Hi everyone, thank you for taking the time to visit this page.
I want to tell you a story about a father and husband, Harris who is currently fighting brain cancer. It has spread aggressively even with adjuvant treatment of chemo-radiation and maintenance of oral temozolomide for 1 year. However, upon completion of maintenance of temozolomide, he suffered behavioral changes and perseveration just this February 2018 and on his repeated MRI his tumor has progressed. The doctor advised against another surgery to remove the tumors which has now spread to delicate parts of his brain.
Harris, an oncology trained nurse, has undergone several brain surgeries since 2013. Depleting their family’s savings and putting them in massive debt to finance the surgeries and chemotherapy in the hopes of saving his life.
His treatment option has reached the end.His doctor advised intravenous bevacizumab which will cost P90,000 x 12 sessions for P1,080,000 in Philippine peso or about $21,000USD and metronomic temozolomide roughly costing around P86,000 pesos each month or an additional $1,650 USD per month.Hopefully this will give him more time to spend with his wife and only daughter.
As much as his wife, Cristina wants to provide this treatment to Harris to prolong his life , she now feels helpless as the financial burden becomes too heavy to bear.She works as a Medical Technologist in Oman.Their savings are gone. She still has debt to pay from the loan she got which was used to pay for Harris’ past brain surgeries.Her monthly salary is just enough for household expenses and to keep her daughter going to school. She needs to go back to Oman despite the fact she knows that Harris’ time is limited. She needs to continue working to pay for their living expenses, about $1,500 USD a month.
For those wondering why Cristina needed to work in Oman, they live in the Philippines where the minimum wage is $300.Over the last decade, both Cristina and Harris set out to work overseas, leaving their then one year old daughter in the Philippines, in hopes for a better future for their family. Their daughter, Yen is now turning 16 years old.
I have watched this family endure so much. So much so that just by watching them from a distance pains me. I have witnessed their ups and downs. From the moment love blossomed between Harris and Cristina to the day they wed. Soon blessed with a wonderful daughter, Yen.Seeking a better life for her even if it means leaving her behind to work out of the country.
Now they go thru this arduous journey as they battle cancer, rearing its ugly head and crushing their hopes and dreams of someday staying together for good as a family.
I am now writing to all of you to tell their story. And ask for your prayers and help in any way you can to ease their pain and their burden. I hope we can raise enough funds to finance Harris’ treatment option. And for Cristina to stay in the Philippines for as long as she can to be with Harris.
Hopefully one more year…one more month…one more day…for Harris to be with his wife and daughter.
A gift he asked for, as his birthday nears on March 23. Telling Cristina that his only wish is for her not to leave for Oman but to stay, to please stay with him and their daughter…
There are rare moments like these when Harris can still recognize his wife and daughter. But for the most part he stares blankly at them. Not knowing who they are. His health is deteriorating so fast…His memories are lost. A shadow of his former self, his voice so soft you need to lean closely to hear what he is saying.
Their daughter prepares his medicine, encouraging his father to take it. Sometimes she spoon-feeds him so he can eat. Witnessing how the disease takes away his memories of her and her mother.
I watch as Cristina kisses Harris’ forehead tenderly. Memorizing his face so she can hold him forever in her heart...
I look away from this poignant scene, afraid I will not be able to hold back my tears anymore.
I pray that their family will have more good times than bad. And Harris’ memories will come back and recognize Cristina and their daughter more often than not. That God will continue to comfort this family in their pain and give them the strength to cope.
I hope for those reading this story, please pray for them. And help us give this family the gift of time…time for Cristina to be with Harris in those fleeting moments when he does recognize who she is and their daughter. Time that this family will treasure forever.
Thank you so much for reading, and for your prayers.
Every day we wake up alive is a blessing.
God bless your kindness.