On May 5, 2020, sweet and cheerful 10-year-old Sam, like many typical kids in the neighborhood during this pandemic, was at home and anticipating a day of play and fun with her mom, Lecel. She was sent to run a few errands. She then came back and hugged her mom asking to take a nap, something unsual for Sam and that day. Around noon, she was awakened by her mom for lunch but she refused to get up. At about 4 pm, her mom woke her up again only to find her staring back with crossed eyes.
Afraid and taken aback, Lecel rushed Sam to Medina General Hospital in Ozamiz City where they stayed for 2 nights. Sam was then referred to Cagayan de Oro Polymedic General Hospital, about a 5-hour drive away from their home city of Tangub, to get more comprehensive diagnostic and treatment options.
MRI scans diagnosed a blood clot in Sam’s brain, a condition medically described as Cavernous Angioma, referring to the blood that flows slowly through vessels that are like “caverns”. Although this type of brain tumor is often hereditary and benign, it can be life-threatening because severe symptoms can occur like bleeding (hemorrhage), seizures, weakness, headaches, memory problems, stroke and neurological problems such as slurred speech, double vision (symptom she once exhibited), balance problems and tremors.
Currently, Sam is stable but her condition is critical. She’s closely monitored and physical exertion is restricted to prevent bleeding. Due to the nature of this brain disease, Sam is advised by her doctors to undergo a less invasive treatment, the Gamma Knife Radiosurgery which can only be performed at a more specialized and advanced tertiary hospital in Manila. This treatment option is a type of radiation therapy that does not involve incision to treat brain tumors. It is said to be an outpatient procedure, but the entire process will take most of a day and can be very expensive. It also has to be done the soonest available time – in 3 weeks. Lecel was asked to expect and prepare for this medical procedure as the cost can range from P500,000 – P1,000,000. The need is urgent since the severity of the condition is imminent without immediate surgical intervention. The medical expense will definitely put Sam’s family in a difficult financial situation. Lecel is a homemaker and although Ian, Sam’s father, works abroad as an admin clerk in contract, his job is affected by this current crisis. He wishes to be there for his family during this difficult time, but he is unable to come home due to recent travel restrictions.
It is for this that I, Sam’s aunt, is initiating this crowd-funding campaign to raise the $27,000 (approximately P1,296,000) needed to cover the expense of the procedure, the medications, transportation cost, food, and hospital stay. If you would like to contact Lecel directly for donations, please call/text her at 09491885354.
Sam is still at the Polymedic Hospital in Cagayan de Oro and although her mobility is controlled, she works hard to comply. She is strong for her age, smart, well-loved by everyone, and, like all of us, she’s optimistic about being able to recover and to go back to school to learn, something she loves the most. She hopes to see her classmates in August to play with, and to be with her family. Above all, she wants to continue to pursue her dreams of becoming a teacher.
Please help us raise the much-needed funds. Any amount you can donate is sincerely appreciated to help us reach this goal. On behalf of our family, thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving whatever you can to help this young family get through this challenge. Thank you to everyone who has reached out showing their utmost love, care, and support. It means so much to Sam’s family and ours. This is going to be tough but we believe in humanity, in your kind and generous hearts.
Yvette Almidor Matalines