UPDATE: Baby Jane has finished chemotherapy and radiation. Her tumour has shrunk but is not gone. She has been referred for surgery and her only chance at at being cancer free is this operation. We will post an update once we meet with a surgeon and determine timing and cost.
Background; Baby Jane Allas is a single mother who came to work in Hong Kong in 2017 to support her five children and her mother back in the Philippines. Her sister Mary Anne has been a wonderful part of our family since 2015. She wrongfully had her employment contract terminated by her employer due to a diagnosis of stage 3 cervical cancer. She needs to urgently continue her care but is no longer covered by the Hospital Authority due to her termination. Baby Jane has a strong legal case but without support and medical care, she cannot stay in Hong Kong to fight for her rights. We would happily employ her ourselves but she cannot be hired under a new contract with an active advanced cancer diagnosis. Please consider donating or helping us to share her story to raise much needed funds for her treatment.
This was Baby Jane when she first arrived in Hong Kong:
They counted the slices of bread
I first became aware of Baby Jane’s situation in the fall of 2018. Mary Anne came to me and asked if she could give rice and other food of ours to her sister, who was not being provided adequate food. In addition the food she was given was often old or going bad. Her employer “counted the slices of bread” and “told her how many eggs she could eat” each week. She was also never given a full statutory rest day, being forced to clean and walk the dog on her official day off. But Baby Jane did not wish to pursue claims against her employer – she simply wanted to continue her hard work and finish her contract in Hong Kong so that she had a chance of moving to a new employer how would treat her better. Since she moved to Hong Kong, Baby Jane has lost 16 kilos due to lack of food and illness.
“Reason for termination (if any): Diagnosed with Cervical Cancer”
Baby Jane became ill at the end of 2018 and saw a doctor for the first time on January 20, 2019. Her ability to visit a doctor was delayed as her employer was unwilling to give her time off to see a doctor. On January 20th she finally able to see a doctor and was given a provision diagnosis of cervical cancer. She was referred to Tuen Mun Hospital. Baby Jane was given recommended sick leave January 25 – February 14 and then February 16- February 18th, during which time her cancer was confirmed by biopsy as an advanced stage three cervical adenocarcinoma. Her employer handed her a termination notice on February 17th that stated her last day of employment was February 19th. The letter read:
Your last working day was 24 January 2019…
Reason for termination (if any): Diagnosed with cervical cancer…
Given your medical conditions, I am no longer able to continue your employment effective from 19 February 2019.
Wish you good health.
Baby Jane refused to sign the release letter her employer presented, after which the employer confiscated all of her paperwork, including her copy of her contract, her medical receipts (for which no payment was ever made – we currently pay her expenses), and her referral letter from Tuen Mun hospital.
Delays Could cost Baby Jane her Life
Baby Jane was prohibited form leaving her employer’s residence until the 19th of February. After she left, she moved in with us and began seeking advice for her case. She was supposed to have an MRI done on February 21st. This MRI was required to start the recommended chemo and radiation she badly needed.However without the referral letter, she had to get a new referral issued and her MRI has been rescheduled for February 28th. Given the advanced stage of her cancer every delay is costly. Her doctors here have stressed she needs to start care immediately and receive continuous care to have the best chance of it working.
The Law is Not Enough
Baby Jane has a very strong case under the law and has sought advice to pursue those claims with the Labour Department and the Equal Opportunities Commission. She will seek just compensation under the law. But the law is not adequate to help Baby Jane recieve the medical care she urgently needs now. Baby Jane was entitled to live in Hong Kong under the terms of her employment visa. As her employer has wrongfully terminated her contract, she has lost her entitlement to live in Hong Kong and use the Hospital Authority system. She cannot stay in Hong Kong and fight her claims without cancer care. We have obtained support to pursue an extended visa while she fights her claim, but this visa will not allow her to access government paid care. Her employer was also delinquent in paying her wages, so she has no money at all and is relying on us for support for her and her five children at home.
No other options
We have explored options for care back in the Philippines, but given the advanced stage of Baby Jane’s cancer, even a few weeks or months delay to enroll in the government hospital back in the Philippines isn’t an option. She is from a remote village where no care is available at all, so she would have to move to Manila, with no resources, no family and no funds. As her wages are overdue from her employer and we are currently supporting her. Due to her cancer diagnosis, she cannot be hired by a new employer. The Hospital Authority in Hong Kong has recommend an immediate combination of radiation and chemotherapy given her cancer is already stage 3. We are raising funds to cover the cost of her care in Hong Kong while she fights her discrimination and wrongful termination claims, continue to provide for her children back home, and to help her children obtain passports to come visit her while getting care. Once she her treatment is complete, if possible, we will work to place her with a new family as she is eager to go back to work.
Every Little Bit Helps! UPDATED
Baby Jane and her family are incredibly grateful for any support. We are often asked what Baby Jane's care and her family support will cost. We are not sure yet. Baby Jane's cancer is advanced and is currently not operable. If they are able to shrink her tumor such that surgery is possible, that will be a major expense. We are currently incredibly blessed to have most of her care funded through the amazing organizations below. She is going to Adventist Hospital five days a week now and working with a great team of doctors and care providers.
Baby Jane's goal is to get well and go back to work to provide for her family. In the meantime we are providing them with basic support that Baby Jane would have been able to provide if she had not been wrongfully terminated. Baby Jane also wants to support other helpers to get screened. None of her friends have ever had a pap smear. Her cancer would have been curable with much less intervention if caught much earlier. We are starting with the helpers in her network and hope to expand beyond that to use the awareness generated by her case to help others access preventative care.
We will provide a full accounting of any funds donate for anyone who asks. For anyone wishing to donate to registered charity for a tax-deductible donation or as part of planned giving program, please contact the following amazing organizations who are actively helping Baby Jane. These are incredible organizations where the funds raised go directly to programs that prevent, treat and support cases like Baby Jane's.
The Patient Care Foundation - http://www.patientcarefoundation.com.hk/donate/ . The incredible physicians at this organization were instrumental in securing and coordinating care. They continue to be a resource for her primary care needs and have some great programs to help others like Baby Jane who do not have access to care.
The Hong Kong Adventist Hospital Foundation - http://www.hkahf.org.hk/donate.php . This amazing organization is providing Baby Jane with the chemotherapy and radiotherapy she needs to fight her disease pro bono. They have a cancer fund that is always in need of support as they serve seriously ill patients without financial resources. The foundation covers many areas of medical need and has been incredibly generous in their support.
The Karen Leung Foundation - https://karenleungfoundation.org/make-donation . We are incredible grateful to this organization who has been an amazing resource for Baby Jane and other women, and who shares Baby Jane's goal of helping to educate and screen other women like her to help prevent cancer and provide early intervention for other women affected by cervical cancer.
Here is Baby Jane today with her sister, 16 kilos lighter than when she arrived. She needs care urgently to fight this disease.