ACCESS TO LIFE - On Kenette's new arm and becoming whole again - February 7, 2013
ACCESS TO LIFE is the PAL Foundation program that serves Persons With Disability [PWD]. It is estimated that some 8% to 15% of the Filipino population has some form or degree of disability, whether by birth, accident, illness or through the natural aging process. 8 to 15 million people is a significant number, and for those below the poverty line, their suffering and their family's burden is compounded. Thus the PAL Foundation solicits donations of adaptive and mobility aids from its partners abroad which we then distribute to PWDs in need of these. An adaptive device definitely improves a PWD's quality of life and gives him a better chance to be a productive member of society.
PAL also helps to bring in specialists such as Ralph Parlesak of Cambodia Trust which provides prosthetic and orthotic devices to the many land mine amputees. He is among the few technicians in the world who can fabricate a shoulder socket. This was indeed a Godsend for KENETTE DE LA PAZ who lost his left arm in a motorcycle accident as he was driving home in the wee hours after his shift at the Richmonde Hotel. Mr. Parlesak crafted a shoulder socket for Kenette so that his prosthetic arm could move. This was the first ever such procedure done in thePhilippines and Mr. Parlesak's visit benefited not just Kenette but also the Filipino technicians with whom Mr. Parlesak shared his technology. Fortunately for Kenette, the Richmonde Hotel agreed to give him his old job back.
Mabuhay--balbaleg ya salamat, Phil. Medical Society of Northern California - January 31, 2013
Among PAL's most valued customers are the volunteer medical-dental teams, mostly coming from the USA, to bring quality medical and dental care to Filipinos in need all over the archipelago.
2013 started with over a hundred volunteers of one of the oldest such service organizations: the Philippine Medical Society of Northern CA [PMSNC] flying over on PR 105 to hold medical missions in three Pangasinan townships. PMSNC has been a registered 501 c (3)---a duly registered US charity---for almost 30 years, with nearly 200 members from San Francisco, San Mateo, Sta. Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, Solano, Napa Valley and Monterey. As it has done in the past, PAL through the PAL Foundation, again gave additional FBA of 42 boxes for the medical supplies and equipment that these selfless medical professionals and volunteers brought from SFO to MNL. The dynamic Bernadette Roco, the better half of our PAL SFO medical consultant, was a moving force in organizing this mission in her home province.
or a week, literally thousands of indigent Pangasinenses flocked to the Orbos Gym in Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan for Out-Patient clinics. Those who needed further care were referred to the proper specialists, including Lions Club volunteers who did thousands of refractions and gave away free prescription eyeglasses. There was even an orthotist-prostheticist who fitted amputees with artificial limbs.
Over a hundred happy senior citizens regained their lost vision. They received free cataract surgery and intraocular lenses--a procedure that would easily run into the tens of thousands if they had been pay patients, which none of them could afford to be, of course.
Eighty eight was a very lucky number, representing the surgeries successfully completed at thePangasinanProvincialHospital inSan Carlos.
PMSNC is just one of the service organizations that the PAL Foundation hopes will benefit from the Mabuhay Miles With A Mission frequent flier miles donation program to benefit the PAL Foundation's medical mission partners. For more information on how your donated miles can bring healing and even new life to Filipinos in need, please visit the PAL Mabuhay Miles website.
Daghan Salamat for DONATIONS RE TYPHOON PABLO - from PAL Mindanao – January 24, 2013
First of all, on behalf of Mindanao Sales, allow me to thank everyone in giving us the oppurtunity to be the conduit for the aid you unselfishly shelled out to victims of TYPHOON PABLO. Your contributions have been tabulated and listed in Attachment A.
Total donations reached the amount of ONE HUNDRED SEVENTEEN THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED PESOS (P 117,300.00) which we distributed to sixteen beneficiaries, details and acknowledgments of which are listed in Attachment B. As a summary, we gave out aid to:
a) Three(3) PAL Retirees-
- Art Balaga
- Inocencio Buenacosa
- Pericles Alag
b) One PAL Dependent
- Wilma Dacuycuy
c) Three(3) ADDIS Security Guards
- Antonio Torres
- Rosendo Cadungog
- Jay Batosin-in
d) Three(3) PAL Express Workers
- Francis Sumambot
- Aprelei Catubigan
- Mercy Basanez
e) Six(6) EXCELLENT Workers
- Magno dela Cruz
- Noli Paghubasan
- Maricar Maravilla
- Victor Elieser
- Nolan Coraje
- Marlon Tibuasan
We have sought to document the distribution process as well as the damage reported by each and every beneficiary thru pictures as well as certifications which we are sharing with you. These are contained in the pictures and documents we have included below:
Due to limitations in the volume of data sent via email however, we apologize if we will be unable to send all the pictures collected. Nevertheless, allow us to SAY that all the beneficiaries are VERY VERY GRATEFUL to the help extended.
