My name is Anne Maureen Velasco. I am the mother of Jose Gabriel Rivera or Gabby.I am trying to raise money for him as he needs financial assistance for his heart operation. At an early age, he has been diagnosed with bilateral cleft lip and palate and also PDA -Patent Ductus Arteriosus. In cooperation with operation restore hope - an organization helping children with cleft lip and palate- I have posted his complete story and journey below. You will also find others details to help the organization.This funding however is for his operation to treat his PDA -abnormal blood flow between two of the major arteries connected to the heart. This condition causes high pressure in the blood vessels in the lungs because more blood than normal is being pumped there.over time, it may caused permanent damage to lung blood vessels.A surgery is needed to treat this.This surgery however needs a huge amount of money thatthe family does not have right now.
Your kind generosity will be very much appreciated. May you be blessed for your kind and generous help for this cause. Thank you
You may also use the details below when you would like to donate and dont have Paypal/wish not to have Paypal account
Beneficiary Name: Anne Maureen M. Velasco
Beneficiary Bank and Branch: BPI Malabon
Beneficiary Account Number: 4869 0834 59
BPI Swift Address : BOPIPHMM
In coordinating the social media side of Operation Restore Hope Australia I am usually the first to see and respond to messages from the parents of children in the Philippines awaiting treatment for cleft lip or palate.
These messages can often be difficult to read, not only for the fact that some are in Cebuano, Tagalog or Taglish (a combination of both Tagalog and English) but because I can truly feel the desperation in their pleas for us to help their little boy or girl on our next mission.
Among the pleas for help I often have joy of hearing from parents who have a child that has already undergone life changing surgery at the hands of an ORH doctor. I am truly touched by these stories as I get to see how the quality of life has improved not only for the child but for their family as well.
I was particularly touched by a story that recently came in from a mother of an eight year old boy named Gabriel (Gab). After to speaking to his mother 'Mau' she kindly agreed for me to share the story of her son with the world in the hope that his story will inspire more people to generously donate and show support for children just like him.
Gabriel's Story as told by his mother
As a dozen kids dance to the tune of one of the most popular pop songs for their school activity, I stand in front of the audience ready to take pictures. I was oblivious to the sound of collective hissing from the audience as I was focused on capturing the moment when my son, Gab, performed for the first time in front of a crowd. No one would ever guess that four years before this day, Gabriel was sickly and immediately solicits a curious look from others.
Born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate, he was prone to infections. People would often stare at him and examine his face with effort not to show any signs of fear, judgement and pity. All members of the family have offered their opinion as to what might have been the cause. From the dirty environment and air to witchcraft and local folklore, all this information did not help as I was primarily concerned in finding a medical solution. It would seemed at that point it will be a difficult journey just to provide him an opportunity to live a normal life.
All this changed when my Mom accidentally came across a signage. It provided information about a medical mission team that helps people restore hope by surgically repairing lip and palate. It was aptly named Operation Restore Hope and it was in Diosdado Macapagal Hospital Located in Caloocan City, Manila Philippines.
Walking into the hospital, I could sense the fear and anxiety of parents and relatives of the children with similar conditions of my son whilst they share their stories of embarrassment and shame. The doctors, nurses and staff, were all smiling and seemed relax. They helped me in assuring that there is hope for these kids and my son. Needless to say, Gab is one of the fortunate recipient of this life changing mission. His palate was repaired in April 2008 and the following year his lips were repaired - all for free.
Above: Mother (Mau) holding Gab with nurse Kelly Falkner just after receiving surgery from ORH
After the surgery and recovery, He grew both in health and friends. He is a second grader now and goes to school everyday. He plays with his classmates and friends as much as he can. His teachers are fond of him and I could not be more proud of him. I think of the possibilities and opportunities for Gab and I can't help to feel overjoyed. All I need to do now is to capture the moments before he grows up.
Above: Gab celebrates his eighth Birthday
Thank you ORH team for your passion and dedication. I am a proud ORH Mom and my son is blessed by your magical hands.
Above: Gab and his mum Mau - 7 years after the surgery
ORH have been conducting yearly missions to the Philippines for over twenty years now and in this time have helped over 2,500 children just like Gab.
Every cent that is donated to Operation Restore Hope Australia goes directly towards aiding our special children in purchasing medical supplies and equipment and other expenses required to conduct our missions and for ongoing patient care.
We also use funds to improve and renovate the local hospitals in which we work and to train the local staff to care for our kids. Unlike most charities, no monies whatsoever go to salaries or administration.
Everyone who works for Operation Restore Hope from our doctors and nurses to administrators, accountants, and most service providers like printers, web designers etc all work pro bono. With all this volunteer help, we are able to keep the average cost of an operation to $ 500 AUD. The more donations we can raise the more children we can help.
Every cent counts! All donations of $2 or more to the Operation Restore Hope Philippines Relief Fund are fully tax deductible under subsection 30-85(2) of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 as a developing country relief fund.
Please visit our website to find out how you can change the life of one of these gorgeous children: www.operationrestorehope.org