Our Christmas Carol 2018

Jose Pepito of the Philippines

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Kwanzaa and to all, Happy Holidays!

In holidays past, we used to send out Christmas cards to everyone. We loved doing that and we love receiving them. As we have grown, and have expanded our humanitarian programs more internationally, we are seeing so many desperate needs. We decided instead to send a holiday e-card, with a story of someone in need we have helped. Instead of the usual $1,000 on cards, we are channeling this money and more into urgent needs at the holidays. We hope you understand and approve. We’re calling it our Christmas Carol! As you know, in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Scrooge by the end was doling out his money to help those in great need, especially Tiny Tim, who had a chronic disorder. And he discovered love and joy in the process.

 

Our “Christmas Carol” this year was helping Jose Pepito of the Philippines. Jose Pepito is 48, has hemophilia and inhibitors, five young children, and is single; his wife abandoned the family five years ago. His heartbreaking story is right from a Dickens novel.

He was orphaned early; his mother died while giving birth to him. His father died when he was nine.  After his siblings abused him, he 

left home at 16 and lived on the streets. He learned to drive a tricycle (called a tuktuk) at age 19, and used it to transport people. His ankles and knees took a beating and he endured many bleeds. He also survived an appendectomy, gallstone operation and a head injury! 

He now lives in a slum, as a squatter. It’s known as a drug haven, making it difficult to visit him. But Andrea Trinidad-Echavez, a woman with VWD and founder of Hemophilia Advocates-Philippines (HAP), dared to visit him, to photograph his conditions, and ask for help from us.

Jose Pepito suffered a psoas bleed—horribly painful—and pseudotumors. In November, the family’s tricycle – their main source of income – was taken by lenders after their father failed to pay monthly amortizations. Most importantly he needed an operation, which required the expensive and rare inhibitor drugs. HAP reached out to us, and we provided over $200,000 worth of medicine for his operation, thanks to inhibitor medicine donations from you all!

Andrea asked Jose Pepito what would be a good livelihood, since he is unable to use a tricycle now? He said a small store, as he lives in a colony. He can have a decent store with $1,000. “We will be providing his family with weekly grocery in the meantime,” Andrea said. “Right now, the kids are begging from their neighbors, just for them to eat!”

 We forwarded the $1,000 for food and necessities. And we will get him a grant from Save One Life for a store. Merry Christmas, happy holidays and God bless us all!

You can help someone like Jose Pepito too!     www.saveonelife.net 

 

“And how did little Tim behave?” asked Mrs. Cratchit, when she had rallied Bob on his credulity and Bob had hugged his daughter to his heart’s content.

“As good as gold,” said Bob, “and better. Somehow he gets thoughtful, sitting by himself so much, and thinks the strangest things you ever heard. He told me, coming home, that he hoped the people saw him in the church, because he was a cripple, and it might be pleasant to them to remember upon Christmas Day, who made lame beggars walk, and blind men see.” 
― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

 

 

 

Off to the Philippines


It’s Monday in the Philippines and I have landed by now. I am visiting the Philippines for 12 days, to a country that is the single largest recipient of our humanitarian donations of factor. Although we have had contact with the Philippines for years, and have provided aid, I have never visited. This trip will give me an in depth tour of the situation that Filipinos with hemophilia live in. Most are poor, many are crippled. There is not enough factor for everyone, reducing the Filipinos to beggars sometimes. Life can be very hard for them. Several of the teens and young men we have tried to help have died this year.

We provide sponsorship for about 20 children and young men with hemophilia through Save One Life, our sponsorship program. I am hoping to meet most of them, and perhaps enroll some more.

Our guide through this eye-opening trip is Father Don Kill, a Columban priest who is also a shrewd organizer and compassionate humanitarian. We met years ago when Father Don discovered a teen living on the streets who couldn’t walk. In taking the boy to his mission for teens, he discovered the youth had hemophilia. Father Don has since been on a new mission: to find as many boys as possible undiagnosed with hemophilia, and get them the care they need. We are happy to support his efforts when possible.

This trip will take me into clinics in four cities; hemophilia treatment centers; to meetings with the press; meetings with the patients and the patient group, HAPLOS; and best of all, int the very homes of the poor, so we can document their lives and hopefully find help for them when I return to the US. Please check in again in a few days when I hope to have more of our journey posted!