FLY GIRLS - Christmas Wishes and Dreams Come True at the PLC – January 15, 2013
Antonette Tario (age 13) has lost her hair due to chemotherapy for peripheral nerve sheet tumor. Aila Manalang (age 10) has not been able to go to school regularly because of chelation therapy for B-Thalassemia. These set-back's have not stood in the way of their dreams, one of which is to some day become Flight Attendants for the nation's flag carrier: Philippine Airlines. The girls were clients of the Make A Wish Foundation which has previously worked with the PAL Foundation to "grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions, to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy."
Meet our Partners: Helping Hands & Wheelchairs of Hope
Helping Hands & Wheelchairs of Hope in Olongapo is an Irish Christian mission which takes care of foundlings and indigent chronically ill children who are in and out of the James Gordon Medical Center. Over the years, they have kindly passed on to us any surplus medical supplies and equipment received from their UK and Ireland-based donors, which PAL Foundation in turn finds recipients for from all over the Philippines.
Our Little Padyak Princess
Sheirra Mae Batulan is one of the rare lucky children who got accepted for free heart surgery in the Mending Kids International US Care Program. PAL Foundation is the Philippines coordinator for this program, so Sheirra with her mother Wenilyn were PAL Medical Travel Grantees.
The Batulan's are a closely-knit extended family living in the depressed area of Camaligbato in Danao City, Cebu. That is Sheirra in her mother Wenilyn's arms.
As a PAL Medical Travel Grantee for the Mending Kids US Care Program, for several months, Sheirra and her mother Wenilyn enjoyed the hospitality of Robyn's Nest, the Mending Kids' patients' home in Sta. Clarita, CA.
While staying at Robyn's Nest, Wenilyn and Sheirra got free dental work and new prescription eyeglasses. Although Mending Kids had originally accepted Sheirra only as a cardiac patient, they worried about her speech delay and had her undergo hearing, orthopedic and kidney workup's at UCLA. Since most of the Robyn's Nest patients are Hispanic, Sheirra eventually learned to habla Espanol, un muy poquito.
Especially memorable were the friendships with Mending Kids' Filipino-American volunteers, such as the Dolores and Barriga spouses who every week brought food for all the patients at Robyn's Nest, and took Wenilyn and Sheirra to church. They also sent Wenilyn and Sheirra home with enough pabaon to buy a 2nd hand tricycle. Now the family need not depend solely on Wenilyn's earnings as a factory worker but Shierra's father Julius can also make a living driving the tricycle proudly painted "MKI."
Smiling All The Way
Although cranio-facial deformities are not immediately life-threatening, those who are so afflicted surely have problems eating properly and speaking--not to mention the social stigma. The Philippines has a much higher than usual incidence of congenital birth defects like lip and palate clefts because poor mothers suffer malnutrition during pregnancy. Thus as part of the nationwide effort to change the face of Philippine poverty, PAL Foundation always tries to support cranio-facial surgery missions.
Recently Princess Pobleto, one of our PAL Medical Travel Grantees from Bacolod, was accepted for a series of reconstructive surgeries by our partners, the Noordhoff Cranio- Facial Foundation and Smile Train Philippines. Our other partner the World Cranio-Facial Foundation of Dallas, Texas, supports the patient's incidental expenses like food and transportation, outside the hospital. Princess is the second child that PAL Foundation has gotten accepted by these partner charities this year. Despite being unable to speak, Princess is a lively and precocious 18 month old who can identify parts of her body and likes to look at picture books.
Muchas Gracias a Bobby Lim & the Rotary International Gift of Life-Philippines
The cleft lip and palate are just the most obvious medical problems of 5 year old Christine Barredo of Zamboanga City. She also has a serious congenital heart defect that needs to be fixed first so that she can then have the reconstructive surgery for her facial deformity. Her mother is a jobless seamstress and her father is a tricycle driver. They cannot afford the charity patient's share for the series of surgeries she needs.
Thanks to Atty. Bobby Lim, PAL VP - Legal and the 2008-2009 President of the Rotary Club of Makati West, Christine will receive free cardiac catheterization and an Amplatzer Septal Occluder (the device to close the hole in her heart) through the Rotary International Gift of Life-Philippines. Atty. Lim has just been awarded the most outstanding Rotary Club President for District 3830 of the Rotary International.
