$1,500
raised
$0
to go
Fully funded
Alison's treatment was fully funded on October 31, 2022.

Photo of Alison post-operation

November 11, 2022

Alison underwent life-changing cardiac surgery so she can grow to be a strong, healthy young girl.

During her surgery, the hole in Alison’s heart was closed with a patch and blood can no longer leak through it. Her medical team shared that the surgery went smoothly and she’ll now be able to have a full and active life without further risks from her heart condition.

Alison’s mother shared: “Our family is very thankful to everyone who helped cure our daughter, and we wish blessings on everyone.”

During her surgery, the hole in Alison's heart was closed with a patch and blood can no longer leak through it. Her medical team shared that...

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July 25, 2022

Alison is a sweet 6-year-old from Bolivia who loves princesses and coloring in coloring books! She lives with her parents in a small town on the border between Bolivia and Argentina. Her father is a minibus taxi driver, and her mother is currently finishing her university studies. Alison also attends school and recently finished first grade.

Alison 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 her feeling weak and short of breath.

Fortunately, Alison 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 her body and improving her quality of life. Another organization, Gift of Life International, is contributing $2,500 to pay for a portion of Alison’s procedure costs. Our medical partner is requesting $1,500 to cover the remaining costs, which funds surgical expenses, cardiac exams, medications, and travel fees so Alison and her family can travel to receive her life-changing cardiac procedure in La Paz.

Alison’s mother shares, “Our family is so grateful for this opportunity to save our daughter’s life!”

Alison is a sweet 6-year-old from Bolivia who loves princesses and coloring in coloring books! She lives with her parents in a small town on...

Read more

Alison's Timeline

  • July 25, 2022
    PROFILE SUBMITTED

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

  • July 26, 2022
    TREATMENT OCCURRED

    Alison received treatment at Hospital del Niño Dr. Ovidio Aliaga Uría in Bolivia. 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.

  • July 27, 2022
    PROFILE PUBLISHED

    Alison's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • October 31, 2022
    FULLY FUNDED

    Alison's treatment was fully funded.

  • November 11, 2022
    TREATMENT UPDATE

    Alison's treatment was successful. Read the update.

Treatment
Congenital Cardiac Surgery
  • Cost Breakdown
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
On average, it costs $4,000 for Alison's treatment
Subsidies fund $2,500 and Watsi raises the remaining $1,500
Hospital Fees
$3,000
Medical Staff
$300
Medication
$100
Supplies
$0
Travel
$600
  • 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. Parents might notice that their child 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.

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

Most congenital cardiac conditions will eventually lead to death without surgery, often within a period of months or years depending on severity. 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?

Pediatric open-heart surgery has only been made available in Bolivia in recent years. Most families are unfamiliar with the concept of open-heart surgery and are at first quite reluctant to allow their child to undergo this care. Indigenous belief systems in Bolivia can at times contribute to a family's reluctance to proceed with surgery, and must be addressed through thoughtful conversation and social accompaniment of each family.

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

What does the treatment process look like?

The child's cardiac symptoms are usually first detected by their local pediatrician, who then refers the child to the nearest pediatric cardiologist for exam and diagnosis. Once diagnosed, HCA works with the local cardiologist and the surgical team in La Paz to ensure that the child is enrolled on the waiting list for surgery at the hospital, and works directly with the family to facilitate their transportation to La Paz, often from very long distances, and to support them socially and logistically after arrival. The child then undergoes surgery and recovers for about a week in La Paz before returning home to their community. HCA then coordinates with the child's pediatric cardiologist to ensure high-quality, long-term follow-up care, and provides financial support for medications and doctor visits as needed.

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

These treatments are almost always life-saving in nature as the cardiac conditions are not survivable over the long-term without surgery. Within weeks after surgery, the patient should already 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 will separate from the edges of the hole, 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?

For families without private-sector insurance, the cardiac surgery program in La Paz is the only year-round surgical program in Bolivia capable of treating children who need open-heart surgery. Children come to this program from throughout Bolivia; many families live in extremely remote and mountainous areas that can require several days of overland travel to reach La Paz. For patients who live more than 8-10 hours away by road, HCA arranges for families to come by plane from the nearest commercial airport to their home.

What are the alternatives to this treatment?

In general, patients are treated with medications to prevent heart failure until they are able to obtain their surgeries. 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.

Agnes

Meet Agnes, a hardworking 39-year-old farmer and strong single mother. Two of her children live with her brother in a rural area of the country, while her other children live with Agnes in a house in a small shopping center. Agnes works hard to sustain her family. She does laundry in her neighborhood during the day, while selling vegetables in the evening. During the planting, weeding and harvesting seasons, Agnes goes to the village and works on people's farms. Sometimes she is paid with money, and sometimes she is given food in return for her work. Nine months ago, she was pricked by a maize stalk on her lower left limb. She was walking with difficulty because of the pain that resulted from the wound, and she ended up falling. Agnes traveled to a local facility because of pain and swelling in her leg, and was provided with pain medication and bandages. However, Agnes was referred on to another hospital, where her leg could be X-rayed. The X-ray revealed that Agnes had sustained a fracture in her lower leg. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, can help. On September 1st, Agnes will undergo a fracture repair procedure, called an open reduction and internal fixation, at AIC Kapsowar Hospital. After this procedure, Agnes will be able to walk without pain and swelling, enabling her to return to her daily activities, and the work that she needs to do in order to earn an income. African Mission Healthcare Foundation is seeking $941 to fund her procedure and medical care. Agnes says: "My family depends on me in everything. With my condition, I cannot work and am afraid that my children will suffer. Kindly help me get through my treatment and be able to provide for them.”

39% funded

39%funded
$375raised
$566to go
Saw Wah

Saw Wah is a 14-year-old grade six student from Burma. Saw Wah lives with his parents and five younger brothers in a village in Hpapun Township in Karen State where there is a lot of unrest currently. Saw Wah's father works as a day labourer when there is no work on the farm. Saw Wah's youngest brother is too young to enroll in school while his four other brothers stopped going to school this last year. Saw Wah shared, “They do not want to attend school because fighting happens very often in this area. We have to run and hide in the jungle where we study and they do not like to study in the jungle.” Saw Wah’s family also raises chickens and two goats for their own consumption. They also often go fishing and forage for vegetables in the jungle. Even though his family does not have a regular income, they can gather enough food. Saw Wah's family receives free basic healthcare at a free clinic near their village. Around 2018 or 2019, Saw Wah developed a runny nose with yellowish nasal discharge. At first, he thought that this was normal, and it would go away on its own. Towards the end of April 2022, Saw Wah nose became blocked, and he could no longer breath through his nose. He finally told his parents about his symptoms and his father took him to the free clinic at Ei Tu Hta Internally Displaced Camp. At the clinic, the medic checked Saw Wah's nostrils and told them that there is mass blocking the nasal passage in both of his nostrils. The medic also recommended Saw Wah go to a larger hospital for further investigation. At this time, Saw Wah has to breathe through his mouth which causes him discomfort. He has lost his sense of taste and smell, and has a hard time sleeping. Due to these symptoms, Saw Wah has had to stop his studies while he receives treatment. Saw Wah worries that it will take a while, and he will not be able to study this year. Fortunately, Saw Wah sought treatment through our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF). Now he is scheduled to undergo mass removal surgery on September 6th. BCMF is fundraising $1,500 to cover the cost of Saw Wah's procedure and care. Saw Wah shared, "I am excited to receive surgery and I hope that I will be able to breath through my nose after surgery."

78% funded

78%funded
$1,173raised
$327to go

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.