Cancer won’t dampen Beng’s spirit
Cancer won’t dampen Beng’s spirit
Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - April 7, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Despite a prognosis that he has only three years to live because of Stage 3 liver cancer, former La Salle and PBA star Lim Eng Beng said yesterday he won’t give up the fight for life with God, family and friends on his side.

Beng, 61, was informed of his cancer by doctors last January. Scans showed he initially had one nodule, now enlarged from two to 3.4 centimeters. Two more nodules were later discovered. Aside from the tumors, Beng is suffering from cirrhosis even though he doesn’t drink. It is suspected that his cirrhosis might have developed from a hepatitis condition he was never aware of.

“It’s depressing when you’re told you have only three years to live,” he said. “I suddenly got weak when the doctor confirmed my cancer. I can’t eat, I can’t sleep. Different people are giving advice and I’m going crazy. Friends have offered to bring me to the US, Taiwan and Singapore for treatment but I prefer to stay home. Even with my condition, I feel lucky to know so many people love me. I love my wife (Eleanor) and our three kids (Brian, 31, Erin, 25, Ervin, 24). It is for them that I want to live.”

Beng has been married for 33 years. He lives in a modest townhouse on Quezon Avenue with his wife and three unmarried children. Beng recently resigned from his job as a supervisor with Rain Or Shine because of his illness but is holding on to his position as head coach of the Chiang Kai Shek high school varsity until he is no longer able to work. “The entire Chinese community in Manila was in shock when the news spread,” said Beng. “I’ve lost over 10 pounds. I feel depressed but I know nothing is impossible with God who is giving me strength in this battle.”

Beng underwent transarterial chemoembolization in a three-hour procedure by Dr. Ramon Santos-Ocampo at the Makati Medical Center last March 19. He is scheduled for a CT-Scan in two weeks to determine if the procedure has stunted the growth of his nodules. His overall condition is supervised by oncologist Dr. Regina Edusma-Dy whom Beng described as “like my daughter.”

A La Salle alumnus Luigi Tabuena has offered to send Beng’s test results and medical abstracts to Dr. Tan Kai Chah of the Asian Centre for Liver Diseases and Transplantation in Singapore. Beng, however, said the option of a liver transplant is a remote possibility. “I was told that a liver transplant in the Philippines will cost about P3 Million and it will be about P10 Million in Singapore,” he said. “A liver transplant is the only option to prolong my life to at least 10 years but the success rate in the Philippines is very low and there is a big chance I won’t survive the operation. In Singapore, the success rate is high but the operation is too costly.” Another option is Radiation Frequency Ablation which will zap the tumors through a direct laser approach.

With his savings down to almost zero, Beng said he is now like a beggar. But he is rich with friends. Former Olympian Paing Hechanova, who was his first boss when he turned pro with Carrier in the PBA in 1975, recently hosted Beng and his wife at his home and contributed a substantial donation. Hechanova, his wife Mely and their daughter Raissa treated the couple like close relatives. La Salle president Br. Ricky Laguda also met with Beng in the company of La Salle director for development Edwin Reyes and alumnus Hero Yu. La Salle alumnus Manny Herbosa arranged a one-night confinement for Beng at the La Salle Medical Center in Dasmariñas, Cavite, for tests. Yu and other La Salle alumni Perry Uy, Charles Tiu and Philip Lu are quietly supporting Beng. La Salle alumnus Toto Acosta said another alumnus Vince Pacheco has offered free use of his condo unit in Dasmariñas, Cavite, for Beng’s family when he is confined at the Medical Center. Alumnus Peter Kairuz visited Beng to pray over him. The PBA will deliver a check for Beng next week.

La Salle alumnus and social media blogger Tony Atayde communicates with Beng nearly every day. Atayde will direct the One La Salle Night of Excellence at the Yuchengco Auditorium on the school campus April 19 with Beng, a Sports Hall of Famer, to be cited in a recognition for Archers star Jeron Teng to read.

Other La Salle alumni like Air 21 coach Franz Pumaren and Alaska sports executive Joaqui Trillo have contributed to Beng’s cause. Filoil Flying V chief executive officer Raffy Villavicencio yesterday announced that La Salle alumni, friends and supporters who want to support Beng may purchase a Filoil Flying V tournament season ticket for P10,000 and send the amount to La Salle director for development Edwin Reyes or his assistant Cherisse Sebastian at Tel. Nos. 3031393 or 5344611 local 107. Villavicencio said all proceeds of season ticket sales will be given to Beng for his treatment and each purchase will be acknowledged. The goal is to raise P3 Million from sales of 300 season tickets.


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