PAL Foundation partners with RC Makati West in its nationwide wheelchair distribution project. Last year, PAL Foundation gave medical mission travel grants to the doctors of the World Hemangiona Foundation Medical Mission which was spearheaded by RC Makati West under Atty. Lim's leadership. And though his term has ended, Atty. Lim has assured the PAL Foundation that PAL Medical Travel Grantees like Christine will continue to receive the Gift of Life Philippines so they can grow up and enjoy life in all its fullness. For Christine, this will also mean having her free cleft lip and palate repair with another PAL Foundation partner: TZU CHI BUDDHIST COMPASSION of Zamboanga.
PAL Pays It Forward: La Castellana Orphan for First Gentleman's Bagong Puso Mula sa Puso
Much of what the PAL Foundation is able to do depends on cultivating the caring connections we are blessed to make in the course of our social development work. When a co-worker in Riyadh of Daniel Valero, father of PAL Medical Travel Grantee Angelo Valero learned about PAL Foundation's work with the neediest Filipinos, he begged us to help his nephew: 19 year old JOEMARIE IDQUILA who needed heart valve replacement surgery.
Joemarie is a motherless orphan. He lived in the La Castellana Negors Occ. public market where he and his grandmother were vendors. At 19 years old though, he is an adult and no longer qualified for the free pediatric surgery programs of the foundations we work with. His uncle, a mere laborer in Riyadh, supports Joemarie's maintenance heart medication but he cannot afford the nearly half a million pesos that even a charity patient here must pay for the actual artificial heart valve and all the surgical supplies, laboratory and imaging tests.
Thankfully, we learned that Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's spouse Atty. Mike T. Arroyo's FIRST GENTLEMAN FOUNDATION, INC. (FGFI) sponsors adult cardiac cases for the BAGONG PUSO MULA SA PUSO free heart surgery program at the PGH. PAL Foundation had sent another FGFI beneficiary, burn victim Allison Jenn Lozanta (the niece of the janitor in Atty. Mike Arroyo's building), to the Rotary Gift of Life of Hilton Head, South Carolina for a series of free reconstructive surgeries. And so Joemarie Idquila is now here in Manila for his heart valve replacement surgery and a new lease on life.
TAIPEI GSAs, Rotarians, Retired PAL Pilot reach out to GELO ANONUEVO
SINDY LIN, Country Manager - Taiwan, called on the Taipei North Gate Rotary Club and PAL GSAs in Taiwan to rally around Ida and Allan Anonuevo as they continue to keep vigil over their only child ANGELO. The attached photos show them handing over cash donations totalling TPE$61,000.
Gelo has Allagile Syndrome and is still struggling to survive complications after his liver transplant in Chang Gung Memorial Hospital Pediatric ICU.
Back in Manila, Retired PAL Pilot Nelson R. Bocala opted for a less lavish send-off and had Flight Operations donate half of the allocated budget for his retirement party to Gelo. May others follow his example!
Looking Back on Typhoon Frank: After the Deluge, the Floodgates of Kindness Open Wide
Within two years, PAL stations in Regions 5 and 6 bore the brunt of super typhoons and calamitous floods that battered most of the Philippines. Although Typhoon Frank was not as destructive as Typhoon Reming of September 2006, Panay is not as inured to disasters as Bicol, and being more "developed," it also had much more to lose. Among the first to respond to inundated Region 6 were Bicol charities such as the DIOS MABALOS Foundation and the various Rotary Clubs, as well as our own LGP station who had been there and done that and could very well empathize.
Within the PAL Community, donations were coursed through the PAL Foundation. They came pouring in: from prosperous DVO, CEB / MTN, to tiny TAG, DPL and BXU. Generosity is not in proportion to size, or to wherewithal. Ordinary PAL employees from the following offices gave in cash (over PhP124,000!) and in kind:
Cargo Sales & Services
Century Park TO
DCB Reservations & CRS
IFSD / ICCD
Product Marketing Support
Sales (which also raised about PhP50,000 to give to each STNpersonnel from travel agents)
Training & Development
From overseas, Danny Lim, Country Manager - Japan, immediately gave his entire wage distortion differential to the Typhoon Frank victims. Our stations in BKK, the People's Republic of China, DBX-GSA DNATA, GUM, LAX, Madrid GSA and SFO all responded to the SOS. PAL Retirees in SFO led by Capt. Ernest and Mildred Nierras sent three balikbayan boxes of care packages specifically for the contractual support staff in the KLO, ILO and RXS stations. PAL surplus blankets, pillowcases and carpets were sent to evacuation centers. Used clothing and household effects were crammed into old PAL carry-on's. There was even some to spare for Regions 8, 12 and ARMM care of TAC and CBO.
