Monday, October 25, 2010

KCAT CAN: Beautiful In My Eyes

Geraldine has given me further inspiration. She has given me further strength. And most important of all, she has further rooted my Faith in God.

Regardless of her physical appearance, Geraldine Javier Oliva is, and will always be, beautiful in my eyes.

Beautiful in my eyes
by Maria Kathrrina Lopez Yarza 
October 23, 2010

MANILA, Philippines – I was staring blankly at my computer and praying to God to give me something to write about when my Mom called out that dinner was ready. It has become a habit for me to watch television while having my meal.

That night, the habit became a blessing for it was an answered prayer for me. I saw Geraldine Oliva on TV and was moved by her exceptional courage, strength and faith. So I immediately searched more about her on the internet and admired her even more.

Geraldine Oliva, aged 40, has a chronic kidney disease that brought significant changes in her life.

Geraldine grew up in Balayan, Batangas where she started her career, fell in love, got married, and raised her own family with Mario, her husband. They were blessed with four sons: Marione, Marius, Marcus and Mark, aged 16, 14, 12 and 10 years old, respectively. They lived a normal happy family life.

Unfortunately, their happy world changed in 2004 when tragedy struck. Geraldine was diagnosed with Glomerulonephritis, a chronic failure of the kidneys. While she was having her dialysis treatments in 2007, she acquired a metabolic problem in her bones that caused deformity in her bones. Her physical appearance abruptly altered. Her face expanded. Her facial bones, jaw and palate protruded conspicuously, with the palate occupying almost her oral cavity. This made it almost impossible for solid food to enter her mouth. Her teeth were widely separated because of the expansion of her bones. Her rib cage and spine collapsed, causing her hunchback posture, with mounds and depressions all over her chest wall. The long bones in her body thinned and looked emaciated.


During her growing up years, Geraldine was always the “star” in the family because of her innate talents and good looks. She was the center of attention at home, in school, and wherever she went.

Not only was she blessed with good looks and talents, she also excelled in academics. She enjoined herself in socio-civic organizations, essay writing competitions, beauty pageants, fellowships and many other gatherings and organizations. She was a cheerful, gifted and intelligent lady.

In her high school years, she frequently got high fevers, and when blood was found in her urine specimen, she thought that perhaps it was just an ordinary infection and took it lightly. Her friends noticed sudden edema (swelling) on her face, legs and feet, but she attributed it to weight gain.

She was fond of eating fatty and salty junk foods, preferred carbonated drinks over water, and seldom ate fruits and vegetables. In college, she was hospitalized due to acute pharyngitis, a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract, which endangered her life. An intense soreness in her throat made swallowing and talking difficult for her. However, when she recovered, she reverted to her habitual intake of junk foods, or what she referred to as “garbage food.”

In 2000, she suffered from pre-eclempsia before giving birth to her fourth son, and post-partum depression after giving birth. She was brought to Makati Medical Center in 2005 for proper evaluation and management of her disease. It was discovered that her creatinine level was above the normal.

She was diagnosed with Glomerulonephritis.

Her nephrologist advised her to undergo thrice-a-week dialysis treatments, but due to financial constraints, she had it only on a once-a- week routine. Due to lack of dialysis procedures, subjecting her to surgery became a high risk. Aside from this, a surgical procedure done with her malnourished physical state would be too risky since it might cause harm to her spinal cord. She was put on medical treatment instead. The medicinal drugs were very expensive and were not available in the country.

She suffered from depression owing to the rapid deformities in her appearance; nevertheless, knowing that succumbing to depression would only make her suffer more, she mustered all her courage to accept the realities of her unfortunate condition. She held on to God, and fought for her survival. She desired to continue living.


Geraldine said that “Life is not measured with what you have, rather with what you have done in your lifetime, especially for your family.” How true indeed.

Up until last month, she had worked as an accounting sssistant in a reputable banking institution.

She was offered early retirement due to her failing health condition. This meant that not only would she not be able to sustain her medical treatments anymore, provisions for the daily needs of her family as well as her the continued education of her children are likewise in jeopardy.

“I know I can never cling to money because I have none, I know I can never cling to destiny because it is fate, but I know I can cling to my Faith. God is there.” This is how Geraldine ends her letter which can be found on her site:

Whilst it is true that only God can move mountains, only our faith and prayers can move God.

God has provided me with many blessings beyond my imagination. God has consistently touched the hearts of people to touch my own. In my own small way, I can help Geraldine by sharing the story of her faith, her courage, and her will to live – for her family.

Geraldine has given me further inspiration. She has given me further strength. And most important of all, she has further rooted my Faith in God.

Regardless of her physical appearance, Geraldine Javier Oliva is, and will always be, beautiful in my eyes.

Visit to get inspired with her amazing courage. Anyone who wishes to offer financial assistance for Geraldine, donations may be deposited at: Banco de Oro - Balayan, Batangas Branch Account Name: Geraldine J. Oliva Account Number: 5890-12991-1

Rest In Peace Geraldine Javier Oliva

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