Monday, September 6, 2010


I wrote about Katrina Rambongga and her fund raising campaign today.. I really wish for little Kat to hear & say the words 'I love you'.. soon!

She has cochlear implant device now, thanks to your help! and she can speak a few syllables.. But she needs continuous therapy & schooling in order to hear clearly and speak more words.. And she needs our help..

by Maria Kathrina Lopez Yarza
September 6, 2010

Way back in 2008, I received a message from a concerned father through my Multiply account, Kuya John was searching for something to help Katrina, his two year old only daughter, the youngest of his three children. Kuya John and his wife Ate Karen wished they had a little girl and after four years of waiting Katrina was born. A dream came true.

Everyone was so excited about having a new baby girl in the family that no one noticed that little Katrina would not respond even during play. She could not say the “coo” sound, which is usually a baby’s first word. Katrina was not uttering a word even at two years old. Could that be because she was a slow learner?

With that question hanging over their head, Kuya John and Ate Karen consulted an ENENT doctor for Katrina. The series of hearing tests showed that little Katrina’s right ear was totally deaf and her left ear had profound hearing loss. Ate Karen’s exposure to a person with German measles when she was pregnant with Katrina could have caused her daughter’s hearing loss.

Ate Karen recalled, “When it was confirmed to us that my daughter could not really hear us, I cried as if it was the end of the world for me, as if someone died. I pity my daughter, how will she be able to live with her condition?”

They then sought a second opinion and consulted with another ENENT doctor. Coincidentally, it was the same doctor who took care of me and gave me lots of encouragement, that same doctor also encouraged Ate Karen to never lose hope. ‘’Habang may tenga may pag-asa,’’ this is what Dr. Elmo Lago would tell the patients he cares so much about.

Little Katrina underwent another series of hearing tests. She was advised to wear a hearing aid. But unfortunately, it did not work well on little Katrina.


Another option was considered by the ENENT doctor, the Cochlear Implant. Her parents wanted it for their daughter but the big question was, can they afford it at almost a million pesos!

Kuya John turned to the internet to research more about the cochlear implant, and landed on my website. We started communicating and I told him to get in touch with my mom who could share how she sought financial assistance from the Phil. Charity Sweepstakes Office. I advised them not to worry too much about the cost and just be optimistic that they would be able to raise the amount in so many ways, like what my mom and I did. It looked impossible but if we do something about it, no doubt, we would reach our goal. “Nasa Diyos ang awa, nasa tao ang gawa”. God will always lead us the way.

I referred little Katrina to my neuro otologist Dra. Charlotte Chiong, who was so kind and accommodating. She made Katrina undergo a series of tests to determine viable auditory nerves for possible cochlear implantation. Meanwhile, my mom called the country manager of Med-el, the cochlear implant provider, who was so generous and helpful.


Next step was raising funds. After sharing with them how we were able to raise funds, I thought of creating a website for little Katrina, http://katrina The Hear Katrina, Katrina hears fund drive. We thought of selling teddy bears to raise funds. I designed her logo and other campaign materials; her mom gave out some flyers about little Katrina’s campaign. Through the help of so many helping hands, Ate Karen was able to sell hundreds and hundreds of teddy bears which led them to pay the initial amount for Katrina’s implantation, followed by the financial assistance granted by the PCSO.

Another dream came true for Kuya John and Ate Karen. On Sept. 27, 2009, Katrina had her cochlear implantation. The procedure was completely a success. Katrina was able to recover so quickly.

On Nov. 7, 2009, Katrina recognized a sound that made her smile. ‘’Toot toot” was the very first sound she heard during her mapping at the Ear Unit of the Philippine General Hospital. Slowly, little by little, Katrina started to recognize simple words and can even speak a bit now. She can now say, Mama, Papa, babay and simple vowels sounds.

But little Katrina needs to learn more. She has to be in a special school by now. And she also needs to undergo regular speech therapies. But this cost them a lot. Ate Karen has to stop working to pay full attention to Katrina’s needs. Only Kuya John earns a living for their family and they still have two other kids to support.

So little Katrina’s fund drive continues.

Let us lend little Katrina a hand. A teddy bear means a big hug for this little girl, let’s help her say ‘’thank you’’ and ‘’I love you’’ soon.

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