Aquasafe sent water to parched KLO. Agua Vida positioned its mobile water purification trucks in KLO and ILO. Our fellow employees in LTGOC, from PNB and especially from the UE Extension & Community Outreach also went the extra mile. PAL Cargo flew their donations over for free.
We are now sending relief goods to the man-made war zone that is the ARMM through beleaguered CBO and CGY. Since the Philippines is in the geographically perilous Ring of Fire, it doesn't end there we know. But it's great to know that there will always be kind souls in PAL whom we can count on to be true pals to those in need.
PAL Medical Cargo Grant to Asia America Initiative for ARMM
Philippine Airlines Foundation gave ASIA AMERICA INITIATIVE a Medical Cargo Grant to bring eight (8) cartons of high value medical supplies for the Department of Health-ARMM. The ARMM provinces have among the highest incidences of poverty and the least access to medical care. The PAL Foundation is a partner of Asia America Initiative, a Washington-based NGO working for peace through development in Asian hot spots.
PAL Sponsors Rags2riches Trip to Represent the Philippines in Int'l Competition
Today is a historic day as Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan, Citizenship by Good Example partner Rags2riches leaves for abroad to represent the country to an international competition attracting some of the world's elite graduate academic institutions.
The last time the Philippines made it through the stringent screening was in 2005 with a Filipino inventor who made the fish sleep for fresh deliveries. Now, the wooden frames with cloth scraps (from dumpsite capital Payatas) of Rags2riches competes with the world's Top 21 high-technology gadgets from Stanford, MIT, Yale, Purdue, Duke, Carnegie Mellon, Johns Hopkins, HKUST and other ivy league universities.
We request all Filipinos to pray for our 4P (People, Planet, Profit and Positive Influence) entry. Contest includes a graded trade show and the 90-second elevator pitch competition April 24 (6:00-9:30 p.m. U.S. time), April 25 semi-finals round (9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. U.S. time) and April 26 finals (9:00 a.m. - 12:00 nn U.S. time).
Thereafter, various investors and benefactors will talk to rags2riches for international expansion. Rags2riches and SLB will also meet with Heroic Leadership author Chris Lowney for various engagements.
Recently, RIIR expanded coverage of community beneficiaries with another Cge partner Gawad Kalinga. In the coming years, we hope to get closer to our dream of helping all Payatas families especially with our entry into the international markets. For inquiries, you may email email@example.com or RIIR Executive Director Reese Fernandez through firstname.lastname@example.org, mobile (0905) - 3273999, landline 426-6101 local 3440 and telefax 426-5968.
We wish to thank Philippine Airlines for sponsoring the trip and the countless generous souls who have extended support for this opportunity to bring honor to our country.
RIIR passionately responds to the call for Citizenship by Good Example so that we may become a Country of Great Expectations.
Manalangin. Manindigan. Makialam.
SIMBAHANG LINGKOD NG BAYAN
A Candle in the Dark
Last June, Mary Joan "Gigi" Aldanese, Manager-Advertising & Promotions, asked PAL Foundation Ex. Dir. Menchu Sarmiento to help her identify a charity which she could donate to, in lieu of having a big birthday celebration. Menchu knew Gigi had a soft spot for cancer patients as she was with the Alabang Hospice Volunteers which help the terminally ill. She suggested that this time Gigi help a cancer survivor: a 10 y/o girl from San Jose Del Monte - Bulacan, who wanted to go to school. Angel Abad had lost both eyes to retinoblastoma: a cancer which attacks the eyes and usually manifests in pre-school age children. Angel's affected eyes had to be removed to stop the cancer from spreading. She is the youngest and only daughter of a poor street food vendor. Her eldest brother was a cargador in the public market and her second brother is in high school. Her mother Bella, lost one eye in a childhood accident so she is also partially blind. Mrs. Bella Abad could not work elsewhere, as she had to take Angel everyday to a public school in another barangay, that mainstreamed handicapped children. She was determined that Angel would have the chance to get an education that she had never had herself. Angel was in Grade 2 with 65 other children, in a tiny classroom that should have held only 40 students. Three children shared a desk meant for only two pupils.
