However they try, two seriously ill patients could no longer cope with the all too glaring mismatch between income and medical insurance on one hand and the costs of battling serious illness on the other.
So 42-year old Elenita Soriano, diagnosed for cancer last April, and 52-year old Manuel Boaging, suffering from total kidney failure since last year, asked through relatives that their cases be written about, so Samaritans out there would know and respond.
Writing about their afflictions can be intrusive, as it means delving into their personal circumstances. Still, they know these have to be told for Samaritans to be able to relate to them.
Soriano, a solo parent of four and a teacher at the Rizal Elementary School here, is afflicted with thyroid cancer that has already affected her pelvic bone. She is into a 30-day radiotherapy session in Dagupan City as such treatment is not available in Baguio. The medical certificate issued last May also recommended complete thyroidectomy (surgical removal of the thyroid gland) and radioactive iodine ablation (dose of radioactive iodine).
She has been singlehandedly raising her four kids since in 2008 when her husband left home. That was after she filed a case of domestic violence against him.
To support her kids, she applied for loans. Additional loans to cover the costs of her medical diagnosis and treatment further whittled down her net pay to P6,000 a month.
Five thousand pesos now go to house rental, food, and medication while she goes for her daily radiotherapy session. With the cobalt radiation facility at the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center out of order for years now, local patients needing the therapy have to go as far down to Pampanga and Metro Manila.
Elenita’s two eldest daughters now have families of their own. Jereal, her third, is a third year college academic scholar while son Jonathan, 16, is in third year high school.
Boaging, father to three children and native of Bauko, Mountain Province, had been exposed to hard labor since he quit school in third year high due to financial limitations. In March last year, he quit as jeepney driver due to his ailment.
That leaves his wife, Maria Corazon Saturnina, also of Bauko and Cervantes, Ilocos Sur, as the sole breadwinner. Her income as an English and Filipino teacher at the Quezon Hill Elementary School is supposed to be P27,000 a month but has been reduced to P3,000 due to loans she acquired to sustain her husband’s treatment.
In the evening of June 20, she and two others with relatives also undergoing dialysis treatment took the bus for Quezon City. They could not be accommodated in a van dispatched by the City Social Welfare and Development office, also for the purpose.
Before dawn, all 13 from Baguio were at the daily queue of hundreds of the needy from all over seeking support from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. At day’s end, the 13 were on their way back to Baguio, relief etched on their faces.
Each tucked a PCSO-issued guarantee letter notifying the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center to charge to the lottery office P17,600 worth of dialysis sessions for their relatives. Two patients – Amor Orpilla, 31, and Mary Grace Binay-an, 23 – clutched guarantee letters for P20,000 each.
The fund guarantee letter Maria Corazon obtained will cover her husband Manuel’s treatment until the middle of July. It gave her family temporary respite from the daily pressure of figuring out how to fund the next dialysis session that comes every Wednesday and Saturday.
For teacher Elenita, there’s no time to take the PCSO queue and wait for processing of fund support as her condition continues to deteriorate. Aware of this, her fellow teachers had contributed to her fight. With nowhere to go, she appealed for support from Samaritans out there.
Donors may ring up Manuel or his wife at cell phone number 0918-526-0813 or visit him at 70 Purok 25, Upper San Carlos Heights, Irisan, Baguio City.
They may call Elenita’s daughter, Jereal, at 0908-652-2508.