Couple Jocelyn and Roque Laigo can’t really explain how they coped with her medical condition for over two years now.
Except, perhaps, their faith in each other, their instinct, and will to protect and guide the growth of their three young children.
Jocelyn, 32, and a native of Banaue, Ifugao, can’t fully work since she was diagnosed for total kidney failure in March 2010. Before that, she was an overseas worker but had to come home with almost nothing, when her employer fled to Australia when war erupted in Lebanon where she was stationed.
“Her husband is employed as a utility/driver of the municipality of Burgos, La Union but on a contract of service basis, earning P4,400 a month,” wrote social worker Kathleen Caluza-Olivas of the town’s Social Welfare and Development Office.
Without deductions, Roque’s wage is equal to the cost of two hemodialysis treatment sessions for his wife at the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center. Jocelyn is on the Wednesday and Saturday treatment schedule, which means she has to have eight sessions a month.
“Can you help us make an appeal for help?” Roque asked the media the other week. He presented a handwritten note from Jocelyn authorizing the publication of her case, including “my personal life so that readers may know about my store and they could help me.”
Roque was then on his way to the National Mental Hospital in Mandaluyong, to deliver a patient who was found in Burgos but whose relatives could not be contacted despite efforts.
Along the way, the 37-year old ambulance driver considered he and his wife were luckier than the patient. They have each other, and three precious kids – son Jean Louis, 10 and in the fifth grade; daughter Precious Jane, 4 and in day care, and son Joffer Clyde, 3.
The kids are their three reasons for airing their appeal to sustain Jocelyn’s twice-a-week dialysis sessions she needs to survive.
The social workers said in her report that Jocelyn was advised to undergo kidney transplant but she could not due to the unavailability of an organ donor.
Even if she could find one compatible in the tissue matching, she would be at a loss on where and how to raise P1.5 million for the implantation procedure and the cost of healing, most especially the prevention of rejection of the organ implant and maintenance.
“In spite of PhilHealth benefits, having a member of the family with such illness is draining, and coping with her succeeding dialysis session is no longer possible,” wrote Olivas.
That’s why the couple issued the appeal for help, as did other kidney patients earlier.
Samaritans out there can ring up Jocelyn’s cell phone number 0929-765-4213. Travelers passing by Burgos can stop at Barangay Bilis and ask for directions to her home.
Meanwhile, at least two gentle souls who read of the appeal of kidney patients Madelien Ranille and Linbeth Lestino responded last week.
“I met Engr. Leonard Lecanio at the rooftop of the Porta Vaga (here in Baguio) and he handed me P2,000 for my treatment,” said Ranille, 40 and an Ibaloi mother from Atok, Benguet. “Linbeth couldn’t come as it was her schedule for treatment at the Benguet Renal Center,” she added.
Last Wednesday, she texted this writer that somebody who didn’t give his or her name sent her P5,000 through Cebuana Lhuiller in Km. 5, La Trinidad, Benguet.
Madeline’s number is 0910-978-1449 while Linbeth’s is 0919-857-5207. Donors may also deposit their support at the Benguet Renal Center inside the Benguet General Hospital in La Trinidad where the two patients have their dialysis sessions.