What do you do when a hero needs help?
Every kid grows up with a hero. Maybe yours is an Avenger, or a member of the Justice League or X-Men. Mine, though, is human, does not have a secret identity and is far braver and more compassionate than a superhero — my mum.
Mila Gardon Labor, born in a neighbourhood in Manila that is known for being rough, pushed past poverty and put not only herself through school, but her younger siblings and, later on, nieces, too. I guess you could say she started saving lives at an early age.
My siblings (an older brother and a younger sister) and I grew up under the wings of this awesome gale force of a woman - proud, intelligent, strong, yet incredibly warm and kind, and quick to champion those who could not fight for themselves. My father, who recently retired and has become her primary caregiver, has been witness to this amazing character for 36 years.
Mum has helped countless others; she is the epitome of Jesus - Others - Yourself. Even in sickness, she has continued to encourage others and give them comfort and hope, opting to raise funds for others on her own birthday and funding Christmas parties for underprivileged children.
Superwoman meets her Kryptonite
For a person who has lived clean all her life, eschewing vices, and has never smoked a cigarette or cigar, nor drank a drop of alcohol, imagine the shock we felt upon learning that she had lung cancer.
The year 2014 marked the start of our rollercoaster ride. In January that year, mum was misdiagnosed and treated for Tuberculosis. After a pulmonologist suspected that the haze found on the x-ray was not TB, but could potentially be cancer, mum had a biopsy done. In August 2014, the biopsy revealed stage 3 adenosquamous carcinoma (lung cancer).
Before the panic could set in, not even 1 week after diagnosis, mum elected to undergo a lobectomy which removed the upper lobe of her left lung. Very shortly after that followed the first of what would be countless rounds of chemotherapy.
By early 2016, local doctors and treatments were unable to control the cancer and it had progressed to stage 4. The cancer had metastasised to the brain and she underwent Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) in February. Shortly after that, my parents decided to bring mum to a cancer hospital in Guangzhou, China which has more technology and treatments available, to give her a better fighting chance.
Help a hero out - why Mila needs your help now
Fast forward to 2 years from then - mum is still with us, and the treatments she has underwent in China which we either do not have in the Philippines or are too expensive here (cryoablation, brachytherapy/seed implantation, gamma knife surgery, immunotherapy, arterial intervention, microwave ablation, chemo infusion) have been doing their job in giving us a longer time with her. However, 4 years is a long time to wage a war, and resources have dwindled and stretched to the breaking point. Each week-long trip to China for treatments has cost around 600,000 Philippine Pesos, and monthly trips have been needed.
On top of the cancer (or because of it - doctors cannot tell us for certain), mum was diagnosed with myralgia parasthetica, which means that she spends her days in an immense amount of pain. Watching a loved one suffer is hard enough as it is, but watching your hero face her Kryptonite everyday and not be able to do much because of a lack of resources is harder.
This is where you come in. Help us continue mum's crusade against cancer. She's a fighter through and through, but unfortunately, we cannot continue the fight longer without the funding. She has always been selfless and generous; all her life, she has raised funds and helped others, but now, the shoe is on the other foot and she needs all the help she can get. Let's help her get better and back on her feet so she can go back to devoting herself to her main passion: helping others.
To date, the family has spent around 18 million Philippine Pesos on treatments and medicines since 2016. Funds are low and expenses are ongoing (1 million Philippine Pesos is the estimated monthly expense for treatments and medicines), but we remain hopeful.
For those who find it easier to donate via WesternUnion/Palawan/Cebuana/M Lhuillier, you may course donations through:
Alisson Marie G. Labor
(Please message me to let me know)
☆For our international friends and family, 1 US$ is roughly equivalent to 50 Philippine Pesos.☆
Please contribute what you can, help us spread the word if you are unable to give, or leave an uplifting comment/Bible verse/prayer to lift up mum's spirits.
Thank you and God bless you!