Helping Joy Survive Thalassemia!

$3,340raised of $18,024 goal

Beneficiary: Sujittra Wangmana Organizer: Peter Tuinstra

This fundraiser is closed
Sujittra Wangmana (her nickname is "Joy") is a proud but humble 30 year-young single mother of one. Living in Bangkok, Thailand, Joy was diagnosed when 6 months old with Beta Thalassemia Major - her body does not produce healthy red blood cells that carry oxygen. Monthly blood transfusions since she was a child have kept her alive and relatively healthy but also poisoned her body with a now deadly level of iron.

Through the years Joy's family has scraped together enough money to usually obtain her monthly transfusions on time but has been unable to afford consistent iron chelation treatment which is a vital component to them. While life-giving, each transfusion continues to worsen her severe iron toxicity. Death of Thalassemia patients is most often caused by cardiac complications of iron overload. Death often comes between 17 and 30 years, yet with proper treatment one can live much longer.

With funding from friends Joy currently takes a high daily dose of an oral iron chelator (Thai government made GPO-L-ONE) which has an unfortunate side effect of destroying her white blood cells (the immune system). This problem is compounded due to Joy's spleen having been removed when younger leaving her even more vulnerable to infections. When sick she must stop the oral iron chelator and be confined to the hospital until healthy enough to resume treatment. As a result her iron levels are extremely high at 12,500 ng/ml - whereas a healthy woman should have no more than 160ng/ml. Iron levels less than 2,500 ng/ml are associated with improved survival for Thalassemia patients.

You can help Joy survive Thalassemia by contributing money to ensure she receives proper blood transfusions and is able to immediately tackle her iron toxicity with an additional iron chelator, Desferal, which is the medically preferred chelator but is very expensive. It has a lower incidence of the side effect as her oral medicine and she should be able to maintain use of it when sick unlike her current treatment. The combination of both medicines will have the best effect in the shortest time possible... lower iron levels are within reach!

Joy has insurance through Thailand's basic public health care program where coverage for emergency treatment is available but monthly blood transfusions at a hospital with a Thalassemia specialist along with the medicines her disease requires are not covered. She lives with her Grandmother in Bangkok having access to hospitals that can provide care, while her father travels the south of Thailand operating a small fair looking for hire at temples and public gatherings.  He sends money when he can but it is not consistent nor enough to cover her needs.

Your contribution to help Joy eliminate deadly iron levels and therefore maintain a degree of health will also enable her to continue pursuing her education. Because her childood was spent in and out of the hospital for surgeries and treatment she never completed school. However, Joy is currently studying to get her GED. With the goal of attaining her GED over the next few years Joy hopes to find employment that pays enough to cover her monthly expenses including the cheaper oral medicine GPO-L-ONE (in lower dosage once the extreme iron levels are reduced), and help raise her son with pride and minimal further burden to family, who are already doing their best to support her.

As friends of Joy we plan to help her raise the funds necessary for treatment over the next few years until she can do it on her own. Her doctor estimates it may take up to 4 years to reduce her iron levels to 500 ng/ml, however, we would like to raise money for her 1st year of treatment and allow the doctor to measure Joy's response.

All funds go directly to Joy's bank account and updates on her treatment and condition will happily be shared with all. We hold high hopes that you may share with us the exciting recovery of this loving mother as her iron levels decrease and she pursues education, while continuing to live and provide love for and help raise her son Karim, who was blessed to be born free of his mother's disease.

While we know that today's economy is difficult for many of you and that you have many charitable options for which you manage your thoughtful givings, our hope is for any amount that you can contribute as it will be used responsibly to extend Joy's life.

Your donation will help make Joy's future a reality... your help is so greatly appreciated as she continues to fight for her health and improve life for herself and family!

With many thanks,

Peter Tuinstra
Keith Olson
Emily Reynolds
Wayne Scheller

For individuals residing in Thailand who wish to make a donation, please do so directly to Joy's bank account if more convenient:

Kasikorn Bank
Account Name: Sujittra Wangmana
Account Number: 0952991436

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