When Menchu showed Angel's mother photos of the facilities at the Philippine School for the Blind, Mrs. Abad pleaded that the other blind child in Angel's class, Christian Occeno, also be given the chance to go there so he would not be left behind. Christian had been abandoned at birth by his biological mother. He was being raised by his elderly unmarried grandaunt, who was also an itinerant food vendor. Christian and Angel were often bullied and left out by the "normal" children in the overcrowded Bulacan public school. Thus for Schoolyear 2007-2008, both blind children are enrolled in the much more congenial and learning-conducive Philippine School for the Blind where the curriculum is especially tailored for their needs and capabilities.
Gigi and her husband Jay are especially proud that in her first year at the School for the Blind, their little scholar Angel is at the top of her class. PAL Foundation scholar Christian Occeno is getting by despite his ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).
Gigi did celebrate her birthday after all, this year, but she did it with Angel's classmates. They feasted on Jollibee chicken and spaghetti and took home lootbags of toiletries besides. Truly, Gigi's and her family's loving kindness to a stranger like Angel is a candle of hope in the darkness that was this little girl's life.
Please reply to email@example.com if you would also like to sponsor a differently abled child's schooling or help an indigent patient with her medication
Healed and Home for Christmas
Imagine what it must be like for the poorest of the poor Filipinos who are seriously ill. Even as charity patients with a free hospital bed and no medical professional fees charged, they still cannot afford the costs of medicines, tests and surgery supplies like sutures and anesthesia. That's why the PAL Foundation goes the extra mile to help the neediest Filipino kids to get into international patient programs like Rotary International Gift of Life and the Mending Kids International [MKI] US Care Program. PAL Foundation Ex. Dir. Menchu Sarmiento is the Philippine coordinator for the MKI program which helps the neediest children to have free surgery for correctable conditions at top notch hospitals like Cedars Sinai, UCLA Mattell Children's Hospital, the Shriners' Burn Institutes and the Los Angeles Children's Hospital. However, the children must travel to L.A. without their parents and stay with accredited American foster families while they are having their treatment in Southern Calif ornia. PAL Foundation provides these children with Medical Travel Grants and Ms. Sarmiento is the official escort who brings them in. She may even represent the child during their visa interviews at the US Embassy Manila when the parents are incapable of doing so.
Recently, Christian Palma of Dipolog and Jclyde Adolfo of Cebu, both with Tetralogy of Fallot meaning 4 complex heart defects, were blessed to have corrective surgeries care of MKI. In the Metro-Manila government hospitals, the charity rate for Tetralogy of Fallot cases is over PhP200,000. Perpetual Succor Hospital in Cebu charges much more. The Philippine charity rates do not include all the preliminary work-ups or the follow up care.
Christian's father is a utility man in the Dipolog City government and the family's sole breadwinner. Jclyde's father is a tricycle repairman and his mother is a factory worker. Neither of their families could afford the charity rates here in Metro-Manila, much less in Cebu. Heart surgery is not even done in Dipolog. Even finding a place to stay in Manila before and after surgery would be a problem. Getting their sons accepted into the MKI US Care Program was thus a Godsend for both families. The boys were so weak, they were blue and breathless after walking a few meters. Ms. Sarmiento had to put them in a wheelchair as soon as they got to NAIA to take PR 102 for LAX.
In the States, Christian stayed in Malibu. His two older blonde foster brothers taught him to play football and took him camping for Thanksgiving. He had his surgery at the UCLA Mattell Children's Hospital. Jclyde stayed with a university professor's family in Newhall and had his surgery at Cedars Sinai.
Both boys also got to visit Disneyland before coming back to the Philippines. In answer to their parents fervent prayers, they are healed and home for Christmas.
SMILE--PAL is Helping to Change the Face of Poverty
Children with congenital malformations are all too common among the most impoverished and remote Filipino communities. Malnutrition and poor reproductive health practices are likely causes. PAL Foundation has always supported surgical missions such as Operation Smile, Interplast, and Rotaplast. Reconstructive surgery dramatically transforms these blighted children's appearances and their lives.
Wind Beneath Their Wings
We in PAL know what it's like to soar high and fly (for free). What a contrast to those who must live behind bars!
It was PAL Medical Sub-Department Nurse, Cora Cusi (aka PAL's "Rosa Rosal" because of her valiant efforts to get blood donors for PAL employees and their dependents in medical crisis), who first told us of the plight of women in the Correctional Institute. Cora has persuaded others in the PAL Medical Sub-Department to donate pan de sal every week to augment the meager diets of the 2,000 inmates. Many of these women convicts are impoverished and come from the Visayas and Mindanao (mga tawid dagat). Aside from losing their freedom, they also lose much family support.
