It’s Monday in the Philippines and I have landed. I’m visiting 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, in 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!