Meet CLAIRE DORION. Her family has a small vegetable stall at the Balintawak market. Last year, her mother found bruises on her body. Then she had repeated bouts of fever and a shade of pale that just wouldn’t go away. At three she was diagnosed with leukemia
Claire was referred to L.I.F.E. L.I.F.E. stands for Leukemic Indigents Fund Endowment, Inc. a non-profit foundation which aims to help leukemic children from impoverished families achieve remission and cure. The doctors weren’t sure at first if she would survive. But one year later – just a few days ago, I met her at the Hematology and Oncology unit of the Fe Del Mundo Medical Center in Banawe, Quezon City.
I was greeted warmly by my highschool classmate Dra. Liza Naranjo . “You’re just in time. There’s somebody special I want you to meet. She just celebrated her birthday. “ A small bald girl with twinkling eyes and a mask came out. “Maybe you can hand her one of the toys you brought?” Liza asks me. At this point, I had to swallow the lump that was forming in my throat. “”Hello Claire. It’s nice to meet you. Gusto mo ba nito? “ I hand her a play dough set and a Disney magazine and she gives me the biggest smile. Liza tells me she had just finished with her chemo treatment.
As Liza and I were talking, more patients come in for treatment. Leukemia is more common among children than adults. Worldwide , it occurs in 3 out of 100,000 persons. In our country, it is the foremost cancer among children. It accounts for roughly more than 1,000 new cases each year. At the clinic, 50 new cases are seen every year. Since 1995, L.I.F.E has helped more than 300 leukemic children, with a third of that number benefitting from a full three year program.
“The survival rate is very high with this kind of cancer. But the treatment has to be continuous (3 years)and must start immediately For P440, 000, a sick child has a fighting chance to have another birthday. “
A TIME TO HELP
There are so many things that can be done. Clean your closets for clothes, toys and books. You can spend time and play with the children, be a Mother of the day, organize parties, field trips and events for the children or you can offer Masses or spiritual activities.
L.I.F.E also welcomes volunteers who are willing to share their talents. Conduct an arts and craft class, tell a story, or share your music with the patients.
ADD A CANDLE
All of us have the power to make a difference. I encourage you to adopt a child. Gather a group of friends, spread the word in your community or offices — whatever amount big or small can ease the burden of poor families. But most of all, it can add another candle to a sick child’s birthday cake.
Truthfully, I came to the clinic quite anxious because I was having problems with my househelp. But after visiting the clinic, I thought how silly my concerns were. Coming face to face with people afflicted with cancer just gave me a whole new perspective. Can you imagine barely making enough to to tide your family for a day and then be saddled with a child sick of leukemia? And yet, when I saw Claire and her mother, they had smiles on their faces and were in high spirits.
With a carload of toys, clothes and books, I thought I was doing a good deed by giving to the needy. As it turned out, it was I who received so much more.
So I ask you this —- Wouldn’t you help save a life if you could?
Please call (632) 740-7346 and email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. You may also visit www.lifeforleukemia.com .