Here is a copy of my speech w/v my mom read during the event on April 28, 2012 at Malen's - Noveleta, Cavite..
"Good evening everyone! Thank you. Thank you Isshin Dream Publishing and the very determined Ms. Josephine Litonjua for organizing this event, thank you Malen's Restaurant for accommodating us and most especially, thank you everyone for coming and making Ms. Jho's birthday wish come true – and mine too.
In 2007, I thought of celebrating my birthday in the hospital with the help from my family and friends, we made it; our first year was a success. We are not really financially able but like Ms. Jho, I always believed that nothing is impossible; as long as we are determined to make it happen, it will happen no matter what.
Ever since I was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis Type 2 or NF2 in 2004, blessings kept pouring on me in the form of friends, love ones and even strangers from all walks of life, and I wanted to share all these blessings with the sick children who are in hospital beds. Sharing doesn’t really have price tags and the event does not need to be grand. What matters most is to share our hearts and make those patients happy. I wanted to make them smile even with the hardships they are going through. And so that was the start of the annual MAY Birthday Project: a gift-giving event at PGH.
I also was confined in the hospital bed for several times and even stayed for 2 long months and I I know how it feels - it is soooo boring. And I can empathically say that I truly understand what they are going through. I always tell them that while there’s life, there’s always hope. I would share with them the strength and the will to move on which God has given me.
It is so rewarding to see those blank and sad faces of the patients and caregivers with a bright and happy face after every gift-giving event. I promised myself that as long as I am celebrating my birthday, MAY Birthday Project will continue.
When Ms. Jho learned about my upcoming birthday gift-giving, she excitedly told me that she is going to make my birthday wish as her birthday wish too by doing a fund-raising event and make both our birthday wishes come true. When she told me about this, I was kind of doubtful since it’s already a little over a month before the actual gift-giving event. But I changed my mind when Ms. Jho was so determined to push through with this and told me that she doesn’t believe in impossible, until everything came into place and we are all gathered here now, again my never ending thank you to everyone here.
Ever since I knew about Ms. Jho’s main intention for putting up Isshin Dream Publishing and it’s goal for the Filipino book readers, I instantly became one of Isshin Dream Publishing’s supporter.
Actually, I am not really fond of reading books then. I feel lazy sometimes to grab a book and read it, but I yet there are some booked that hooked me. My attitude towards reading books changed when my hearing was slowly deteriorating. I would often find myself reading anything; even children’s books. I felt that I don’t need to use my ears when reading anyway. Just like what Ms. Jho said during my interview with her that by reading, I can choose which books to read and I can read books that will make me feel like I belong to different and happier world. Don’t get me wrong, I love my life as it is and reading book makes it more fun.
There was a time when I was so engrossed in reading autobiography books and told myself that someday I will also write mine; although I don’t know what, how and why would I, I just find it cool, awesome and nice all at the same time. Back in 2007, when a couple of friends kept on telling me that I should write about a book of my about my life, I said, “Why not?” and I started writing a draft until about 1/8 of my life story; then blame my laziness for not finishing it. In 2010, I started to write my weekly columns in the Students and Campuses Section of the Manila Bulletin. It has been one of my finest blessings. Through writing, I have been able to reach out to many people, sharing my life, the causes and advocacies that I support, sharing the lives of people with sicknesses and disabilities just like me, and many other topics that talk about life and people, hoping to encourage the youth readers that everything happens for a reason and that no matter what reason that is, we can make our lives better under any circumstance and physical disabilities, if we only look at them with acceptance and positivity. With all the assistance and blessings that I have been receiving, it is but right that I continue using my God-given talents. I am serving my purpose in life, and that is to share my story and to inspire people and to let people know that there is a merciful and compassionate God who never abandons the suffering and the needy.
I love Isshin Dream’s tagline: Touching stories. Moving hearts. Changing Lives. – Because I believe that it is also what I am currently doing by sharing my story and my life.
I may not excel in anything, but I have achieved a lot. I am able to touch lives. I am able to share my talents. I am able to bring joy to people’s hearts. That after seeing my condition and hearing about my story, they would tell themselves, if Kcat can despite her multiple disabilities, I can too because I can still hear, see clearly and walk all by myself. Yes, always put in mind that you are all still luckier than I am, and I'm happy despite of it all. And the most importantly, I know how to live with gratitude, contentment, happiness and courage in the face of many struggles and challenges. I am disabled, but with my FAITH, I am surely, definitely and undoubtedly able because I AM KCAT, and I CAN!"
Thank to everyone who supported us! ☺