Issue of November 16, 2014

64th Courier Anniversary Issue
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Four cash–strapped kidney patients appeal for support
by Ramon Dacawi / PIO

At least four out of a hundred of kidney patients in Baguio City will spend this week hoping for a call or two from Samaritans.  From a long list of the sick and needy seeking help, today’s their turn to have their names, addresses, and cell phone numbers on print, hoping readers would make contact.

Because they have to survive, Grace Bango, Vicente Ekwey, Milton Atas, and Cedric Waig are no strangers to waiting. Each must sit out for four hours twice or thrice a week, attached to an expensive hemodialysis machine that cleanses their blood of waste, almost like their once normal kidneys did. It’s expensive – P2,200 per session at the least. They’re fully aware this procedure has to be repeated for life, unless they have a compatible kidney donation and the means for an organ transplant.

Grace, a 33-year old diabetic from Lagawe, Ifugao, lost her two babies in successive miscarriages due to her health condition. She admitted last week she had to appeal as her subsidy from PhilHealth and support from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes and congressional support fund of legislators had all been used up.

She has gone this far since she was diagnosed for diabetes in 2003 with support from husband Isagani who works as a pocket miner, relatives and even strangers.  Last year, her case prompted an anonymous soul to appear last September at the renal center of the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center to hand over P20,000 support to her. From Germany, former world karate champion Julian Chees read her plight and sent P18,000.

But her protocol requires 156 dialysis sessions a year costing P343,200 at P2,200 per session. This is aside from her twice-a-week injection of epoetin drug to stabilize her blood count and costs of laboratory tests and maintenance medicines.

Donors can visit Grace during her dialysis schedule at 4 p.m. on Monday and 11 a.m. on Wednesday and Saturday or ring up her number – 0912-954-2490.

Fifty-nine-year old Vicente Ekwey, a native of Bontoc, Mountain Province, worked as a  miner for 35 years in Lepanto Mines in Mankayan, Benguet. After retirement, he and wife Perpetua transferred with their three children to Camp 3, Kennon Road, Tuba, Benguet and lived on his P10,000 monthly pension.

Last March, he was diagnosed for stage 5 kidney disease and began his thrice-a-week dialysis session scheduled at 1 a.m. on Tuesday, 4 p.m. on Wednesday and 1 a.m. on Saturday at the BGHMC.

“We are in extreme financial difficulty and need all the help we can get,” Perpetua said as she handed her husband’s medical papers, including the social case study report of social worker Jen Jersica Pidaoc of Tuba.

Perpetua’s cell phone number is 0910-903-7742.

Cedric Waig, a 56-year old laborer at the Lion’s Head along the Kennon Road, learned his kidneys had failed last September, three months after he was diagnosed for hypertension. He can no longer work but has to maintain his twice-a-week hemodialysis set at 11 a.m. on Tuesday and 9 p.m. on Friday at the BGHMC.

His two sons, Reynaldo and Roldan, now and then try to support from their meager laborer’s pay of P5,000 a month.

Support may be coursed through his wife, Margarita, whose contact number is 0918-788-8429.

Milton Atas, a 44-year old vegetable farmer from Bot-oan, Buguias, Benguet, has been on twice-a-week hemodialysis treatment since September last year.

Although sidelined by his illness, Milton wants to be there to see his only child, 17-year old Megardryl, when she receives her college diploma. The girl is in second year Pharmacy at the Pines City Colleges.

Those who would like to reach out to the family may call the patient’s wife, Doreen – 0948-276-6948.

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