Sunday, August 13, 2006

LIFE IS PRECIOUS, NO MATTER WHAT!

These past few weeks, Baby Kate and her sorry plight had been occupying my thoughts, filling me with the overwhelming desire to do what I could for her. I wrote to Pia Cayetano, Cathy Guballa, Gina de Venecia and Noemi Lardizabal-Dado, mothers who have lost children, hoping that having known the pain of losing a child, they would be moved into helping Kate. But, except for Noemi, I have not received any response from them.

Maybe they have not read my emails yet. But WHAT IF they did, but chose to ignore it?

In my previous entry, I wrote these words:

"I am hoping that having known the pain that comes from losing a beloved child, they will be moved into helping Kate, not only because they are mothers themselves, but also because they will have compassion and will want to spare Kate's mother from the same pain... should God forbid, Kate be lost to her.

These mothers belong to a very select club. There are very strict requirements for membership. Not even the wealthiest will be accepted without the necessary qualifications!

I wish the members of this club will close ranks against Kate's mother ... ban her from the club at all cost ... DON'T EVER ACCEPT HER AS MEMBER! Do not let her in.....

You see, Kate's mother will have to lose Kate to become a member.

Qualification: know the excruciating pain of losing a beloved child. After that, you will qualify. No other requirements needed."

WHAT IF THEY IGNORED MY PLEAS FOR KATE?

If so, I wonder what this speaks about us a people?

Have we totally lost our compassion for those who are less fortunate than we are?

Or have we become too wary of scams, we suspect everything and everyone who come to us for aid, so we rather opt to ignore all and assume the worse?

Or are we simply too engrossed with our needs and that of our family's, nothing else concerns us anymore, thus we have no more room for others?

Or could it simply be pure economics? Times being hard, we only have enough for ourselves ... there is nothing left for others ...



But I do not want to give up on us yet. I still believe that there is goodness in every person's heart ... that if only I could reach into that deepwell of compassion, I would be able to see the outpouring of love and support that is desperately needed.


I AM NOT GIVING UP YET!

That is why I have decided to write about Kate in my column for the August 20, 2006 issue of MetroPost.

If only people would read with their hearts ... then take a look at their normal and healthy children, and send a silent prayer of thanks to God ... then rejoice and celebrate by lending a helping hand to those children who are not as perfect ...


EVERY LIFE IS PRECIOUS!



Do you love your children? Of course you do! We all do!

But have you ever considered this? What if, God forbid, our children are different from what they are now, imperfect somehow, would our love still be the same?

Is there a gauge for our love for our children? Is there a condition of perfection attached to that love? “OF COURSE NOT!” – you would tell me … “I will love my child just as much, no matter what he or she may be.”

So, what if Kate were our own daughter? Will our love still be as strong? Will we do everything for her?

BUT WHO IS KATE ANYWAY?

Let me tell you about Kate Lozada. She is a seven-month old baby girl, a child who has fallen short of that perfection we all dream our children would always be. And not only that, she is very, very sick.

She has a congenital heart disease known as Tetralogy of Fallot. According to Dra. Joan Davis delos Santos, it basically means that she 4 defects in her heart. In layman terms, it is a critical condition where BOTH valves of the chambers of her heart are defective. This causes reduced oxygenation to the blood, making her heart work harder than usual. This stress will eventually lead to heart failure and death.

Ideally, the defects should have been corrected right after birth because the pressures in the heart continue to rise as Kate grows. Once it reaches a very high level, surgery will become practically impossible for her, as the risk that she could die in the operating table will be too high by then.

That is why her need for surgery is VERY URGENT. It has to be done as soon as possible. The operation will cost between P400,000.00 to P500,000.00. Kate’s parents can raise that amount by trying to save as much as they can, but it might be too late by then. They are running a race against time. They tried to enter her as a charity patient at the Philippine Heart Center but Baby Kate was rejected. Would you like to know why? She has Down syndrome. Kate is a mongoloid baby.

