Celebrities with a heart

DIRECT LINE - Boy Abunda () - March 22, 2006 - 12:00am
All of us have soft spots. We make look tough on the outside but soft on the inside. There have been a number of times when my personal assistant Donnie Ravago would really test my patience, tenacity and humanity. For being late, he would offer all the excuses he could muster – traffic, fire, flood, a tita leaving for Italy, Hong Kong, Kathmandu and every part of the world. Except for going to hell, he has run out of excuses for his tardiness.

But of course, Donnie for the past months is now a changed, better behaved geisha. Even Liza (Matias) who used to be my secretary at home would inadvertently put me on the spot by calling someone I dreaded to talk to or by calling an important person another name. Oh, she’s embarrassed me too many times. I have imagined burying her right in front of Rizal’s monument in Luneta!

There are outbursts, but these are tempered by the heart and the many reasons of our life. There are many things in our daily life that irritate us. But always the better of us dictates that whether big or small, such distractions should not hinder us from doing the things we love to do. We should not be handicapped by distractions. The journey to be good at what we do and who we are continues.

Several years ago, before Christmas time, my staff at the office would solicit donations in kind that they would bring to their favorite charity. They would by votation select which charity to visit. Reaching out to people who need help is central to the life of a peaceful, progressive community. Maya Angelou would always say, "When you learn, teach, when you get, give."

Nanay would always say that the little things we share to those who are needy would always come back a hundred fold. "You reap what you sow." It is the rule of karma. Everyone should have little acts of charity. Among other benefits, "giving liberates the soul of the giver.’

Showbiz with all the intriga, tsismis and competition is populated by kind-hearted individuals. Despite the rat race, the hustle and bustle, showbiz people are good. They lend their celebrity status to people, events and endeavors they believe in. How many times have politicians invited showbiz actors and actresses to be part of their undertakings? How many high society individuals have at one time posed for photo-ops with showbiz personalities? But there are also some who are just garrulous inside and out.

Bono of U2 is a staunch campaigner of debt relief and anti- poverty. He is not only into the eradication of third world debts but also AIDS awareness. Bono was Time Magazine Man of the Year along with Bill and Melinda Gates. He can sit and discuss matters on economy, poverty, governance aside from churning those million dollar selling records. He is an artist-cum-diplomat-cum-activist. And he is a bona fide child of show business. He makes us all proud. He is big time inspiration.

Martin Nievera and Louie Ocampo are two of showbiz’s kindest souls. They have cleared their busy schedules for a benefit concert that will raise funds needed for a liver transplant to save the life of nine-month-old Gaia Bianca Pasamba. They are performing free of charge. A sold-out performance of Martin Sings for Gaia will guarantee that Gaia’s liver transplant will be paid in full.

Gaia was born June 7, 2005 to Giorde and Ybeth Pasamba, who waited 12 years to finally become parents. Not quite two months after her birth, Gaia was diagnosed with biliary atresia, a serious disease of young infants which results in the inflammation and obstruction of the ducts that carry bile from the liver to the intestines and causes severe liver damage.

The cause of biliary atresia is not known. The only treatment for long-term survival is a liver transplant. Pediatric transplants are still not done in the Philippines. Gaia’s surgery will be performed in Singapore by Dr. KC Tan, whose specialization is liver transplants.

A fund drive has been launched for Gaia. Donations have been coming from different parts of the world. The target amount is $90,000, or roughly P5-M. To date, funds generated from faculty, parents and students of International School Manila where Mr. Pasamba is a teacher and from private donors, are about 25 percent short of the target. The concert on March 29 hopes to raise the balance.

Martin Sings for Gaia will be held at the Rigodon Ballroom of The Manila Peninsula, on March 29 at 8 p.m. The concert is a joint production of The Manila Peninsula and Big Mouth International. Tickets for Martin Sings for Gaia are now available at all Ticketnet outlets in all SM malls and are priced at P2000 each. Seats are on a first-come —first-served basis. For tickets and more information call Six Sigma at 829-9514-15 (ask for Jane). Information about Gaia is available at her website: www.gaiabianca.com

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