Cancer is Not a Death Sentence

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Hi, I’m Katherine Santiago-Orquiza, but most people know me as Kaye.

I am starting this fund raiser in hopes of gathering financial support to start and continue my fight against one of the most dreaded diseases -- CANCER.

October 12, 1992: it was the day when my Dad’s brother, Junior Santiago, died due to lymphoma. My dad being the eldest who provides everything for their family back in the day until now, it was a painful and traumatic for him to witness the medication journey of his brother.

December 7, 2017: it was when my dad’s father, Tatang Bening, also died due to prostate cancer. Which explains his fear of injections and being inside hospitals. And now, it breaks my heart to see him go through the same pain. This time around, it’s his own child. His child who isn’t just a daughter anymore. She is now a wife and a mother to two wonderful kids (a 3 year old girl and a 1 year old boy).

October 2020 was when I began experiencing symptoms; which consisted of constant chest pain, difficulty breathing, and becoming easily exhausted just by talking. I immediately went into laboratories to get an explanation as to why I was feeling like this. I knew that something wasn’t right with my body, but at the time I thought it might have been covid.

Then things started to unfold…

October 21, 2020: Day 1, we visited a Cardiologist to keep updated with the lab results. He advised us to do a CT Scan as soon as possible. Fortunately for us, we were able to get it done the same day.

October 22, 2020: Day 2, the CT Scan result was sent back to the cardiologist and he immediately advised us to go see Dr. Noel Chua, a Medical Oncologist.

My first thought that came to my mind at the time was,

“I might have cancer.”

“I’m too young to die, my children are too young for me to leave them.” 😭

October 24, 2020: Day 4, we were given an appointment with Dr. Chua and he explained the results thoroughly including the risk factors.

I was told that I have two big tumours, which he believes are the aggressive type. Meaning they can possibly grow and spread quickly. The right tumour measures 9.0x8.1x6.0cm (CCxWxAP), equivalent to the size of a mango compressing on the superior vena cava. Which explains how I get tired so easily and makes it hard for me to breath. The left tumour measures 6.9x4.6x7.1cm (CCxWxAP), equivalent to the size of santol which is affecting the aortic arch and main pulmonary trunk.

To get more information on what kind of tumours they were; whether they are malignant or benign, a CT Guided Core Needle Biopsy was needed.

October 26, 2020: Day 6, the core needle biopsy was done! But the wait period for the biopsy results was long. My doctors were worried about the progression of the tumours that they might begin to expand more and can lead to death.

Dr. Noel Chua, Medical Oncologist and Dr. Josephus Sibal, Cardiologist; made the decision for me to undergo radiation therapy even without the biopsy result to help me breath normally, hoping and praying that it would shrink the tumours.

November 4, 2020: I started radiation therapy with a maximum dose.

November 16, 2020: with continuous follow ups, they finally released the biopsy result.

It was BENIGN! How great it was to hear that right? But unfortunately, my doctors doubted the result. Having two big tumours with no malignant cells didn’t seem right to them.

And then, problems started to grow.

Problem #1: if it’s really benign, open heart surgery would have to take place due to the tumours being very close to my heart. Complications are there would be unintentional cuts or damage on important nerves that may lead to death or heart transplant.

Problem #2: who would be brave enough to be the surgeon to cut my chest open and remove the 2 tumours without any complications?

What a rollercoaster journey isn’t it? It is considered a very rare case which needs a lot of urgency since the day it started. What scares us the most is one day I may no longer be breathing because of it. 💔 Therefore, time is really gold.

November 27, 2020: trying to obtain more help we found a Thoracic Surgeon to check my case. He was willing to do the operation but we needed to put in more effort to get a 2nd and 3rd opinion regarding my first biopsy. If the tumours were found to be completely benign, then surgery would be the option. But if we found out that malignant cells were present, and it would fall under lymphoma, surgery wouldn’t be needed. Lymphoma is non-operable. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy would only be the options to shrink the tumours. The following day, we handed over my specimen to another hospital for re-reading.

While waiting for the second biopsy result, I was taking my radiation therapy as my rescue treatment in hopes that it will help decrease the size of the tumours. And side effects started to kick in, but I never gave up.

