Birthday wish for Samboy

SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson - The Philippine Star

Today is PBA legend Samboy Lim’s 53rd birthday and his family, friends and fans are wishing, praying and hoping for his complete recovery after suffering cardiac arrest during a basketball game at the Ynares Sports Center in Pasig over four months ago.

Samboy was rushed to the Medical City in a state of unconsciousness and pronounced dead on arrival. He was deprived of oxygen for about 23 minutes. Doctors managed to revive him and placed his body in freezing temperature for 48 hours to prevent further seizures. Samboy was confined for over a month then brought to a two-bedroom condo unit at Wack-Wack where he receives 24/7 care. He is now out of coma but still has to regain full control of his senses. There are encouraging signs of recovery and his former wife Darlene Berberabe and their daughter Jaime are optimistic that with God’s mercy, Samboy will eventually be back on his feet skywalking like before.

Last Monday, Samboy was brought to the Medical City for a 24-hour EEG evaluation. His sister Maricor, who lives in the US, is in town to assist Lelen and Jaime in caring for the PBA star. It’s her second visit to Manila in the last four months. Maricor’s daughter Danielle Wicklund celebrated her 17th birthday in the US last Monday and her birthday wish was for Samboy to live a normal life again.

“Even though it was Dani’s birthday, she suggested that I stay in Manila for Sam’s birthday,” said Maricor whose siblings are Samboy, Malou, Marites and Bonbon. Maricor said her daughter will visit Samboy in June. Danielle, who has a special bond with her uncle, wrote a love-filled essay on Samboy and sent it to The Star. This is what she wrote:

“Nov. 28, 2014, that was the day when my world suddenly altered like the changing seasons, from winter to spring, spring to summer. A vicious cycle filled with hysteria and darkness than morphing into one filled with hope and light. It was been four months since that horrendous day. The memories of Uncle Samboy’s suffering, pain and chaos at the ICU will forever remain with me.

“At 16 (now 17), I had to go through the worst Christmas, New Year and Valentine’s Day. I had to stay focused and remind myself not to complain because Uncle Samboy is going through so much more. Think about what is going on in his head. Think about what kind of pain he is going through…I just cannot comprehend it. Does he feel any pain? Does he process information? Does he feel the love we shower him with? Does he even know what happened to him? So, listen! Now is the time to show Uncle Samboy how much he is loved and make him feel loved, to assure him he will be cared for, no matter what happens and to let him know that he is still Samboy Lim even if he is trapped in a non-functioning body. He will always be my dearest beloved Uncle Samboy.

“However, there is always something good that comes out of the bad. Jamie and I have become closer. I cherish the bond we have as first cousins. Just like her father, she is an astonishing athlete with an indomitable spirit. Mom and Auntie Lelen have rekindled their sisterly affection and have worked as a two-man team to ensure that Uncle Samboy is getting the best medical care. They have accomplished this despite being separated by a thousand miles. Most of the family members have their hands on deck. We even got to meet our long-lost Lim relatives like Tita Fely McCintosh, Uncle Manuel Lim and various others who are blessings and God-sent. We were inundated with affection and realized that there are so many loyal, caring, supportive friends. Only Uncle Samboy’s real friends have pledged to stand by his side while he continues fighting like Uncle Allan Caidic, George Catacutan, Glenn Uy, Herbel Salangsang, Tito Zarate and many more.

“Even though Uncle Samboy is not out of the woods yet, he is like a soldier who charges onto the battlefield with all of his determination, courage and strength. I have seen his physical therapy videos and he has been exerting all efforts to comply with instructions and get them done. We have no clue how much effort it takes on his behalf but we can see his fortitude to recover. Whenever I see him via Skype or FaceTime, I cannot help but feel sorrowful seeing him in this condition. Nevertheless, I know that the soldier inside of him keeps fighting in the Battle of Adversity and never forgets his zest for life. I know that Uncle Samboy is fighting with every ounce of his soul. And despite his condition, his motivation stems from the desire to be with his family and the love in his heart for all of us. And I firmly believe in the old cliché that ‘There is always light after the darkness.’

“As a little girl, I thought Uncle Samboy’s birthday was awesome since it was on the same day as April Fool’s Day. I remember asking my mother if he ever got pranked on his birthday. She said no because he was the one who played the jokes on people. Uncle George Cats attested, ‘That is absolutely true. Do you know the birthday tradition in the Philippines? If the birthday celebration is in a restaurant, the birthday boy or girl pays for the bill. Well, Samboy would always say, ‘it’s not my birthday’ and I would say, ‘it’s your birthday.’ We all knew that he was just trying to pull our leg and trick us. He was the best prankster and he was so much fun to hang around with.

“When I was six, I was elated to visit Disney World and I knew it would be the best time of my life. Imagine meeting your favorite Disney princesses. Imagine riding spectacular rides. Imagine being in the happiest place on earth. Well, it would’ve been the unhappiest place on earth if not for Uncle Samboy. His kindness and sincerity made me love spending time with him. He was, as quoted from Lee Harper’s ‘To Kill A Mockingbird,’ ‘The same in his house as he is on the public streets.’


He also showed me some awesome magic and basketball tricks and I thought he was the coolest. Most importantly, he saved my life. At the hotel we stayed in, there was a gigantic, exhillirating waterslide. I figured it would be okay on that slide since I started my swimming lessons. But I was obviously a novice in swimming. So when I went down the waterslide, I almost drowned. But guess who saved me? Uncle Samboy came in like a knight in shining armor and rescued me from a horrendous fate. And for that, I will be forever grateful.

“Uncle Samboy, please remember that we love you. And even if it takes a long time, we will always be there for you while you recover. Please don’t lose heart, God is with you. In your weakness, God will be your hope and strength. Thank you so much for allowing me to contribute in my own little way, to pay tribute to my beloved Uncle Samboy.”












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