Surplus PAL Cabin Crew uniforms now help these women to once again become productive members of society. The rehabilitated and reformed members of the prison's elite COP (Cleanliness, Orderliness and Peace) Brigade proudly wear the PAL International Cabin Crew's surplus (altered) smocks to give them added authority and self-esteem. All identifying elements like the embroidered pockets, PAL insignias, buttons and the like, are removed before these, or any other PAL surplus items are donated to charity. The taupe uniforms themselves are cut up and recycled into tote bags, pot holders and braided mats for their alternative livelihood projects. Jobless women of the riles, Habitat for Humanity communities and other NGO's also benefit from the donations of like items.
Even PAL LAX has reached across the Trans-Pac to touch these captive women's lives. Left-behind infant strollers make prison life easier for the tiniest "prisoners". Yes, even pregnant women are sent to the Correctional Institute. Their innocent infants enjoy their mothers' love and care for the first year of their lives. Other left-behind strollers from various PAL stations have been sent to various foundling homes and orphanages all over the Philippines.
John's Journey Home
Two years ago, John Jester Caraig was entering adolescence. He was also diagnosed with bone cancer. His aunt Beth Receno, an accountant in L.A. frantically searched for help and found it with MENDING KIDS INTERNATIONAL. But there was a catch. Although John got a Medical Treatment Visa, his mother Liza, was denied a US Visa to escort him. The Caraig's are humble folk. John's father Jess is a mere jeepney driver (he doesn't even own the jeep) and Liza never went to college. Their eldest daughter is an unwed teenage mother with two small children whom they also have to support. Their family circumstances probably led the US NIV officer to believe Liza might go TNT in the States to help her family out of its poverty. So John had to travel to the States alone with strangers: another MENDING KIDS INTERNATIONAL beneficiary, JOB LOSEO (accompanied by his mother Evelyn), who was to be treated for brain cancer at UCLA. After several cycles of chemotherapy and radiation, the UCLA cancer doctors decided the only recourse was to amputate John's left leg to prevent the malignancy from spreading.
Liza Caraig was distraught. John was her youngest and only son. Never had he needed her more. PAL Foundation emailed US NIV Chief Joe Tighlman who sympathetically said he would personally attend to Liza's case. Liza got to the States in time to see John through the inevitable amputation of his left leg and to cheer him on as he learned to use his state of the art leg prosthesis. He still shot hoops with his cousins. It was a happy year and a half together for mother and son. John enjoyed looking for deer and other North American wildlife on the long drives to the hospital. He was a werewolf for Halloween. In true Pinoy fashion, Liza befriended Hollywood actor Beau Bridges mother's Filipina caregiver as Mrs. Bridges was also being treated in UCLA Medical Center. They got invited to the Bridges' home for Thanksgiving dinner and for Christmas, Beau Bridges gave John the latest Play Station.
Last July, the UCLA doctors realized all their efforts had failed to stop the cancer's spread. PAL Foundation brought John and Liza back to the Philippines. We also brought PAL.Care (Palliative & Hospice Care Volunteers) doctor Agnes Bausa to prepare him and his family for the end. It was especially hard for John, once an active teenage boy, to lose the use of his legs due to the tumor spreading to his spine. PALCare's terminally ill indigent patients are the beneficiaries of the PAL Choir's fund-raising concerts. PAL Foundation helped John with the medicines for his endstage pain. Mending Kids International sent a balikbayan box of John's favorite stuff and money for a hospital bed through the PAL Foundation.
When the end came, John was brave and calmly prepared. It was a short journey and the PAL Foundation is proud to have met him along the way. In gratitude, Liza Caraig gave us John's prosthetic leg which we are sending to the Tzu Chi Great Love Rehabilitation Center in Zamboanga. Liza has also promised to volunteer to help the families of other cancer patients along their own journeys.
Cebu Conjoined Twins: Two Hearts Beat as One
It takes a village to raise a child. What about two children--and what if they happen to be conjoined and abandoned too? This is the sorry lot of the Cebu Conjoined Twins. They are the innocent products of the rape of an indigent 12 year old girl, who shall remain unidentified, from a remote barrio. The alleged rapist, the young girl's neighbor, is now a fugitive. The hapless child-mother delivered by C-section in a Cebu hospital and left her daughters to the care of the DSWD Region 7 Field Office which must also support the many other orphans in the Cebu Reception & Study Center for Children, as well as hundreds of Cebu's street children. caring for the Twins has severely taxed their resources.
The Cebu Conjoined Twins have lived in the hospital since birth.
