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Rotary Club of Cebu: Prolonging lives, extending hope

By: Rabboni Centino Borbon June 28,2017 - 11:17 PM

RUN FOR THE GIFT OF LIFE/JUNE 28, 2017: Officers and members of the Rotary Club of Cebu headed by their new president Bing Martinez (seated 2nd from left) and Bernard Cia (seated 2nd from right) Rotary Club of Cebu foundation, out going president post with one of their beneficiary Edeson Villarias (4th from left back row) his wife Mary Apple and child Zyna Nicole post with the official singlets for the “Run for the gift of life” after the press conference in Casino Español.(CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

Junior high school teacher Edeson Villarias, his wife Apple and their two-year-old child Zyna Nicole were living a blissful, albeit modest life in Talisay City.

But the couple’s world crumbled when they learned that their little angel was suffering from a serious heart condition called Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD), a congenital heart disease that needs an open heart surgery to cure.

Although both employed, spending for their daughter’s operation, which could run up to hundreds of thousands of pesos, is simply beyond the financial capacity of the embattled couple.

And time is running out on them, most especially their daughter. Even their friends and relatives have already given up hope, said Villarias.

Hope is also slowly drifting away from the frustrated father.

Until the Rotary Club of Cebu came and helped them out by coming up with charity run dubbed Rotary Club of Cebu’s Run for the Gift of Life last May at the Robinson’s Galleria Cebu.

The Rotary Club of Cebu donated all the proceeds of the race -which featured 3-kilometer, 8k and 16k races- for the operation of Zyna Nicole at the Philippine Heart Center in Manila.

“Although halos tanan nag-ingon nga wa nay paglaom (for Zyna) pero kami naglaom lang gihapon,” Edeson, struggling to hold back tears, said. “Pero heart-warming kaayo nga naay mga tawo nga pareha ninyo nga mitabang.”

Last May’s run drew over two thousand runners with Joel Juarez as race director.
Now an annual event
In a press conference yesterday at the Casino Español in Cebu City, the Rotary Club decided on the spot to make their charity races an annual undertaking to help more people like Edeson.

“It’s too important to not to hold these events annually,” Rotary Club of Cebu President Bing Martinez told reporters, “It’s very difficult to say ‘No’ when there’s a great need for us to help people like them.”

Aside from the Run for the Gift of Life, the Rotary Club of Cebu is also behind the Rotary Corporate Triathlon held last June 11 at Mactan Newtown. The charity event was graced by 345 triathletes in another effort to help kids with congenitial heart diseases.

“Although employed mi, we knew nga we cannot fund her operation,” an emotional Edeson said. He revealed that he even sought out heart survivors on Facebook in a desperate move to find help. By luck of chance, he was able to e-mail the Rotary Club of Cebu.

Currently, baby Zyna has gained weight from 8.5 to 9.8 kilos since her operation last June 2 and is looking more vibrant and happy as kids her age should be.

This October, Zyna will be celebrating her third birthday.

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TAGS: club, hope, lives, of, rotary

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