Dec 7, 2020: second biopsy result was released. They found round cell neoplasm, and as per Dr. Chua the result now is malignant but needed further tests to show what kind of malignant cells it was.

“MALIGNANT? I really have a cancer!” 😭💔

“Lord, why me? Why in all the positions the tumours could have been, why above my heart? Why? Why?”

But life must go on. As long as I’m breathing, I’ll fight and be stronger for my kids and family!

January 3, 2021: we finally got the final biopsy result. At the age of 30, I was diagnosed with Primary Mediastinal Thymic Large B-Cell Lymphoma Stage 3B, aggressive type.

After receiving the results, we immediately started my chemotherapy. Chemotherapy medications, one targeted Rituximab and CHOP (cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone), cost Php97,000.00 per session and Php5,000.00 worth of vitamins. With the help of our friends, my family and hardworking husband, we were able to finish 6 sessions of chemo and 30 sessions of radiation therapy.

Unfortunately, the tumours did not respond well. In results, they showed only a minimal decrease in size. 💔

Today, May 20, 2021, my tumours still remain and if I refuse to do chemotherapy, they will begin to expand and start to compress my nerves. Due to this, it will take long medications for them to fall off. Radiation therapy is not an option because the Radio-oncologist already gave the maximum dose for Lymphoma and if we decided to go through it again, there will be a possibilities of severe side effects.

The choice we have now is to continue chemotherapy but with different regimen. The new chemo medication, Gem-ox (Gemcitabine ,Oxaliplatin) and one targeted Rituximab, cost around Php130,000.00 per session in accordance to my medical oncologist. My chemotherapy will not stop until the tumours are gone…This kind of treatment is now too expensive for us and our funds are beginning to shrink.

I am humbly asking for your help to support my medications in hopes of living a longer life and spending more time with my loved ones, especially with my little ones. Any amount of donation will go a long, long way.

For those who already sent their donations on my first fight, my family and I are very blessed and thankful. We can only hope that you won’t stop helping us until my journey with cancer comes to an end.

In return, I promise to stay stronger and to grow stronger everyday. To fight as much as I can even if it weakens my body. #LabanKaye

“Cancer is not a death sentence. Cancer is a life changer, a life enhancer that made me resolve to become a better person” - Fr. Jerry Orbos

Again, thank YOU! Yes, you. Who has spared some time to read and know my story.

God Bless and Stay Safe.

PS. If you have donated, please send me a personal message so that I can thank you personally. 💛

P.P.S. You can also send your donations via

BPI Account Number : 3310010161

BDO Account Number : 004800314057, or Gcash. Please contact me via FB or IG or my mobile number +63-917-8334150 anytime for any inquires.

Maraming salamat po!

Thank you very much!



  • Anonymous
  • Donated on Jan 12, 2022
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  • Anonymous
  • Donated on Oct 21, 2021
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  • Maria Elaiza Domdom
  • Donated on Jul 15, 2021
  • Sending my hugs to you ate kaye 😘


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Donors & Comments

48 donors
  • Anonymous
  • Donated on Jan 12, 2022
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  • Anonymous
  • Donated on Oct 21, 2021
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  • Maria Elaiza Domdom
  • Donated on Jul 15, 2021
  • Sending my hugs to you ate kaye 😘

  • Mo M
  • Donated on Jun 26, 2021
  • Maria Domdom
  • Donated on Jun 20, 2021
  • Anonymous
  • Donated on Jun 17, 2021
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  • Anonymous
  • Donated on Jun 13, 2021
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  • Anonymous
  • Donated on Jun 09, 2021
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  • Milet
  • Donated on Jun 07, 2021
  • Stay strong kaye!! prayers 🙏☝🏻

  • Anonymous
  • Donated on May 29, 2021
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Sarah Silva
Mo M
Reina Kurokawa
Laiza Domdom
Mikko Mallari
Janet Jingco
Francis Gabriel Fernandez
Maria Delmar Santiago
Charlie Calderon
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raised of ₱1,000,000.00 goal
20% Funded
48 Donors

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