Check out the joint press release below.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Crowdfunding Brings Life-Changing Surgeries to Children in the Developing World
Grace Garey, Watsi
Matt Shandera, CURE
February 13, 2013 – San Francisco, CA – Today, CURE International, one of the largest providers of specialty pediatric surgical care in the world, and Watsi, the first global crowdfunding platform for healthcare, announced a formal partnership to bring life-changing medical care to thousands of children in the developing world.
“Our hospitals around the world receive thousands of patients each year — children needing specialized surgical care,” said Joel Worrall, vice president of cure.org. “We rely on donations from caring individuals to help fund their care. Watsi, with their social approach to funding medical care, will help us bring healing to more children.”
CURE and Watsi previously engaged a one-month pilot partnership. During that pilot, CURE sent Watsi profiles for 25 children awaiting surgical care, Watsi posted them on its website, and 400 individuals from around the world donated more than $26,000 to directly fund life-changing medical treatments for all 25 patients. CURE provided the necessary medical care, and Watsi donors received an update about the patient they supported. During this test phase, treatments fully funded by Watsi donors included a one-year-old baby with hydrocephalus, a 6-year-old girl with a burn scar contracture, and a 6-year-old boy with clubfoot.
Pictured above is Faith, whose surgery was fully funded through Watsi.
“Our mission is to connect people to expand global access to health care. We’re passionate about leveraging the power of technology to create change for people in need of medical care around the world,” said Grace Garey of Watsi. “CURE is doing the kind of work we – and our community of users – want to support. We’re excited to see this partnership grow.”
As a result of the formal partnership announced today, CURE and Watsi expect to provide thousands of life-changing surgeries to children who would otherwise lack access to medical care. This innovative partnership is the first of its kind for both organizations. Individuals can visit watsi.org to directly fund a medical procedure.
About CURE International
CURE International has a 15-year track record of providing children with curable, physical disabilities the treatment they need to live normal lives. CURE operates hospitals and programs in 27 countries worldwide, and since opening its first hospital in 1998 has seen nearly 2 million patients, provided more than 138,000 life-changing surgeries, and trained over 6,100 medical professionals. Learn more at cure.org
Watsi.org is a website that, in a world where one billion people cannot afford medical care, is revolutionizing the way everyday people participate in the fight for global health by enabling anyone to directly fund low-cost, high-impact medical treatments for individuals in need of care. Learn more at watsi.org
You’ve seen Mali in the news lately because it’s embroiled in a serious civil conflict.
The eyes of the international community are on Mali right now. Rebels in the northern part of the country are moving towards the south, and violence is exploding across normally peaceful cities and villages. Last month, France was the first to intervene.
We’ve partnered with Project Muso, a Partners in Health organization working on the outskirts of Mali’s capital, Bamako, to fund life-changing medical care for their patients.
Despite the conflict, Project Muso is pushing forward. “If the community members we work with were supposed to despair in the midst of the manifold crises that surround them, well, then they didn’t get the memo,” says Ari Johnson, director of Project Muso, “They are focused and determined to build a better future for their children and their communities.”
Just minutes ago, we posted profiles for Samba and Mohamed, two Malian patients in need of funding for medical care. This is one of those times when global support is critically important.
We hope you’ll join us in supporting Malian efforts to build a better future.
When we posted John’s profile on Watsi, he needed surgery to remove a tumor on his lower back and restore sensation to his lower body.
We just heard from a staff member at African Mission Healthcare Foundation who said, “I saw John yesterday and he was walking!”
As of today, Watsi donors have given a total of $100,000 for 100+ life-changing medical treatments in 10 countries around the world!
View more stats in the new “Metrics” tab on our public transparency document here:
Last week, Bill Boulden, a New York DJ with 17,654 Twitter followers, started tweeting about Watsi.
We reached out to him to find out what he likes about Watsi, and he had some pretty amazing stuff to say.
