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  • Pinay Mom Whose 2-Year-Old Son is Battling Leukemia Pleads: 'Please Choose to Immunize'

    She fears for her toddler's chances to survive cancer because of the measles outbreak.
    by Kitty Elicay .
Pinay Mom Whose 2-Year-Old Son is Battling Leukemia Pleads: 'Please Choose to Immunize'
PHOTO BY iStock
To read this story in Tagalog, click here.
  • News of the measles outbreak has parents fearful for their children’s lives, and we all should be — measles, or “tigdas,” is a highly contagious disease that quickly spreads because it is airborne. According to the latest reports from news outlets, the Department of Health has confirmed 441 cases in Metro Manila with five dead.

    Latest reports from news outlets cite that the outbreak has also been observed in areas outside of Metro Manila, including areas in Luzon, Central Visayas, and Eastern Visayas, according to the Department of Health.

    Young children who have not received the vaccine are at the highest risk of measles and its complications, according to the World Health Organization. Pregnant women and individuals who have a poor or weakened system are also the most susceptible to the virus.

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    The alarming reports led one mom to post a heartfelt plea on Facebook in an effort to convince parents to vaccinate their children. The mom, Kat del Rosario-Cruz, gave SmartParenting.com.ph permission to post her letter in full below.

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    "My youngest son is 2 years old. He has Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. He is currently receiving treatment, which brings his immunity down from low to almost non-existent. I have high hopes he will beat cancer. I pray for it every single day.

    "There was and is no drug that could have prevented this [getting cancer] from happening.

    "But measles is a preventable disease. And now I am stricken with fear that my baby boy, who is so far kicking cancer’s butt, might contract the virus in our neighborhood, which happens to be in the list of cities where the current outbreak is prevalent.

    "Measles — a vaccine-preventable disease. Can you imagine?"

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    "Whatever light I have been clinging onto these past months is now overshadowed by the fear of this disease potentially entering our household and infecting my little boy.

    "All because there are parents who continue to refuse to vaccinate their children.

    "My family and countless others in Metro Manila have now lost the comfort of relying on a vaccinated population to protect our loved ones from measles. And because more and more parents opt out of vaccines, unvaccinated kids have likewise lost the protection 'herd immunity' brings.

    "Now, I am not one to impose my beliefs and opinions on others. But these misguided and irresponsible decisions are now putting the lives of my children at risk, and so a plea:

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    "Please, PLEASE choose to immunize. Your unvaccinated child could kill my child and other innocent children."

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    In an interview with Smart Parenting through Facebook Messenger, Kat shares their family’s life changed on November 24, 2018, when their son, Kenzo, was brought to the emergency room following continuous coughing episodes and bruises on his body. “Right then, the doctors already suspected [he had leukemia], but official diagnosis came a few days later after the bone marrow aspiration was done,” the mom of two shares.

    Kenzo is currently undergoing chemotherapy, which he needs three years to complete. But the treatment is also weakening his immune system. Kat shares, “There is no such thing as a simple infection for him now. Even the common cold poses a serious threat to his body.”

    Since Kenzo’s diagnosis, their family has been limiting hospital visits as much as possible. “We go for his weekly outpatient chemo and for complete blood count (CBC) to monitor his blood levels. We all wear face masks and bring hand sanitizer with us that we frequently apply during our stay,” Kat shares. “Kenzo needs to wear a face mask full time any time he is outdoors or in the hospital. Since he is too young to understand what is happening, he would remove the mask. We have to do reverse isolation, meaning all of us surrounding him are the ones wearing face masks.”

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    Kat, who lives in Pasig City, says that she was devastated when she found out that their area is one of the cities with the highest number of measles cases. “Nanlambot ako. I got very scared,” she shares.

    “We have been taking extreme precautions to protect him against any and all possible infections. We have him confined in his bedroom 24/7, and we make sure our outside clothes don’t get anywhere near him. We UV sterilize the rooms almost every day,” Kat says.

    “But when I heard about the outbreak, it felt like our efforts to protect him suddenly may not be enough.”

    “Fear, that’s the strongest feeling I have. And disappointment that this outbreak is even happening in the first place,” she says.

    Kat shares that she wrote the letter hoping that it will reach as many people as possible. “If there is even a tiny possibility it will change someone’s mind about immunizing, I’ll take it,” she says.

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