Girl with lupus serves as inspiration to others

By Christopher Millora
(Published in The News Today)

When Ruthell Moreno was diagnosed with a deadly immune system disorder, she felt that every single day that she woke up alive after that dreadful diagnosis is in itself a great blessing from God. Battling systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) everyday, she knew that waking up for another morning means a whole lot more than just “another day at work” or “a day back to school.” It was a divine extension of her existence.
That is why, the day she found out that she ranked fifth in the 2012 National Licensure Examinations for Teachers (LET) for Elementary Level she could not explain the magnitude of gratitude wanting to burst out of her heart. She was thankful for the rank, she was thankful for the license and she was thankful that she was, again, given another beautiful day to live.
Ruthell Moreno, a Bachelor in Special Education Major in Teaching Children with Mental Retardation graduate from West Visayas State University, became a household name when she graduated Summa Cum Laude despite her being diagnosed of SLE.
Systemic Lupus erythematosus is a long-term, auto-immune disease that affects many parts of the body. The immune system of Ruthell’s body mistakenly attacks even the healthy cells. That is why, she is very sensitive to heat and has many food restrictions. But Ruthell doesn’t look sickly at all. In fact, when she tells you her story, she tells it as if it was a fairytale – a fun and exciting adventure.
Her inspiration spread like wildfire, uplifting the spirits of those who might have the same situation as her and even those who completely have a healthy body, but a weak heart. She became a fuel so that others may move on and her story became an example to many young people to fight against adversities.
Being a be-medaled student, Ruthell was awarded as one of the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines of 2012 given by President Noynoy himself in the Malacañang Palace.

Ruthell was about to sleep when she found out the great news. Although she expected that the results would come out that day, she had no clue what exact time will she find out her fate. It was a text message from a classmate that broke the big news.
“I was shouting, Thank you Lord! Thank you Lord! And immediately called my parents to tell them. They were very proud of me. I couldn’t believe it, but I was very thankful,” shares Ruthell who until now sounded excited as she shares her story.
Now with a license in place, Ruthell was no less determined as she was before. “The learning should be continuous.” In fact, she considered being a licensed teacher as a great challenge to uphold the dignity of the profession.
“May this license be a constant reminder not only of our responsibilities as teachers but also of the opportunity to make future engineers, doctors and nurses as good citizens of the country. We are now given the opportunity to help in making people become better. Let us uphold the dignity of the teaching profession.”

Being young and adept with the many changes in the society, Ruthell recognizes that there has been a shift of mindset among young people today when it comes to the teaching profession.
“Nagahambal subong ang mga tawo nga kung alam ka, medicine ka ukon mag-Law kag indi mag-Education kay kanugon lang sang kaalam mo kung mag-Education ka,” she shares her observation and continues that contrary to such existent belief, we need intelligent teachers – creative and resilient ones – who can go with (and, if necessary, against) the tides of modern changes.
“It’s a challenge. That is why, it is important to continually learn – passing the licensure exams is not enough. Everyday is a chance to learn new things and a chance to share such learning to our students.”

With so much evident love for the profession, Ruthell, admits though, that she might not be a teacher forever. She shared that she has two dreams in life: first is to build her own SPED school and second is to be a mother.
But it is her instinct to impart knowledge that makes Ruthell perfect for both. She sees the capacity of every individual child to be great someday. Perhaps, her vision of one’s potential roots from her personal struggle of fighting against SLE everyday and surviving all the trials that the disease entails. She finds joy in ordinary things; she values life in ordinary things.
“Indi mabayaran ang happiness you see when students learn or when students achieve. That is why, I thank my teachers for all the guidance they have given me. They are part of my success in as much as I am part of my students’ success as well.”
For comments and suggestions, you may email the author at Follow the author on Twitter: @chrismillora.*

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