1. How did you first hear about Watsi?
I first heard about Watsi through the Y Combinator blog.
2. What made you donate on Watsi versus another donation platform/charity?
There are several things that makes giving to Watsi more fulfilling than the average charitable cause. Putting a face on it always helps, for sure; I also like how I can be confident none of the money is being wasted. When I am asked to give money to a charity that I see running advertisements or employing outreach people, I understand the necessity of that, but it makes me painfully aware that some of my money is going back to ad placements and gas mileage and more. Totally unavoidable but quite regrettable. Where Watsi really stole my heart was with the knowledge that 100% of my contribution is going directly to the problem with no auxiliary costs.
3. What was your favorite thing about donating to a patient on Watsi?
Knowing that due to the imbalance of the power of currency around the world, my trivial dollars here are life-changing dollars there. It is unfortunate that we live in such a world where the relative worth of a dollar varies so radically across the globe, that a flavor shot in your cappucino here is a family’s dinner elsewhere; and yet, that is what makes Watsi work and is so enticing. Contrast…ten couples here have to skip Applebee’s for a night, that somewhere else, actual BLINDNESS or DEAFNESS or DISABILITY is cured. I can not see a more wonderful exchange.
4. Do you have a reason to care especially about health issues?
No, I actually don’t! Health is one of the most important things in life but other issues are important too. I could see giving to a cause for other purposes as long as it was still as transparent, honest, and straightforward as Watsi.
5. Where do you hope to see Watsi in 5 years?
I would like to see Watsi, in five years, having introduced such a sweeping change in how we understand healthcare in underdeveloped countries that it is less necessary than it is today. I would hope for a world where multiculturalism, understanding, and goodwill towards fellow man has continued to increase, as it has for all the second half of the 20th century and onward, to continually lessen the need for such treatments. Five years is perhaps not a reasonable timeframe; in five years I would simply like to see Watsi bigger. But in fifty? I’m a dreamer.
6. If you could tell one thing to a Watsi patient you’ve supported, what would it be?
“I’m sorry that this world is unfair and that who you came out of, in this lottery, which human being you were born to and in what part of the world, could so drastically change the rules for your health care. I am sorry that I was lucky enough to come out of the womb of an upper-middle-class American mother in a community where I wanted for very little, and when I had bad eyes and appendicitis and colon problems and my brother was attacked by an animal, these things were all fixed for us at a trivial cost, but because you, while every inch as equally valid as a human being as I am, came out in an underdeveloped community in a more remote part of the world, fixing these same things for you is months or years of reasonable wages, if available at all. That isn’t fair. I don’t know what I did right and you did wrong to have it be like this. But Watsi has made it possible for me to sacrifice almost nothing, so that you can be restored of elements of your health that are worth almost everything.”
7. Where do you live?
I live in Buffalo, New York. Born & raised.
8. What do you do for work?
I am by day a Level 3 Senior Engineer & Project Manager at an Internet Advertising firm in Buffalo. I develop and manage systems for efficiently serving billions of advertisements across the net every week, as well the user interfaces and financial systems that support them.
9. What are your passions, hobbies, or interests outside of work?
Music. I am a part-time singer/songwriter/producer/recording engineer/independent record label/DJ called Spruke, based out of Buffalo, where I make upbeat & introspective synthpop as well as some nerdcore rap.
Magic: the Gathering. See the abovementioned nerdcore rap ;)
Racquetball. It’s like clown tennis! All the fun of other racquet sports but given to crazy plays and sometimes absurd things can happen.
Meeting people with experiences very different from my own so that I can fully appreciate how many different ways there are to live this life.
10. What inspires you?
Thinking about how crazy it is that we are all here in the first place and what we are supposed to do with this “existence” stuff that’s been thrust upon us, so simultaneously rudely & wonderfully.
