Rising above childhood cancer
Tears were shed when children with cancer and beneficiaries of Mga Kaibigan ng Mga Kabataang May Kanser lost their battle with the dreaded disease.
It is every parent’s, relative’s and KKK member’s wish that a child stricken with cancer, will survive.
For some, this wish has come true.
This month, four children who endured years of chemotherapy, pain and weakness, are finally graduating from their treatment after doctors found that they are already healed.
They are Alvin Tamdang, Russel Buizon, Sander Hitalia and Hazel Roque, all boys.
Melody Hitalia, Sander’s mom recalled how her child was so weak and did not want to eat when he was sick.
“Very different sia compared sa iban nga kids. Bisan sa food. Limitado ang iya hulag, indi sia ka-play with other kids who are healthy,” she said.
“Now, he’s very active,” she happily said, adding that Sander loves to play basketball and computer.
She added that being a beneficiary of KKK has helped in lessening their expenses because the organization shoulders the chemotherapy treatment of the children.
“Labi na gid ang moral support sang KKK,” she added.
Hitalia said Sander aims to finish school. He will be a grade five student at Pandac Elem. School in Pavia this coming school year.
“We plan to support Sander with whatever plans he has. Also, someday, I hope we could also help other KKK kids,” she said.
Melody is a housewife while her husband Antonio is a tricycle driver.
Meanwhile, Michelle Buizon, mother of Russel said, “Subong, pagsik sia and very energetic.”
Buizon recalled that when Russel was undergoing chemotherapy, he was scared but he endured the treatments.
Apart from the promise of getting well, Russel also enjoyed the different activities that KKK has organized to provide fun and inspiration to the beneficiaries and their parents like celebrations at Jollibee, zoo visits, and malling, among others.
Aged seven years old and a student of Siniba-an Elem. School in Dingle, Russel looks forward to visiting his father Oliver in Manila.
With Russel well now, Buizon could not contain her happiness.
“Sobrang happy ang feeling. Nagmag-an gid ang pamatyag ko,” she said.
The four “graduating” beneficiaries of KKK will be honoured during Camp Kalipay, a KKK Children’s Day Camp on May 23 to 25 at Sol Y Mar Family Resort, Tigbauan, Iloilo.
The three-day camp consists of activities like arts and crafts, nature walk, music, sports, yoga and storytelling, among others.
KKK is a non-profit organization that raises funds for the chemotherapy treatment of poor children with cancer.
It was founded by KKK president Dr. Ma. Socorro Martinez and Sol Fernandez in 2007. Martinez lost her mother to cancer while Fernandez is a cancer survivor.
The members are doctors, nurses, educators, entrepreneurs and media practitioners.
A member, Dr. Lita Paclibar had been handling children with cancer for a decade.
“It never gets easier. More so when faced with a child whose family do not have the resources for treatment. Many cancers in childhood are treatable as long as it’s diagnosed early and is given the proper treatment. Sad to say, in our setting, outcome is often dictated by the ability of the family to sustain treatment. As a Pediatric Oncologist, I’ve had my share of anger, frustration and helplessness,” Dr. Paclibar said.
“KKK has given hope to some of our children suffering from cancer. By sponsoring a child’s chemotherapeutic drugs, we’re giving them a chance to live. Personally, I’ve realized that there are so many people with truly good hearts who are willing to give not only monetary gifts, but also their time and talents for these children. I guess one mother sums it up when she said, “It makes me so happy to know that there are people out there who do not even know us, yet care enough to help my child,” said Dr. Martinez. (Marie Katherine Villalon)