Volunteering for Ilonggo children with cancer

Did you ever wonder how it feels like to volunteer for a good cause?

For Ike Lourenze Sala and Patricia Solatorio, students from the College of Medicine of Central Philippine University, helping out during the Friends of Cancer Kids (Iloilo) Foundation Inc. children’s day out was a life changing experience.

FCKIFI beneficiaries look forward to the children’s day out because they can laugh, have fun, learn new things and bond with other kids, other families, their benefactors, FCKIFI members and volunteers.

“It was our first time to be a part of something big, something that is life changing,” said Sala. He added that he never knew that he could learn so much from children who were diagnosed with cancer.

Friends of Cancer Kids Iloilo Foundation student volunteer Ike Lourenze Sala (back) and member Elena Torre (front) with the kids at Max Rider

Sala narrated his 4D movie and ride experience at Max Rider with FCKIFI beneficiary Eljid Camacho who is blind. Sala was asked to describe to Eljid what he saw on the movie screen.  “I know I’m not a good storyteller but I saw that he enjoyed the ride and was thankful for my help. Seeing him appreciate what I did made me teary-eyed. And it moved me,” Sala said.

Patricia Solatorio (3rd from right) with fellow student volunteers and FCKIFI kids

“I never knew I could learn so much from kids their age. They taught me to be more optimistic towards life, learn to appreciate simple things and especially learn to be thankful no matter what life throws at you,” he added.

Meanwhile, Solatorio said that the experience was inspiring. “I was actually just controlling my emotions while listening to Kent Nercena’s mother Jessica tell their story. They expected him to die when he was only two years old. Now, he is already 16. He and his family have gone through a lot, and yet they remain jolly and positive. They never blamed the Lord God for their misfortunes and instead, they remained thankful. They are not well off but they try their best and work their way to sustain his medications and their daily expenditures,” Solatorio said.

Businessman Rex Chua (middle, back) pose with the FCKIFI family at Horizon Cafe
Since Kent cannot walk, his mother carries him wherever they go. So, during the children’s day out, volunteers assisted her every step of the way. The other children were also guided by student volunteers and that gave their mothers or fathers the chance to talk to each other and have the time of their lives too.

Prior to that, FCKIFI had lunch at Horizon Cafe courtesy of businessman Rex Chua and his family. Last year, Iloilo Society Commercial which Chua owns, held a fun run and its proceeds went to FCKIFI. Such gestures of support give the children hope.

FCKIFI president Dr Socorro Martinez (2nd from left) and Elena Torre (4th from left) with the children
FCKIFI is a non-stock, non-profit corporation whose objective is to fund the chemotherapy treatment of cancer-stricken Ilonggo children who come from poor families “These poor families never had a budget for medical needs, more so for expensive chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy. In fact, most of them die because the necessary treatments were not availed of due to financial constraints. Costly cancer treatment forces many children and their families to drop their plans for the future and just focus on surviving in the present,” according to FCKIFI president Dr. Ma. Socorro Martinez.

FCKIFI officer Janice Jimenez with Therese Serbese, beneficiary

That is why FCKIFI welcomes volunteers, donors and those who want to organize events for the children. Those interested may message the foundation through their Facebook page: Friends of Cancer Kids Iloilo Foundation Inc. https://www.facebook.com/FriendsofCancerKidsIloiloFoundationInc/ or contact 0917-3031400./ By Kathy Villalon

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