When the PAL Foundation learned of the Cebu Conjoined Twins' plight, it promptly used its caring connections across the globe as it had previously done in the case of the celebrated Aguirre Twins. The PAL Foundation played a pivotal role in getting Carl and Clarence their medical care--even flying PGH's chief neuro-surgeon Willy Lopez to the States twice to operate on them. From Southern California, PAL's biggest customer base, the Fil-Am GUARDIAN ANGELS of AMERICA Foundation, gave US$2,000 to pay for part of the Twins' mounting hospital bills and costly antibiotics. David Q. Jackson of the Rotary Club of Poipu-Hawaii donated US$340 and a year's supply of heart medication. The Cebu Conjoined Twins are very underweight and should be at least 20 lbs. in order to be surgically separated. Dr. Arlene Roque-Kamen, a neonatologist from Monterey, sends special high calorie infant formula (not available in the Philippines). Her generosity has extended to the Twins' child-mother, another innocent victim, whom she will help through high school.
Closer to home, Cebu Rotarian Anton Florendo promptly heeds calls for blood donations whenever the frailer twin needs a transfusion. MTN Secretary Jojo Narvaez facilitates the donations to the Twins (and for other PAL Foundation beneficiaries in Cebu) and our very own CEB Cargo Sales Manager Loloi Atega personally delivers these even beyond office hours.
The Twins' attending physicians in Cebu are giving their services for free: Dr. Dahlia C. Go, neonatologist; Dr. Mark Gigataras, neuro-surgeon; Dr. Doris Gigataras, neurologist (who has helped other PAL Foundation beneficiaries) and Dr. Rudy Amatong, cardiologist. When the Twins recover from the brain surgery that has to be done first in Cebu, they will probably be moved to the DSWD-NCR Reception & Study Center for Children which has its own infirmary and nursery. This will be in preparation for their surgical separation and the first of several heart surgeries at the Philippine General Hospital [PGH]. Although the PGH Team led by Dr. Josefina Almonte will donate their services, we will still have to raise the resources for the Cebu Conjoined Twins' confinement, tests, medicines and other expenses.
It will take more than a village to raise the Cebu Conjoined Twins. It will take many kind and generous hearts who are willing to help these two little girls, who never chose to come into this world, to survive.
Play It Forward
Good deeds have a ripple effect. Even before Dr. Arlene Roque helped the PAL Foundation with the CEBU Conjoined Twins, she had previously helped other beneficiaries. One of the most memorable was Crislie Pepito, the Zamboanga teener who had survived the grisly mutilation of her scalp and ear in a rock crusher when she was a child--only to succumb to cancer 13 years later. Along with her donations for the Cebu Conjoined Twins, Dr. Kamen sent aspirators and other essential medical supplies for indigent newborn babies in the Vicente Sotto Medical Memorial Center.
We told Dr. Kamen about another little Cebuano baby in need: Christian Jay "CJ" Puza, from the slums of Cordova, Lapu-Lapu City. PAL Foundation had give n him a PAL Medical Travel Grant so he could have free heart surgery at UCLA care of our West Coast NGO partner MENDING KIDS INTERNATIONAL.
However, CJ was so severely malnourished and kept getting pneumonia that his surgery could not be scheduled. Dr. Kamen sent him special high calorie formula to beef him up and fortify him against his recurrent infections.
CJ's mother Analie is the family's sole breadwinner. Dr. Kamen gave her US$700 through the PAL Foundation for their US Visa fee, the taxes and other charges on the tickets donated by the PAL Foundation. She will also be at the LAX Airport to meet CJ, his mother and the nurse-escort PAL Foundation is sending along to administer CJ's oxygen in-flight. Although CJ and Analie won't be home for Christmas, they will surely feel the spirit of Christmas as CJ prepares to receive the gift of a renewed life with his patched up heart and they are welcomed by virtual strangers into their hearts and homes.
Giving Rae Camille a Chance
Dr. Raymond Sator serves Zamboanga's poor as a rehabilitation medicine doctor in the government regional medical center. PAL Foundation has worked with him several times on the Jaipur Foot Camp which gives free prosthetic limbs to indigent amputees. His good works have not spared him from his share of life's tragedies. He and wife Cherryl's oldest son had Downe's Syndrome and a congenital heart defect. He died in infancy at the Philippine Heart Center from an unexpected adverse reaction to the dye used for his angiogram. Their second child, Rae Camille Sator, also has a congenital heart defect and is visually impaired. But this month, little Rae Camille will have both free cardiac and eye surgery to correct these dual birth defects at the Connecticut Children's Hospital through our East Coast partner Dorita H. Urrata of Children's Chance CT. No wonder the Sator's are smiling!
