Let's help baby Joshua
JUST BE - Bernadette Sembrano (The Philippine Star) - September 9, 2012 - 12:00am

I seldom use this space to ask for donations. On TV, yes, but on print, sparingly. However, two-year-old Joshua Bandao’s condition needs immediate attention, hence, I am sharing his story in advance, (ahead of its TV airing) to my readers in the hope that we could heed his cry for help.

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A follower on Twitter called Lingkod Kapamilya’s attention to the condition of Joshua. Attached was a photo of Joshua. His face was already deformed due to the tumor on his face. It is a condition known as Retinoblastoma.

It was the time of Habagat, and we were all preoccupied with bringing relief goods to victims. Our team gave instructions to the family of Joshua to go to Philippine Children’s Medical Center in Quezon City from Banaue, Ifugao which they did.

We visited Joshua in the children’s ward of the hospital. Half of the child’s face was covered with a gauze, but it was enough to imagine how much of his face was deformed due to his condition. His entire head grew in size, especially in the area around his eyes.

His father, Juan, was carrying Joshua. He wore a carved eagle pendant around his neck, which he made himself a wood carver. I wanted to talk to him, but I could not understand and speak Ifugao.

Juan was quiet the entire time, but his rough hands constantly patting Joshua for reassurance.

Later, Joshua started wailing, and nothing could make him stop. Then there was blood running at the side of his nose. Juan wiped off the blood and I had to turn away. It was a painful sight.

Later, a nurse came into the room and gave him medicine to lessen the pain.

He hardly stopped crying, said the man taking care of the patient in the adjacent bed. (The other boy has leukemia.)

It was only a year ago when the parents noticed a blurring in Joshua’s vision. They set off to Manila and were informed to come back for an operation. But for whatever reasons they had, it didn’t happen. In November, 2011, they noticed a lump in his eye, and that was when they decided to bring the little boy to the hospital. Less than a month ago, we came to learn about his condition.

Ask me what Joshua needs and I’ll blurt out a miracle. He is suffering so much. The family needs help with medicines, and more importantly, please include them in your prayers.

For donations, kindly send them to BDO Mother Ignacia branch with account name: AFI-Gabay Kapamilya; account number: 5630050932. Please fax the deposit slip to 414-3363.

* * *

This week, Sagip Kapamilya went to Brgy. General MacArthur in Eastern Samar. It is one of the areas badly hit by the 7.6 magnitude quake in Eastern Visayas. Fortunately, there were no casualties, but more than a hundred homes were partially and completely damaged. Most of the houses were made from nipa that stood on stilts.

Besides the local government, not much assistance came to the areas affected by the quake. Despite this, residents were not found wanting. It was different from the calamity victims that I usually encounter, crying for help.

They were busy rebuilding their homes. I asked a woman, “Don’t you cry over your loss ?” and she answered, “We cried already. But that’s over.”

(E-mail me at nagmamahalateb2@yahoo.com.) 

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