Monday, February 3, 2014

KCAT CAN: An infant’s struggle to live

Everything that I wrote were taken from "Hope for Coby" page as relayed by his Uncle Pau, Aunt Tracy and his dad, Emer. I don't know Coby or anyone related to him but it doesn't I won't help him; not financially, but with the best that I can. After I finished writing, I learned that God is alive and working on Coby because he's been touching a lot of lives, including mine.

An infant’s struggle to live

Pope Francis recently said, “The internet, in particular, offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity. This is something truly good, a gift from God.” After reading this quote, an update on the “Hope for Coby” page showed up on my Facebook timeline. It was like God telling me to share this little warrior’s story.

Last October 10, the Araos and Castillo families’ most awaited gift from God was born. Daddy Emer and Mommy Leah named him Craig Jacob or Coby. He has a powder-white complexion like his mom and is quiet like his dad. His unusual silence though was somewhat alarming so the doctors had to immediately check on him. They found out that he had jaundice (yellowing of the skin) and a low amount of blood sugar that if left untreated, would result to brain damage.

After two days, his mom was already given clearance to leave the hospital but Coby was not. He had to stay at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for further observation. His parents decided to stay within the hospital premises in order to be near their firstborn child.

Although the doctors provided formula milk for Coby’s nutritional needs, Mommy Leah still fed her baby with breastmilk. But Coby’s glucose levels were unstable and had dropped to 30 units, versus the normal 60 units. This caused much concern for the entire family, not knowing when he will get better. Together they prayed and asked for His healing. After eight days of unceasing prayers, Coby was finally able to go home.

But Coby’s yellowish skin and eyes returned after two months and he was rushed back to the Medical City’s pediatric ICU for further tests and observation. The next day, the family was called by the doctors for a medical briefing. This was followed by an emergency baptism that same afternoon. All the baptismal celebration plans that were scheduled for the next week were immediately cancelled.

Everyone in the family tried to remain hopeful that whatever ailment Coby had would be resolved soon. According to the doctor, Coby’s test results were “incompatible with life.” He was diagnosed with severe neonatal hepatitis, and went into liver failure rapidly. He was also tested positive for the cytomegalovirus (CMV) and other associated treatable causes have been ruled out. They all felt heartbroken and devastated. Knowing that Coby’s only chance for survival is a liver transplant gave them little hope. They all had big dreams for his future but the harsh and painful reality is that at a tender age of three months, Coby now bears this cross of life’s uncertainties.

“If it so happens that he has to journey through life with this cross, our family will bear this cross with him. We will let Coby know that as long as he wills himself to live, we will do what it takes for him to have a long, healthy, happy, and fulfilled life,” says Daddy Emer.


Right now, they only have one dream for Coby – a chance at life. They are willing to do everything to make this happen by nurturing him through constant and ongoing medical care, by standing united and supportive of each one’s efforts and initiatives, by reaching out to family and friends through the page "Hope for Coby" on Facebook, by fundraising for his liver transplant, and by praying.

Although he has an immediate need for a liver transplant, Coby can’t be operated yet until he turns one year old and becomes physically ready for a major operation that could last for 12 hours. The only viable approach is to provide supportive medication and nutritional care for Coby until he is ready for this critical surgery.

Studies show that survival rates for infants and children with liver failure are not significantly high unless medically advanced treatments are available. Due to the urgency of Coby’s needs, the family is seeking treatment outside the country where success rates for surgery on infants are more optimistic. But the combined immediate and long-term medical expenses, as well as the unforeseen associated life-long cost implications are greater than all of the families’ combined resources can handle.

Their families, friends and even strangers have been tirelessly conducting fund drives through big and small events like benefit concert, dinner, raffle, solicitation, selling merchandises, etc. The loving support that they are receiving and Coby’s fighting spirit keep the family going.

This is made possible also by Coby’s Facebook page, initially intended as a way to give updates about his health, but is now touching the minds and hearts of thousands of people.

“We are witnessing God’s love. God is with us. God is with Coby. The medical tests showed that his state is already incompatible with life but when you see Coby, you will see that he is full of life. What the doctors’ medical tests can’t measure is Coby’s spirit, his will to survive,” says Daddy Emer.

Coby came into this world as an answered prayer for the Araos and Castillo families. He is a blessing from God, and now a gift shared among many others in spite of this trial.

This February, there will be a couple of fundraising events, initiated by their friends and families. Among these are a benefit concert by artists and bands in Café Huh? in Ortigas, a “Teacher Yaya” workshop for moms and nannies, a Valentine’s Day benefit dinner at the Open Hand School for Applied Arts in Quezon City. For those who are outside the country, there is also an ongoing fund drive to raise $1,000 (P45,000) in two weeks. You can also buy a shirt with a COBYSTRONG logo for P250. Respond to Coby’s cry for help by visiting

His aunt Tracy says, “This infant, although much too young to be fighting for his life, has been teaching us not only what it means to be tough, but he has also brought us back to our faith in Christ. I have faith in the Lord’s capacity to heal him, and it will be in a manner that no one can deny that it was done by Him. One day when Coby reaches his mature age, he will give his testimony on how he was saved by God so that he can serve Him.”

Everything were taken from:
A Father's Message of Hope (Daddy Emer's spech during 'Songs for Cby' benefit concert)
Because I asked the Lord for him (by Coby's Aunt Tracy)
Dear Coby (by his Uncle Pau)

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