MRT passengers were moved with pity when an elderly woman carrying a frail child boarded the train, prompting them to chip in whatever amount of cash they could give, based on an article on inquirer.net, dated April 4.
The woman is 54-year-old Cleofe Navarro, of Angeles, Pampanga, with her 6-year-old granddaughter, Ashley Ann Nepomuceno. Ashley’s head, bleeding, was covered in bandages, as well as her limbs. She is suffering from stage 1 bone marrow cancer, as well as a rare skin disease called epidermolysis bullosa. The bleeding from her head is from a blood transfusion. The six chemotherapy sessions she had had were all covered by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
Epidermolysis bullosa is characterized as a condition resulting in blisters due to the skin’s reaction to heat, minor injury, or friction from scratching or rubbing. No cure has been found yet for this disease.
According to inquirer.net’s reports, Cleofe and Ashley commute at least six times a week from their hometown in Pampanga to the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) in Manila so she may undergo physical therapy. Even during past trips via the MRT, Cleofe says she would often receive money from passengers, out of their concern and sympathy for Ashley.
See Inquirer’s video here, posted last April 5:
On the day the video was taken, Ashley was supposed to undergo a procedure called electron microscopy at St. Luke;s Medical Center, which would have helped determine the reason behind her headaches, but they could not afford the fee of P7,200. At the time, Cleofe only had P3000, but with the help of concerned MRT passengers, she received an additional P1200. But it was still short of the required amount.
To augment the family income and save up for Ashley’s treatments, Cleofe does laundry and ironing jobs on the side, when she can. Two of her children have also stopped going to school, and instead find ways to earn a living: one drives a tricycle while the other works as a saleslady.
Cleofe is thankful for the kindness of strangers who would often dole out cash willingly, helping stretch their budget a little. Currently, they spend at least P6,500 per week for treatments for Ashley’s skin condition.
Since Inquirer first released the story on April 5, netizens have pledged their financial support for the young cancer patient. As of April 7, Monday, they have already raised P170,000, which helped cover the medicines for Ashley’s eyes, which had been bleeding due to the growing infection.
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See Inquirer’s video here, posted last April 7:
“Doon po sa willing tumulong sa apo ko, maraming maraming salamat na madugtungan niyo po ‘yung buhay ng apo ko. Iyon lang naman ang gusto ko habang buhay ako,” Cleofe said.
Ashley has since expressed optimism due to the outpouring of financial aid, saying she hopes to be able to attend a regular school in the near future.
•April 5, 2014. Kristine Angeli Sabillo. “MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old cancer patient” newsinfo.inquirer.net