Hope and pride

The past three weeks had been emotional times for KKK, Mga Kaibigan ng Mga Kabataang May Kanser and it had been a story of hope.
I received a message from our president, Doc Cora, telling us that the chemotherapy sessions for two of our kids (Eden Mar Miranda and John Philip Java) had been stopped and they were placed in support care. I asked her, “You mean, they will die?” And she said, “Yes.”
There were nightly tears since then, agonizing over many worries: Will they be in pain when they start to bleed? Are the parents going to be okay? It must be awful for them to see their loved one die before their eyes, bleeding. Then came the fervent prayers (close to begging) that He would let the children pass away peacefully in their sleep.
One year with KKK and spending some time with the kids during interview with their parents, children's day out, art classes and other activities with them, is enough to bond with them. For Doc Cora, Doc Lita and Doc Caso who come in contact with the children and their parents more often for two years, the attachment is even more.
We cannot help but feel frustrated. There's the question of: have all our efforts been for nothing? KKK and those who supported the cause continued to help to ensure that these children live. The cases that KKK are handling are those that have good prognosis. It means, the chances of the children surviving their cancer is very good.
Apart from the chemotherapy treatments, the 10 recipients of KKK are given doses of happiness through many fun-filled activities. Thus, with the recent development, we decided to hold another children's day out in Jollibee. Friends volunteered their talents, food and donated gifts to make sure the children are happy.
The day-out turned out a success. The children enjoyed their Jollibee fried chicken, the violin played before them, the magic tricks, the gifts and the love that filled the room that day.
Sadly, Eden Mar passed away before the day came. But, her her mother Marilyn said that she died in her sleep, peacefully and no pain.
John passed away recently but not before he fought it and after he had fun with Jollibee. His Mom Eva narrated that it was John who continued to give them strength by reminding them that God would heal him.
That conversation with Eva has erased whatever frustration I had. Lesson: We work hard for something we want to achieve but sometimes, we don't get what we want. But it does not mean we failed.
We wanted the children to live, but sadly, not all of them can outlast their cancer. But we can always make their lives better while they're here with us. We still have eight children who continue to be active (some go to school) and are improving. Soon, we'll be taking in more recipients.
The fight against children's cancer will continue. There's hope.

ILONGGO PRIDE. I'm so happy to know that my good friend, Rhea Penaflor had been accepted to the 2009 European Journalism Institute Scholarship in Prague, Czech Republic on July 11 to 18, 2009. I'm even prouder to learn that she is the first and only Filipino journalist who made it to the EJI.
The EJI is sponsored by the Fund for American Studies in cooperation with Charles University.
Rhea is a radio broadcast journalist and freelance editor and writer. She is a contributor of The News Today. She's a graduate of Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Science in Mass Communications (cum laude) and has taken her masters in Public Administration.
She has traveled to Bangkok for the media conference entitled “Changing Dynamics in the Asia Pacific.”
Her exposure includes writing for the Epsori Solutions and Southern Californa Market and Barter, as well as lecturing on various symposia on press freedom and journalism. She was tasked as speaker on various topics on reproductive health, drugs, HIV/AIDS, those relevant to youth health.
She is presently an anchor of “Tingog sang Pamatan-on sa Hutik sang Kagab-ihon”./Marie Katherine Villalon

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