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Nation

1-Pacman to save 300 kids’ hearts

Edu Punay - The Philippine Star
1-Pacman to save 300 kidsâ hearts
Reps. Mikee Romero and Eric Pineda of 1-Pacman pose with the beneficiaries of their annual ‘Save a Child’s Heart’ project on Thursday.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The 1-Pacman party-list has continued with its tradition of saving the lives of indigent children with congenital heart disease (CHD).

The party-list group led by Deputy Speaker Mikee Romero and House labor committee chair Eric Pineda held last Thursday its annual “Save A Child’s Heart” project for the fifth straight year.

This year, the project initiated by Romero and Pineda in 2017 will benefit some 300 children with CHD who will undergo surgery, with expenses shouldered by 1-Pacman.

The latest batch of beneficiaries brought to 1,250 the total number of children with CHD saved by the project over the past five years with the help of the Philippine Heart Center in Quezon City.

Together with their parents and guardians, the 300 children who were born with CHD gathered in person and via Zoom as they received certificates from the congressmen guaranteeing their hospitalization expenses.

Romero said he and Pineda shelled out their own money to keep the project going amid the huge medical expenses needed to finance the children’s surgical procedures.

“It’s a different feeling seeing these children smile again and knowing that they will lead a normal kid’s life. Parents have been profuse with gratitude for what we have done but all I ask them in return is to pray that we may save the lives of more children with CHD,” Romero said.

Pineda disclosed that some of the beneficiaries are scheduled for surgery after Christmas Day and immediately after New Year, saying such operations are urgent.

“Almost all of our beneficiaries come from poor families, who were made even poorer because of the economic effects of the pandemic,” he added.

One of the beneficiaries of the program is two-month-old Kim Madison Magno, daughter of a restaurant waiter and a homemaker, who is set to undergo surgery on Dec. 27.  Her operation was originally scheduled last November but was cancelled after she tested positive for COVID-19.

“Finally, our prayers for her surgery have been answer, this is really urgent in order to save her life,” Kim’s mother Krizel Magno said in Filipino.

Another beneficiary, Dan Bryan Resurrecion, had his CHD discovered when he was still in the womb of his mother, Leah Resurrecion, of San Mateo, Rizal.

Leah’s doctor ordered an “anomaly scan” that confirmed his suspicion of CHD during a pre-natal examination.

“We needed P600,000 for three surgeries, so we immediately raised funds as soon as I gave birth to him. God may have led us to the 1-Pacman website so that we were able to discover this kind of assistance of (Rep.) Romero,” Leah said in Filipino.

Romero said they initiated the project in 2017 after he was invited to a Rotary Club meeting and was asked to donate for a child who needed an immediate life-saving operation.

After shelling out P50,000 as his donation, Romero said he looked into the prevalence of CHD among Filipino children and found that the lives of thousands of  minors are in peril because of the problem.

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