More Heart Kids
January to March 2006
In the last quarter, Philippine Airlines flew Robert Stephen Anuba (Tagbilaran to Boston Children's Hospital; shown with PAL TAG GSM Emma Casenas on the right), Ruffa Mariano (Iloilo to PGH), and Jonariza Rivera (Dipolog to Stony Brook NY University Medical Center) to have free heart surgery. Just more of the many instances that PAL helps to deliver the Rotary Gift of Life to Filipino children in need of special protection.
Babies on the Go
March to May 2006
PAL LAX recently sent 34 left behind infant strollers to the PAL Foundation. These have been distributed to orphanages like the Heart of Mary Villa in Malabon and the Cebu Children's Shelter.
PAL Surplus Blankets for Our Army Veterans
Our surplus blankets, suitcases and even uniforms make life easier for impoverished Filipinos across the archipelago: from the 3000 victims left homeless by the Zamboanga City fire, the inmates of the Women's Correctional Institute and the destitute war veterans and disabled soldiers. Photos show the Retired AFP Officers' Wives led by Mrs. Helen Espino (mother of former PAL EVP Leslie Espino) receiving donations from the PAL Foundation.
Philippines visit by the Founder of Children's Chance CT
23 January to 04 February 2006
Dorita H. Urrata, the founder of Children's Chance CT, the East Coast Charity that works with the PAL Foundation to help indigent Filipino children with special medical needs to get free care was here on a ten day visit. Mrs. Urrata and PAL Foundation Executive Director Menchu Sarmiento were made Honorary Daughters of Silay City, Negros Occ. in recognition of our invaluable role in the successful surgical separation of the conjoined Aguirre Twins of Hacienda Paz, Silay City.
Smiling All the way
PAL continues to support Operation Smile International, the world renowned charity that gives free cranio-facial surgery in over 20 countries. PALF is a major sponsor of the Operation Smile annual Philippines medical mission. Recently PALF was involved in sending four Filipino children with facial tumors to Australia, Honolulu and San Francisco.
Delivering the GIFT of LIFE
In this Rotary Centennial Year, PALF continues to support Gift of Life recipients through Medical Travel Grants. Most notably, it recently sent another orphan, Joy Eslit, 13 years old who had languished for five years in a DSWD-run orphanage, for free heart surgery through the Elmsford New York Rotary. It also sent Karen May Bongat of Siquijor for extensive reconstructive burn surgery through Hilton Head North Carolina Rotary.
One Step At a Time
PALF and its East Coast NGO partner Children's Chance CT found medical sponsors for the Conjoined Aguirre Twins of Silay, Negros Occidental and brought them to be surgically separated at the Montefiore Medical Center, New York. On 21 April 2005, Carl and Clarence Aguirre turned three years old and celebrated their first birthdays as individual little boys. Another PALF beneficiary, Kenneth Rocher Villar, 9 years old, who is one of the fewer than 300 Morquio Syndrome sufferers worldwide, is also making gradual progress. PALF helped Kenneth who had been practically a quadruplegic to get free surgery for his neck and to get medical equipment he needed. Now, Kenneth is able to stand with help, and to breathe without the aid of ventilator. Not bad for someone who had been flat on his back for six long years.
Connecting to the West Coast
PALF continues to make caring connections across the globe to help the neediest Filipinos. Recently, two San Francisco-based organizations, the Bayani Foundation and the Philippine Association of University Women donated USD400 to help PALF Medical beneficiaries. The Bayani Foundation has also given wheelchairs and medicines for PALF to distribute.
More Preferential Options for the Poor
May to July 2005
PALF sits on the Board of the Habitat for Humanity Greater Metro Manila Affiliate, the Christian Housing Ministry which builds homes in partnership with the poor. It also represents Philippine Airlines on the Community Relations Committee of the Personnel Management Association of the Philippines. PALF continues to sponsor training in alternative livelihood technologies. Most recently, Our Ladies of the Riles (impoverished women living along the railroad tracks in Manila and Makati) learned how to operate hi-speed sewing machines and to make bags and household linens through the Makati City Social Services & Development Office.
Alliance for Life
As part of this national network of cancer support groups. PALF donates medicines from the Missionaries of the Sisters of the Poor. It also sponsors training for palliative care and hospice volunteers at the PAL Learning Center through the Palliative & Hospice Care Foundation of the Philippines (PAL Care).
Menchu A. Sarmiento