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MJ says thank you for all your kind help - filipino globe

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CoRREGIDOR War was fought and peace was won on this little island. Tourism gives way to history LAKBAYAN 31 WIN A PRIZE Remember the ‘70s? Tell us about this photo and win fabulous prizes BALIK-TANAW 24-25 hong kong / manila edition filipino globe Volume 1 Issue 9 www.filglobe.com July 2007 MJ says thank you for all your kind help Grateful family overwhelmed by the outpouring of support during ordeal Jose Marcelo in Hong Kong BY THE NUMBERS Amount needed for the lifesaving transplant on liver patients and to cover recovery costs Sally Sultan scanned the long, long list of people her family wants to thank now that her son, liver transplant patient MJ, is on the road to recovery, and found just one word to sum it all up. “Milagro po ang nangyari kay MJ,” she said, choking back tears. From Dr Vanessa de Villa, who facilitated the family’s arrival in Hong Kong and was part of the team that performed the liver transplant on MJ, to anonymous donors who pitched in with whatever they could, the torrent of support was enough to overwhelm the Sultans. Donations, big and small, as well as moral support and prayers have poured in over the past three months, helping tide MJ over through three operations and hand the three-yearold a new lease on life. “Ang dami po naming gustong pasalamatan,” said Sally. “Mula po sa mga taong mataimtim na nagdasal para kay MJ. Doon rin po sa mga tumulong, malaki man o maliit, at marami po sa kanila hindi man nagpakilala, gusto ko po kayong pasalamatan.” Diagnosed with biliary atresia just six months after he was born, requiring a delicate and expensive procedure not yet performed in the Philippines, MJ underwent liver transplant at Queen Mary Hospital on May 15 and has since shown steady progress. The full hospital bill has yet to be settled and a large sum is still needed for MJ’s post-surgery care, but more importantly all signs indicate the toughest part is over for the third Fili- $1m pino patient from an indigent family to receive the lifesaving procedure in Hong Kong with the help of De Villa. “We still have to perform some follow-up tests on MJ in the coming days, but we’re optimistic,” said De Villa, a clinical assistant professor at Queen Mary’s Department of Surgery. De Villa was at the top of the Sultans’ list, along with Sally’s sister Rowena Barcelo who donated a part of her liver to MJ. “Actually makakita lang po iyan ng dugo ninenerbiyos na, parang gusto nang himatayin. Pero nagsakripisyo po s’ya para kay MJ,” said Sally of Barcelo. “Hindi pa po s’ya pinapalad na magkaanak, pero ginawa po n’ya ang responsibilidad ng isang ina.” The bulk of the $1 million required for the surgery was raised with the help of charity institutions like the PCSO, Pal Foundation, American Foundation and the Bantay Bata 163. The Filipino community in Hong Kong has once again helped fill the shortfall. Among those who helped in a big way were members of the Islamic Union of Hong Kong and the Trustees’ Fund of Hong Kong, Sister Madina Molina, the Catholic Center and the Kabacan Overseas Workers. The date on the print is significant because it was when MJ Sultan was pronounced out of danger and well on his way to recovery. The smile is that of a child feeling well and playful. Gone is the pained expression of the recent past (inset). Donations in amounts ranging from $50 to $100 have poured into a bank account set up by Hong Kong-based Filipino philanthropists for MJ Sultan. “If you can see by the amounts given, these obviously came from domestic helpers who gave from the bottom of their hearts,” said migrant advocate Daphne Ceniza- Kuok, among those who helped raise funds for MJ’s transplant Big or small, everything counts in the territory. “We do not know who they are, but I just want them to know that their donations have been received and greatly appreciated.” Dr Vanessa De Villa acknowledged that the huge amount required for liver transplants in Hong Kong has been a major obstacle in their desire to offer a lifeline to many more indigent patients back home. But even as a plan to put up a foundation for Filipino liver patients has stalled, De Villa said she would always be more than willing to do what she can. “There are a lot more patients in need of liver transplantation back home,” she said. “If there are patients who have the resources and want to come here, we will always be there to help.” Jose Marcelo

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