The journey that children with cancer take can be a turbulent one. At a tender age, their lives – and those in their immediate family – are rocked by a diagnosis that requires them to undergo intensive medical treatment to eradicate unwanted cancer cells. The battle takes its toll on their young bodies as they struggle to survive. Every breath they take becomes a blessing.
Despite their illness, children with cancer have aspirations too. Their big dreams of a future free from illness and pain are like gems of hope that shine from their hearts.
For young and beautiful Kate Len Maniscan, a cancer survivor from Valencia, Carcar City, her fondest dream is to fly.
Nobody really expected Kate Len, then an active five-year-old girl, to be diagnosed with a dreaded disease. However, her vivacity was brought to a halt when she manifested unusual symptoms such as recurring fever, paleness, and joint pains. Her parents immediately sought medical care and a hematologist-oncologist prescribed a series of laboratory tests including bone marrow aspiration for their child. The results revealed her parent’s worst fears. She had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).
ALL is a cancer of the blood in which the bone marrow produces too many immature lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. Children are commonly affected by this disease. But with prompt and thorough chemotherapy treatment, the chance for survival is high.
“The intense pain of constant injections terrified me,” Kate Len recalled her early treatments. Children with cancer are subjected to countless laboratory procedures and multiple medications as they undergo rigorous treatment.
Adding to the critical nature of Kate Len’s disease was the psychological and financial burden to her parents. “It all happened so fast. It was like a big blow to my chest and my heart was heavy with despair. There were many questions in my mind. Is this the end of my child? How can we support her?,” her mother described.
My goal is to finish my studies and be a flight stewardess someday. Because my utmost desire is to fly and to visit different places in the world.
KATE LEN MANISCAN
Cancer survivor from Valencia, Carcar City
Not long after that, Kate Len’s case was referred to Kapwa Ko, Mahal Ko Foundation Inc. – Cebu (KKMK-Cebu). She became one of the children cared for by the “Pangga-a Sab Ko” program of the Foundation. The program provides for the medical and psycho-social needs of children with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). Since its inception in 1995, the program has nurtured back to health over 120 cancer survivors and currently supports more children who are still undergoing chemotherapy. Many of the early survivors were able to continue and finish their studies. Some are pursuing careers and starting their own families.
“I never regretted my decision to seek for help at KKMK-Cebu. The Foundation cared for us from the start up to the present; its support was unwavering,” her mother remarked.
“While I was on chemotherapy, my only wish was that I would survive and receive lots of toys as gifts,” Kate Len said. Even with the rigors of chemotherapy pressing on her, Kate Len found happiness in the program’s psycho-social activities which she spent with other children in the program and their respective parents and guardians.
“I am always excited whenever I attend the parties organized by Kapwa Cebu because of the many gifts that I usually receive during those occasions,” Kate Len declared. “Those were moments of pure fun for me,” she added. “Additionally, the Foundation also lightened our financial burden because they provided us with medicines and assistance to pay our hospital bills. They cared for us holistically like a family,” her mother said further. Added to that, Kapwa also introduced them to a good Samaritan who took care of their transportation expenses for Kate Len’s monthly chemotherapy sessions and check- ups.
Just recently, Kate Len exited her chemotherapy on October 15, 2021 after three years of treatment. She is cancer-free now. Her parents attribute this to God’s unfailing providence and the support of the Pangga-a Sab Ko program. “Yes, I endured lots of pain and it made me strong. I became prayerful too,” Kate Len said. “The joy of seeing my daughter achieve complete healing is overwhelming. My prayers and longings are really answered,” her mother added.
Now eight years-old, Kate Len pushes on in reaching for her dreams. She is now a grade 3 pupil at Valencia Elementary School in Carcar City. “My goal is to finish my studies and be a flight stewardess someday,” she said. “Because my utmost desire is to fly and to visit different places in the world,” she added.
Kapwa Ko, Mahal Ko Foundation Inc. – Cebu celebrates its 29th year of service on November 29, 2021. For almost three decades, the Foundation continues to do its share in developing a healthy community.
With profound gratitude, KKMK-Cebu wants to thank its family of benefactors, donors, partners, volunteers, and members for their significant contributions in helping the Foundation spread and sustain its work. The Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI), Alpa Foundation Inc., JEG Development Corporation, SM City Cebu, International Pharmaceuticals Inc., Simon Enterprises Inc., RGMA Network Inc., Chateau de Busay, and the City Government of Cebu are the notable institutions that propel Kapwa Ko, Mahal Ko to consistently fulfill its objectives for the community that it serves. Truly, they have exemplified unfaltering support and boundless generosity. To all of them, KKMK-Cebu says, “Daghang salamat sa inyong padayon nga pagpangga!”
Thus, as we continue to spread our noble work, we earnestly behoove everyone to join the fight against childhood cancer. More than ever, these dear children are leaning on your kindness and benevolence because cancer can’t wait. During these uncertain times, a donation of any amount will immensely benefit the patients in their quest towards being cancer-free.
Be a part of the community helping end childhood cancer. HELP A CHILD TODAY!
Those who wish to extend help may contact Kapwa Ko, Mahal Ko Foundation Inc. – Cebu through these cellphone numbers: 0945-712-6657 or 0932-443-7135. You can also deposit donations directly to Unionbank under account name: Kapwa Ko, Mahal Ko Foundation Inc. – Cebu and account number: 00-112-000066-2. Thank you very much.