Winners in Everyday Heroes contest
SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - July 10, 2020 - 12:00am

From seven to 19 to finally, 27. The Benjamin Canlas Courage To Be Kind Foundation initially thought of choosing seven winners for Ben’s Grant-A-Wish contest to discover “Everyday Heroes” in this pandemic. But Dr. George and Glennda Canlas eventually expanded the list to 19 to celebrate their late son Ben’s 19th birthday last July 1 then as more and more entries poured in, decided to pick 27. The prize was a size 26, steel-framed mountain bike for each winner. Cycling enthusiasts Aboy Castro and Ryan Azarcon donated a helmet to pair with every bike to be awarded.

The 27 winners are Webster Labasa, Liezel Camila, April May Garay, Jaycelyn Baldonado, Maria Joy Cabasag, Joseph Agojito, Aldous Jerald Brillo De la Cruz, Emmanuel Uy, Daniel Pansoy, Ruel Baueta, Jecky Baylosis, Ronald Del Rosario, Jr., Gary Fox Penafiel, Allano Avenido, Erna Lizardo, Christopher Boyet Lazaro, Christine Joy Castillo, Roger Palbaquer, Glenmar Miguel, Archer Cabahug, Warren Canda, Roda Moreno, Harry Yu, Crisanto Saranza, Edison Lorilla, Jose Oliqueno and Marie Antoinette Gabriel.

Dr. Canlas said entries were vetted meticulously and came from as far as Leyte. “All of us at the Benjamin Canlas Courage To Be Kind Foundation would like to express our sincere gratitude to our generous donors who made it possible to give away not only seven but 27 bicycles to deserving individuals,” he said. “The process has been a humbling reminder that there are many who are willing to help and that there are many more still in need of a helping hand.

“Our 27 heroes and their families also extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone who made this initiative a success by submitting a nomination, liking and sharing our post and spreading the word about the giveaway so more could join. Thank you to all for being a part of this year’s Ben’s Grant-A-Wish Day in deed, in thought, in prayer. We hope to reach more people every year. However, let’s remember that every day, we can practice the simple acts of kindness that can bring light and positivity to our world during a time when we all can use more of it.”

Here’s the story of one of the winners, Christine Joy Castillo. “Siya ay aking nakakatandang katapid na isang single mom sa dalawa niyang anak at nagtratrabaho sa Starbucks bilang isang barista. April 20, 2020 ng makabalik siya sa kanyang trabaho nguni’t tatlong araw lang sa isang linggo ang kanyang pasok dahil wala pa rin transportasyon at naglalakad lamang ito papasok at pauwi. Naglalaan siya ng dalawang oras sa paglalakad bago sa oras ng kanyang pasok upang hindi ito ma-late sa trabaho. Minsan naman may i-schedule ito na 10 p.m. na kanyang uwi kaya mas delikado para sa kanya bilang babae kung maglalakad ito sa madilim na kalsada. Mula Libertad hanggang sa kanyang trabaho sa Belmont Starbucks, ang layo ng kanyang nilalakad. Sa kalaunan nagkaroon ng byahe ang mga tricycle nguni’t aabot naman ito sa isang daan kada isang byahe kaya hindi rin naging OK sa kanya dahil mapupunta lang sa pamasahe ang sahod niya. Sila ay no work, no pay.

“Ngayon ay nadagdagan na ng isang araw ang kanyang pasok sa isang linggo naging apat na ito. Paminsan-minsan ay nakakahiram siya ng bisikleta mula sa kakilala nguni’t madalas naman ito nasisira dahil sa kalumaan na rin ng gulong nito. Minsan ay napapaiyak na lamang ito dahil sa pagod sa trabaho na nakatayo ay kailangan pa niyang maglakad upang makauwi. Kailangan niya itong tiisin upang masuportahan ang dalawang anak na isang dalawang taon at apat na taon na may kalakasan sa pag-inom ng gatas at pag-gamit ng diaper. Magiging malaking tulong sa kanya ang pagkakaroon ng sariling bisikleta upang makauwi agad ito sa mga nag-aantay niyang anak pag gina-gabi ito ng uwi at magkaroon pa siya ng oras para asikasuhin sila.”

BENJAMIN CANLAS
Philstar
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