Are you not shocked at the cruelty of that policy? What does it mean? Just leave her to die, follow the natural course? That a charity slot will merely be wasted on Kate because she is not going to have a healthy and fruitful life anyway? Whaaaat???? Are they telling us that only “normal” people deserve to live? Is she not a child of God just like every one of us?

SUHS Class ‘84 is helping Kate because her mother, Dinnah Lozada, was our batchmate. Old friends and classmates have donated money and together, we have raised around P150,000.00.

I have also helped by giving financial aid. But I am not rich. If I were one, I would just say "schedule the surgery! I will take care of everything!" Oh God! How I wish I could say that to Kate's mother and see joy and hope return to her eyes! She cries everytime I would see her. But I can only give what little I have, and it is but a drop - an insignificant addition that did not take us any nearer to the amount that we need!

That is why I am writing about Kate now, to appeal to the hearts of each mother and father who is reading this column. Please spare Kate whatever little amount you may have. A little here and there will go a long way for her. Please help give to her the gift of life. Institutions may have relegated her to the bins, but Kate has a family who loves her, not in spite of, but exactly because of who and what she is. That, I believe, is the very essence of unconditional love, the very same love that we all have for our own children.

If you want to know more about Kate, you can find her mother, Dinnah Lozada, at the Pharmacy of SUMC. The baby’s pediatrician, Dra. Glenda N. Nuico, has kindly consented to the mention of her name in my endeavors to find help for Kate. She will welcome your queries should you be interested to learn more. Her clinic is at SUMC.

To my readers: life is precious no matter what. No amount of money can ever approximate the value of a human life, but whatever little amount you can spare, be it P5, P20, P50 or P100, will mean a longer life for this helpless baby. Please give only what you can. Times are hard and most of us barely have enough for our own family’s needs, but if you have some spare, some amount that will not hurt your budget, WHY NOT GIVE? It is really very easy to help Kate, you know. Just imagine that she is your own baby. That is what I am doing right now.

To those of you who may belong to religious or civic organizations, please take up Kate as a worthy cause. Maybe your group has some extra funds. Please let my appeal move your heart. We may not know this now, but God may be trying to do His work through each one of us. Please listen with a mother or father’s heart.

If you want to donate, a trust account was opened for Kate:
Metrobank – Dgte. Branch
Account Name : Dinnah Guevarra Lozada in trust for KATE GUEVARRA LOZADA
Account Number: 110-311059581-7

Or you may want to give directly to Kate’s mother, Dinnah Lozada. She may be reached at this number: 0917-314-1942.

I would appreciate it very much if you could also inform me if you have donated. I will continue to write about Kate and I would like to acknowledge your donations in this column.

We saw a miracle happen when MetroPost was able to come back to us. Please let another miracle happen within the pages of MetroPost. Let it be for Kate this time.

1 comment:

EAA said...

You made a very compelling argument Olga. Your passion for kindness and charity is truly admirable. However, I would like to say something about the policy of the Philippine Heart Center. Let me say this first, I am not an apologist for PHC and my comment is based on the assumption that PHC is applying their policy FAIRLY ACROSS THE BOARD, ALL THE TIME. Having said that, I do not believe cruelty is the right characterization of their policy. I was a soldier once and what comes to mind in cases like this is the principle of triage. For someone in the leadership or command position I am painfully aware that I have to apply this sort of decision at some point in time and be subjected to it myself should I become a casualty. As you may probably already know, triage is used in hospital emergency rooms, on battlefields, and at disaster sites when LIMITED MEDICAL RESOURCES must be allocated only to those capable of deriving the greatest benefit from it. Furthermore, the survival of the recipient must have a tangible benefit to the greater good. Yes, it sounds callous and cold but considering the Philippines, a virtual disaster site specially for the poor, I can understand the decision of PHC. How many Filipino children who have the same heart condition as Kate but given a second chance at life will contribute something beneficial to mankind? Would you embark on the same undertaking with zeal and persistence for them?