I am Michelle, a single mother to my 4 year old son named Elijah Calix. I used to work in a BPO where I started as a CSR and worked my way up as a Senior Quality Analyst. I can say that my career back then was starting to blossom and my hard work is paying off. Unfortunately, in March of 2017, I had to make a tough call. My precious son, who was just 2 yrs old turning 3 at that time, was diagnosed with Severe Aplastic Anemia. A rare disease in which the bone marrow and the stem cells that reside there are damaged. My son is my priority and I know I will not be able to take care of him if I am out of the house most of the time. And so, I decided to leave the company to find a home-based job that will allow me to provide for his needs especially his medical treatments and at the same time, take care of him.
When he was diagnosed, we were told that my son's bone marrow is only producing 5-10% of the blood cells his body needs. SAA affects his red blood cells, white blood cells and even his platelets and if left untreated, I may lose my one and only son. The thought of this is really heartbreaking, and as a mother, I will do everything I can to save his life. I got up on my feet, shrugged my emotions aside, talked to medical professionals and discussed how can we possibly cure him.
Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) is one of the potential cures to his condition. This will replace the unhealthy bone marrow with healthy blood-forming cells (stem cells) from a donor. This costs around 2 million pesos ($40,000). My son being sick is already too much to take, but thinking of how on earth will I find this huge amount of money the soonest time possible seemed like a “mission impossible” given my monthly income. Apart from those, he has to undergo Anti-Thymocyte Globulin (ATG) to reduce the chance of organ rejection after a bone marrow transplant and this costs another $10,000.
In May 2017, with the help of family and friends, we were able to gather funds so ATG and Cyclosphorine treatment was done. Unfortunately, this did not help him form the mother cells needed. His doctor suggested another round of ATG, costing 10,000 pesos ($200) per vial once a day for 7 days but it was discontinued as it caused him temporary blindness. With God's grace, after several hours of being in the ICU, he regained his sight. Since then, he has been getting blood transfusion of RBC and platelets weekly. His daily medications include Eltrombopag (once day and the cost is 1,500 pesos or $30 per dose), Cyclosphorine ( 6 capsules a day where 1 box costs 2000 pesos or $40). In a month, his medical expenses in total cost roughly around $3,500 which is shared between myself and his father.
It's been a year and a half since he was diagnosed. Sometimes I look back on how we are surviving and I can't thank God enough. It almost feels like a miracle how we get through each day. In spite of that, the reality still remains that my son needs treatment as soon as possible. We don't know how many more months can he take being hospitalized weekly. How many more injections can his young and fragile body take. How many more times does he have to cry begging to play with other kids but he just can't because he is susceptible to diseases.
With more research and advice from other medical professionals, we found out about a life-saving treatment called Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplantation offered by one of the top hospitals here in the Philippines, St. Lukes Medical Center. A procedure in which a patient receives healthy blood-forming cells (stem cells) to replace their own stem cells that have been destroyed by disease or by the radiation or high doses of anticancer drugs that are given as part of the procedure. The said treatment, given its rarity and difficulty, is a very costly one. The procedure along with the hospital expenses for less than a month is a ballpark figure of 2 million pesos ($40,000). A minimum amount of 1 million pesos ($20,000) is needed for him to be admitted and for the procedure to be started.
I, a mother simply wishing to save my child. Hat in hand, asking you to help me raise funds. I humbly admit that I don't have the money nor the means to produce the needed amount on my own which is why I am now knocking in your hearts. Please help me save my Elijah Calix. With your help and by the grace of God, we can all help him get better.
Thank you and God bless!