If only fate were fair, Ate Belle would be filthy rich by now, and living her dreams.
She would also have the resources to pay for top doctors, and have access to high-quality treatment so she can be cured of her cancer.
But it's not.
All her life, Ate Belle has suffered through a series of unfortunate events.
Born to a poor family in Masbate--a province of extremes which brimmed with natural resources and abject poverty, she had to leave school by Grade 2 so she could work at an early age.
Fairy tales tell of women rescued from their miserable fate by their Prince Charming. Ate Belle didn't have that, however. Her husband was an alcoholic and a philanderer, and he abandoned her and their ten children for another woman.
At one point in Ate Belle's life, she considered killing herself and her family not as a crime, but an act of mercy. She came to her senses however, and pushing aside whatever pride she had left, she sold what little they had, had her relatives take care of her children, and went to Cebu to work as househelp.
In 1991, she arrived at our home, upon recommendation from a family friend. She took care of us, loved us like her own. She grew to become a loved member of our family.
Years after, her husband came to back to her, now sick and dying. She took him back, along with her husband's mistress and children. She never complained.
When her children asked her why, all she could muster was: "I loved him."
Eventually her husband died, but Ate Belle wasn't his SSS beneficiary, so she couldn't withdraw the money he had.
After more than twenty years of working for us and now nearing retirement, she said that all she dreamt for was to have her humble food stall so she can earn her keep and help her children.
She would've had that dream. We love her so much we would've made it happen.
She deserved the best--Ate Belle deserves a beautiful life.
Unfortunately, in 2016, Ate Belle was diagnosed with breast cancer.
She denied it. She lied about it. Eventually it became worse enough that she couldn't hide it anymore.
One day, our grandmother noticed a foul stench coming from her. When pressed about it, she said it was because of an ear infection. Only later on did she admit that it was a wound on her breast that wouldn't heal.
Initial findings said that her disease was stage 2. Afraid, she ran back home to Masbate. We tried to make her come back to Manila so she can get treated. She wouldn't. She said she didn't want to inconvenience people.
The cancer progressed quickly. Just recently, she was rushed to Masbate Provincial Hospital, where the doctor gave us the grim news: she was now at stage 4.
It has metastasized--spreading to her other vital organs such as the liver and lungs.
If fate had been fair, Ate Belle would live a long, happy, and bountiful life until the end of her days.
But fate isn't fair.
This is why we don't want to leave it to fate to give Ate Belle the best life she deserves.
We want to take Ate Belle back to Manila so she could be well. But Ate Belle's treatment will be costly. Fees could go beyond PhP100,000 for medicines and per consultation. Daily room rates can range from Php 2,500 to 6,500.
We want Ate Belle to have the best fighting chance to survive her cancer. But we couldn't do it alone.
Please help us fund her treatment. Please help us give her a fighting chance.
Your kind donations are welcome. Please deposit to:
- Ervin Evan Tan
- Unionbank of the Philippines
- Savings Account No. 1094-5165-0153
- SWIFT CODE: UBPHPHMM