Helping Joy Survive Thalassemia!

For: Sujittra Wangmana
Organizer: Peter Tuinstra
Helping Joy Survive Thalassemia! (Sujittra Wangmana)
of $18,024 goal
18% Complete
Raised by 25 donors
This fundraiser is closed. Thank you for your support!

The Story

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

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on December 1, 2014

Posted on December 1, 2014

While the new page for Joy is under construction and we have yet to add photos, we are posting the link for you to follow her progress as we continue to help Joy.  The new link can be found here:

Joy would love to have you remain a friend and keep updated while her condition improves each month. Thank you to everyone for your love shown and support over the past many months.  We look foward to keeping you in the loop!

Posted on November 29, 2014

Posted on November 29, 2014

We would like to extend a big thank you to the Thai barter exchange company TBX which hosted an event in Bangkok today and contributed cash donations of several thousand Baht plus a free membership for Joy valued at 50,000 Baht worth of credit for her to use within their barter system.  This gift can be used to help Joy offset various living expeneses, and we are grateful to the TBX team - THANK YOU!  
As Joy's fundraiser is coming to an end shortly we would like to advise that a new fundraiser will be established to follow on the success we've had so far.  We will update as soon as the sight is completed, to which we will add newer photos to show you how Joy is progressing.
To all of our 25 supporters, you have been wonderful and Joy is very blessed to have had you on our side.  She thanks you for your generosity and hopes you will keep her in mind as she benefits from your donations and continues receiving treatment to reduce her severe iron toxicity.  You are truly angels :D

Posted on November 17, 2014

Posted on November 17, 2014

A month rolls around so fast! Here's the latest on our friend Joy:
On 12 November she received one bag of blood instead of her usual 2. The hospital was extremely busy and by the time she got her first bag completed it was already 7pm.  As a result she was scheudled to come back today, Monday 17 November for the 2nd bag.  However for several days Joy has been very weak (last month's blood did not last quite as long as it usually does), had stomach pains and a headache, numbness in the limbs and shortness of breath - so she checked in this morning at a hospital nearest her home that takes her government insurance.  While there they supplied her the  2nd bag of blood but Joy unfortunately had an allergic reaction (this happens sometimes with blood donation).  As a result the transfusion was stopped and a shot was given to help her right away.  She is fine now, but this will be a rough month as she's existing on a lower blood supply than usual for the next 4 weeks.  Her next school term is about to start, she is registered and has her books but it will be a challenging time to get to school and focus on her studies.
However Joy is still fighting and we owe a big thanks to you for helping get this far already!  She also had her blood drawn on the 12th for a test on her current iron levels... the results will be given next month.  We SO hope to beat her last level of 11,450 ng/dl in September.
Your thoughts and well-wishes for Joy mean a lot, thank you so much!  Will update again :D

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