11. Words to live by?
The quote I live my life by is “Be the greatest possible version of yourself you can envision.” I take this to mean, if I could close my eyes, and redesign myself like I had God’s photoshop paintbrush, what would that person be like? Then you know what it is you want to do with your life that day! My perfect me enjoys the simpler things in life like the company of friends, does not need so much of his own when others have so little, is understanding and respectful of other people’s experiences in this world, and maybe makes the world a better place by contributing beauty in the form of music that some people might appreciate. I can never be that person because we are all human and imperfect, yet now I know what it is that I need to shoot for. I can try, and, in failing, be a better person than I was before. And Watsi helps with half of those elements of the imagined “greatest me.”
Why do you Watsi? We’d love to know! Shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us why.
…And that’s how I found myself pushing intravenous narcotics in a jeep on the side of the road.
Oh wait, perhaps I should start at the beginning.
The beginning is a small, open cook fire; a feature that every home in this region has. In the cold winter months, most people spend more time in the kitchen, and huddle a little bit closer to the fire. Sometimes too close. This week alone, we have had 5 children in our inpatient department (IPD) with severe burns, one of whom passed away.
The little girl who this story is about was more fortunate, though she has a long and painful recovery ahead of her. When her clothes caught fire, she suffered 2nd degree deep burns from her mid-abdomen to mid-thighs. Her family brought her to the nearest healthcare facility, which could not treat her injuries. Her mother then carried her for two days to reach the hospital.
The little girl’s name is Dila, and even with daily dressing changes, antibiotics, fluids, and observation, it was clear that her wounds needed advanced treatment. Barring infection her burns may eventually heal on their own, but even so, the resulting scar tissue would cause severe contracture, limiting her mobility and posing lifelong challenges.
This is where Watsi, a fantastic organization that allows people to directly donate to an individual patient’s treatment, enters the picture. Dila’s family had no way of paying for advanced treatment, much less the multiple days of travel required to travel to a major city that they had never seen. In less than a day following the posting of her profile on the Watsi site, 13 donors from around the world changed Dila’s destiny. They provided her with the means to seek treatment; a fighting chance to grow up and live a normal life. Thus began our journey together.
As Dila was having her dressings changed, Ryan and I were packing our bags in preparation for our departure from Achham. Having received word that Dila’s profile was complete, her mother carried her, freshly bandaged, to our waiting jeep. The doctor handed me a syringe of morphine and asked if I knew how to push meds. I do now. Though 25% of her body is covered in severe burns, the only sounds Dila made throughout our winding, bumpy, 12-hour jeep ride were a few slight whimpers when we hit extra large ruts in the road. She only cried when I came near to give her medications; afraid that I might be trying to change her dressings. The rest of the time she lay there in complete, stoic silence.
The next day, we made our way to the airport, where Dila and her mother had to board a different plane than ours, as they had received last-minute tickets. Neither of them had even flown before, and I spent a moment reflecting on the injustice of a small girl being too badly injured to be able to look out the window on the world from above. The important thing though, was making sure that she was comfortable during the flight, and that she and her mother did not feel lost in the Kathmandu airport when they arrived. I fumbled with my limited Nepali phrases, all semblance of grammatical correctness lost, but managed to convey a few simple messages. After giving her one last dose of pain medicine, and hoping that she would sleep soundly through the flight, I stood on the runway and watched their plane set off, carrying them at hundreds of miles per hour toward a strange, new place. A place where Dila’s future has more options than infection versus contracture. A place where the technology exists to treat her injuries. A place of hope.
Dila underwent the first of multiple skin graft surgeries two days ago. Her condition is stable, and she still lies quietly in a hospital bed, waiting to see what comes next.
Jesse Brady is Director of Research and Advocacy at Nyaya Health, our Medical Partner in Achham, Nepal. Jesse manages various healthcare implementation research initiatives at Nyaya, but also has a passion for patient accompaniment and storytelling.
Few pairings of words so perfectly describe what excites us.
Has there ever existed an orator as great as Martin Luther King, Jr.? Take 5 minutes and listen. Impossible not to feel inspired and hopeful.