Monday, October 10, 2011

KCAT CAN: Brave little people

Brave little people
by Maria Kathrina Lopez Yarza 
October 10, 2011

Someone once complained, “Why do people say that a sick child is fighting for survival when that child is so innocent and has no idea of what is happening?”

I believe the answer is found in the same question.

Even though these children are sick, they have no idea of what is going on. All they feel is pain which they desperately to get rid of. But one of the mysterious and amazing things is that adults, especially doctors, attest to these children’s will and determination to survive. That’s bravery right there.

I realize that I have been a brave person ever since I can remember, from babyhood in fact. I was in zero respiration when I was born, and needed to stay inside the incubator for a few days till I was able to breathe normally.

When I was a year old, the boiling water that accidentally scathed my whole body left me in a cast. But I was back to being a playful baby when the scars were all dried up.

I was a child who was prone to accidents. I kept bumping my head. I fell off stairs. I was hospitalized due to dengue fever, typhoid fever, and finally Neurofibromatosis Type 2, a lifetime ill-health condition.

A lot of people tell me that I am so strong and brave. Yes, I am! I know I am because of my strong faith. Though I may have wondered how and when did I start becoming this strong, now I know the answers.


Dennis and Maritess Salazar were blessed with their fourth child on January 8, 2010. They named him Mark Angelo. At seven months, Mark was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia, a rare, congenital and life-threatening disease that damages the liver of newborns. Mark was confined in the hospital due to complications of his congenital disease.

The common cough and colds progressed to pneumonia. He suffered from measles, diarrhea, sepsis, and other different infections. His parents were advised by Dra. Gregorio of UP-PGH Gastroenterology that Mark needs to have liver transplant as soon as possible.

Amid all this, his parents, friends and doctors saw Mark’s bravery and will to live. After crying from all to the pain caused by his disease, Mark is back to being an active child. If it were not for his yellowish skin caused by his disease, no one could tell that this very active child was sick.

The pediatric liver transplant will be done at Chang Gung Hospital in Kaohsiung in Taiwan with a 97% survival rate, and it would cost approximately P3 to 4 million. Mark can get the liver from his mother up to a second cousin. In the transplant procedure, his mother would be the liver donor. The only problem is, they won’t be able to afford it, but still, they never gave up hope.

Maritess and Dennis decided to leave their respective jobs in order to dedicate their full time for Mark. Maritess devoted her time in taking care of Mark and attending to all his needs, while Dennis does all that he can in order to come up with the money they need for Mark’s needed surgery, including his regular medical needs.

Mark personally seeks help from almost all sources that he can think of, like government officials, government agencies, and private companies.

They have also appealed to the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), and were granted with Php1M financial assistance; but it will not be enough to cover the transplant and monthly medical maintenance like check-ups, blood tests and medicines.

In order to raise money, they have done fund-raising campaigns through raffles and t-shirt sales. Their latest shirt design was made by an artist who volunteered to help. He came up with a design upon learning of Mark’s condition.

We can all support this cause, and proudly wear a shirt that says, “I have saved a child’s life.” You may contact Dennis Salazar at 09083664383 or 09212955657, or email him at for inquiries and donations.

When I asked Dennis how Mark is doing, Dennis shares, “Sa ngayon ay hindi mo mapapansin ang kanyang mga pinagdaanan, napakasigla niyang bata at napakaaktibo sa paglalaro.

Maganda ang mga resulta ng kanyang buwanang lab tests, na labis naming ikinatutuwa at ng kanyang doktor. Pinapakita lamang po nito na sa kabila ng kanyang malubhang karamdaman ay patuloy siyang lumalaban.”

There are many a different ways of interpreting and manifesting bravery. For a sick child like Mark, and for other gravely-ill children out there, for them to be able to take in all the physical pains and illnesses, bravery manifests itself in their fight for survival, in their fight to be rightfully given the God-given privilege to live and to continue existing and living.

Children who are ill, in their innocence and plight, teach adults many lessons, and one of those lessons is that ‘Life must go on. Face it. Live it. Enjoy it. Despite all the odds.’ That is bravery, in the eyes of a sick child.

* * *

I have a favor for you my readers; please include my friend, Tita Meldy Baldovino, in your prayers. She has cancer of the breast and is currently undergoing chemotherapy sessions. I always believe that prayers move mountains and that God is bigger than any illness or disaster.

Please support this page on Facebook:
Let's help baby Mark get his liver transplant

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