Graduating from childhood cancer: Stories of courage, hope and success

By: - September 23, 2022

As the world celebrates Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and Blood Cancer Awareness Month this September, it is but fitting to highlight stories of children who fought the “Big C” and came out victorious over the dreaded disease to lead lives unchained from its deleterious effects.

When children are diagnosed with cancer, it brings a lot of pain to their lives and to those who care for them. They become stressed and anxious. Their perceptions about themselves, their families, and the world around them may change. Depending on the child’s age, the type of cancer, and how severe it is, doctors use appropriate treatment modalities to help the kids get the best care possible. Because of the advances of medicine, children with cancer may respond well to treatment and get better.

Christine Jane Doblas’ childhood photo while fighting cancer. | Contributed Photo

One such cancer survivor is 22 year-old Christine Jane Doblas of Inabanga, Bohol. She was barely four years-old when she manifested symptoms of a disease. She developed bruises on her skin and her joint pains were severe that it made her unable to walk. She underwent a series of diagnostic tests to determine the cause of her condition. A pediatric hematologist-oncologist performed a bone marrow aspiration test and the results showed that she had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).

ALL is a type of cancer of the blood in which the bone marrow produces too many immature lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. This abnormal proliferation crowds out healthy red blood cells and platelets. Despite its serious nature, the chances for survival are high among children who undergo prompt and complete chemotherapy treatment.

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.

Recalling her physical and emotional ordeal, Jane reveals wrestling with her fears and worries. “I noticed that I became different from the other children who were full of energy in contrast to my waning strength. My schoolmates also teased me because I was sickly and bald. I was afraid to socialize with them,” she said.

“I dreaded each time that I went to the hospital for treatment,” she revealed.

Christine Jane Doblas on her graduation day. | Contributed Photo

As prescribed, Jane had to undergo chemotherapy for at least three years. Her cancer diagnosis brought tremendous financial burden to her parents due to the sky-high expenses of her lengthy treatment. “Thankfully, the parents of my fellow cancer fighters informed us to seek help from charitable organizations,” she said. 

The anxiety and distress of Jane’s parents were relieved when her case was referred to Kapwa Ko, Mahal Ko Foundation Inc. – Cebu.  Jane became part of the “Pangga-a Sab Ko” program of the Foundation. The program cares holistically for the children afflicted with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) by providing for their medical and psychosocial needs. Since 1995, it has helped nurture back to health close to 130 cancer survivors and currently supports more children who are undergoing chemotherapy.

“Kapwa Ko, Mahal Ko never left me behind. They provided what I needed during that crucial time, my medications and emotional support. I was motivated to endure because I knew that the Foundation was with me, holding my hand every step of the way,” Jane recalled.

Regardless of her challenges while on treatment, Jane managed to bring out life’s bright moments when the opportunities came and had fun. She never missed “A Day Away from Chemotherapy,” a psychosocial activity organized by the Foundation that gave the children and their parents the chance to mingle, play, laugh, and receive gifts.

“Every party that Kapwa Ko, Mahal Ko had set up was very memorable to me. More than the gifts I received, it was very inspiring for me to meet with the other children who were already survivors. Truly, those times were unforgettable and uplifting,” Jane said.

Going through the rigors of medical treatment became very tedious for Jane.

“During that time, my only wish was to survive and experience complete healing. I grew tired of constant check-ups and countless medications to take,” she said. 

Eventually, Jane exited her chemotherapy in April 2008 after three years of treatment. And for the past 14 years, Jane has been living life beyond cancer. Together with her family, they give full credit to God’s sustaining grace and the support of Kapwa’s “Pangga-a Sab Ko” program.

“I offer my deepest thanks to Kapwa Ko, Mahal Ko and to all its benefactors and donors. You have helped me survive cancer and propelled me to finish my studies. The second life that I have now is a testament to your goodness and generosity,” Jane said.

Now 22 years-old, Jane graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration major in Marketing Management degree at Cebu Technological University – Main Campus on Aug. 18, 2022. At last, her hard work had paid off!

While undergoing her treatment, Jane became the face of Kapwa’s donation boxes, a fund drive to fuel and sustain the Foundation’s programs. Today, she becomes the face of beauty, resilience, and hope. Battling cancer at an early age did not stop her from dreaming and aiming for better things to come.

“My ultimate ambition in life is to be a successful businesswoman. I would love to grow and manage my own business so that I can give back to my family and help other children with cancer,” she said.

This September, Kapwa Ko, Mahal Ko Foundation Inc. – Cebu joins the world in celebrating Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and Blood Cancer Awareness Month with a goal to increase consciousness and raise funds for those affected by these terrible diseases.

According to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a leading hospital in Memphis, Tennessee that treats childhood cancer, there are about 400,000 children and adolescents worldwide who are diagnosed with cancer each year.

In the Philippines, over 4,700 children (aged 0 to 19 years) are expected to be diagnosed with cancer each year with leukemia accounting for approximately 49 percent of childhood cancers based on an article published online by the World Health Organization dated Feb. 17, 2021. 

Indeed, children with cancer needs our collaborative help not only for them to survive but to thrive as they move forward with their lives. They need us to hold their hands and support them in their quest for a life beyond cancer.

You can be a part of the community helping end childhood cancer. HELP A CHILD TODAY! We will not stop until no child dies from cancer.

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 the account name Kapwa Ko, Mahal Ko Foundation Inc. – Cebu and account number 00-112-000066-2. Please indicate the name of the patient on the deposit slip. Thank you very much.

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