Wednesday, March 20, 2013

To not live in vain

Yesterday's and today's inbox was filled with petitions that requested signatures for the save-the-Philamlife-Theater movement and for the revocation of the University of the Philippines' unjust "no late payment" and "forced leave of absence" policies. These issues all call for one's time and contribution as citizen (simply add your name to the petition).

Likewise, an appeal came in behalf of an Ibaloi child who is seriously ill.
Youngest dialysis patient in Baguio
Manong Ed Maranan, Palanca hall of famer who is originally from Baguio, wrote to his email  contacts for the second day in a row to seek help so a new lease on life could be given to Chelsea Benito, 10. 

He shared Baguio journalist Ramon Dacawi's  account of how the Benito family is struggling to keep Chelsea alive. The report came out in the community paper Baguio Midland Courier

"Chelsea Abance Benito and her family are no different from most, if not all, of the other kidney patients undergoing hemodialysis treatment at the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center.

"Like most families with a member afflicted with total kidney failure that requires life-time dialysis, hers is suddenly on its toes scrounging for funds to support her next treatment session, supposedly scheduled two or three times a week.

"Most, if not all, are financially strapped, drained dry by the costs: between P2,200 to P2,800 per session, excluding occasional blood transfusions, maintenance medicines, hospitalization for complications and a host of other needs.

"The difference is that, as per her doctors advice, Chelsea must be on dialysis every other day, or four sessions a week, until her blood pressure has stabilized.
"The difference is that she is almost blind. Her vision has blurred since her blood pressure shot up last September and she was confined for the second time at the BGHMC.
"The difference is that Chelsea is now the youngest of 169 dialysis patients being treated at the BGHMC.

"Chelsea, the third of four kids of Billy and Cecilia (nee Abance) Benito, an Ibaloy farmer-couple from Bengao, Bakakeng Central here, is 10 years old.

"Before Chelsea appeared at the BGHMC renal center for her first dialysis session last Jan. 16, the youngest patient was Ana Fontanilla, a 14-year old farmer's daughter from Rosario, La Union.

"The number of kidney patients seeking treatment at the BGHMC renal center is steadily increasing. That they're getting younger is alarming for nurse Carmen Bumatnog and the rest of the staff working the four treatment shifts of four hours each.

"Before Ana and Chelsea, the youngest was Ashley Dyrine Sabling, then a 14-year old girl from Tadian, Mt. Province. She died on a Sunday in early November 2010 just after she arrived in Baguio for her scheduled treatment the following morning.

"School children and teachers of Westmont School Montessori at Camp 7 here fought back tears when they learned of Ashley's passing. She had visited their school, to thank them for making kimchi they sold to parents to support her treatment.

"Recently, Ana's mother appealed for support to her daughter's will to survive. Several gentle souls out there who requested anonymity immediately pooled P38,500 for Ana, so her family' won't have to worry how to sustain her dialysis until this February.

"Now, it's Chelsea's turn.

"The kid's father said her woes began in July last year, while she was in the fourth grade. She was suddenly feverish, was feeling weak and started throwing up. During her hospital confinement, doctors advised her parents to bring Chelsea to the national Kidney and Transplant Institute in Quezon City.

"'We were trying to raise the amount needed to bring her (to the NKTI) when her blood pressure shot up and had to be confined again,' her father, Billy, said last week. 'That's when her vision became impaired to the point that she could no longer recognize faces she knew.'"

Manong Ed has provided the bank details of Chelsea's mother so Good Samaritans (there are many out there) can help by way of prayers, intentions and donations.

Philippine National Bank
Abanao St., Baguio City branch
Account Name: Cecilia Benito
Savings Account Number: 592108-011-5451360

Letters like Manong Ed's are stark reminders of the importance of frequent practice of helping, something Emily Dickinson captured:

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain:
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.
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