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This Solo Parent Of Three Lost One Leg But Didn't Let His Disability Keep Him From Being A Provider
PHOTO BY DAVAO JUBILEE FOUNDATION
  • Fathers are often referred to as haligi ng tahanan, but what if that haligi suddenly break and collapse?

    A single dad with three kids, Ricardo Tapican met an accident in 2019 which cost his family their haligi and cost him his legs eventually.

    “My heart is crushed each time my children ask for something that I cannot provide because of my disability,” says Ricardo Tapican.

    Ricardo Tapican lost one leg due to a motorcycle accident.
    PHOTO COURTESY OF /DAVAO JUBILEE FOUNDATION

    He got into a motorcycle accident in July 2019 and after hearing the doctor’s diagnosis, he knew supporting his family financially will become a struggle. The doctors told him that the injuries were too severe and there was no other option than to amputate his leg.

    If it were only for himself, he could adjust and recover well. But because he bears the weight of supporting his kids (ages 13, 12, and 9), the pain of not being able to do so was heavier than his physical wound.

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    Disabled dad and solo parent

    After he recovered, Ricardo immediately tried looking for jobs as an amputee with one leg left. He was the sole provider for his kids as separated from his wife. No job means no income, and no income means there’s no food on the table.

    But because of his disability, it was harder to find jobs. No one would hire him and even if he could get some part-time jobs, it still wasn’t enough to support his three kids.

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    “It’s been three years since the accident and I still cannot fully accept what happened. My disability has made life very difficult for me as a single father, he says.

    "I feel that the accident took a big part of me. I can no longer provide for my children.

    He tried going back to his old job as a rubber tapper, but the job that was easy for him before became a challenge now.

    'My heart is crushed each time my children ask for something that I cannot provide because of my disability.

    He needs to walk the muddy terrains with one leg supported by his crutches and even if one just imagines the scenario,  it's obviously not easy.

    Sometimes he loses his balance and falls to the ground. And for a father whose innate instinct is to provide for his family, the family’s situation becomes harder each day.

    This led Ricardo to a decision he would not do if the circumstances were different--he needed to send his kids back to their mother and other relatives.

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    How he found hope

    “I had made a promise to myself not to neglect or let my children suffer just because their mother and I separated. When I was still a student, I didn’t take my education seriously; I want my children to finish school and not end up like me,” he said as he was left with no choice but to ask for others’ help.

    For three years, Ricardo’s life was a cycle of a job-hunt every now and then, scattered family, and mostly, long nights spent thinking up of solutions to end their predicament.

    Ricardo was able to get the help he needed for a prosthesis.
    PHOTO COURTESY OF /DAVAO JUBILEE FOUNDATION

    He realized that if his problems start with his disability, then he should come up with a solution: an artificial leg (prosthesis). He researched for foundations that can help him acquire a prosthesis and therapies.

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    In March 2022, almost three years after the accident, Ricardo learned about Davao Jubilee Foundation (DJF), supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

    An answered prayer

    The Foundation provides a variety of physical rehabilitation services to disabled people and people in need of supportive braces, wheelchairs, artificial limbs, or other mobility support devices.

    Travelling all the way from Agusan del Sur, he made his way to Davao City to seek out his only hope.

    On March 29, 2022, Ricardo’s prayers were finally answered--he was declared eligible to receive the prosthesis together with the physical rehabilitation programme.'

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    “I was in disbelief when I first heard that I’d be given a new leg. It felt like a dream. But after arriving at DJF, the reality of what is happening started to sink in, that my dream of walking on two legs again is about to come true,” Ricardo said.

    Ricardo is now able to work to provide for his three kids thanks to his prosthesis.
    PHOTO BY /DAVAO JUBILEE FOUNDATION
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    Ricardo not only acquired a new leg, but more importantly, he finally regained the ability to support and provide for his family. He can live with his kids again.

    “As a father and padre de pamilya, I don’t want to depend on others to provide for my family. I can’t wait to complete my physical rehabilitation programme here at DJF and look for a decent job,” he says.

    Ricardo’s story reminds us that though fathers may break down sometimes--whether physically, mentally, or emotionally--their love for their family will never change.

    What other parents are reading

    Fathers will scour the earth for solutions, often unbeknownst to their family. They may encounter hard times looking solutions, but they will not stop until their family is safe and happy.

    Here’s to every haligi ng tahanan, tatay, daddy and papa: Thank you for showing us strength and being someone we can lean on.

    Visit Davao Jubilee Foundation and Facebook page to know more. Visit International Committee of the Red Cross or its Facebook page to know more.

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