Issue of January 27, 2013
Mt. Province

OpEd Cartoon
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10–year old kidney patient calls for help
by Ramon Dacawi

Chelsea Abance Benito and her family are no different from most, if not all, of the other kidney patients undergoing hemodialysis treatment at the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center.

Like most families with a member afflicted with total kidney failure that requires lifetime dialysis, hers is suddenly on its toes scrounging for funds to support her next treatment session, supposedly scheduled two or three times a week, costing them between P2,200 and P2,800 per session, excluding occasional blood transfusions, maintenance medicines, hospitalization for complications, and a host of other needs.

The difference is that, as per her doctor’s advice, Chelsea must be on dialysis every other day, or four sessions a week, until her blood pressure has stabilized.

She is almost blind. Her vision has blurred since her blood pressure shot up last September and was confined for the second time at the BGHMC.

Chelsea is now the youngest of 169 dialysis patients being treated at the BGHMC. The third of four kids of Billy and Cecilia (nee Abance) Benito, an Ibaloy farmer-couple from Bengao, Bakakeng Central, Chelsea is 10 years old.

The number of kidney patients seeking treatment at the BGHMC renal center is steadily increasing. That they’re getting younger is alarming for nurse Carmen Bumatnong and the rest of the staff members working the four treatment shifts of four hours each.

Chelsea’s father said her woes began in July last year, while she was in the fourth grade. She was suddenly feverish, was feeling weak, and started throwing up.

During her hospital confinement, doctors advised her parents to bring Chelsea to the national Kidney and Transplant Institute in Quezon City.

“We were trying to raise the amount needed to bring her (to the NKTI) when her blood pressure shot up and had to be confined again,” Billy said last week.

Billy and his wife asked that Chelsea’s plight be published, for Samaritans to know and be able to respond to her family’s appeal for help.

To ease the burden and to be of immediate help, their two other children dropped out of school. Cybill Chel, the eldest at 18, quit pursuing her bachelor’s degree in English while Bill Cyrus, 17, stopped after his high school graduation. Chelbys, the youngest, is a year and a month.

Aside from helping his husband raise sayote and highland vegetables, Cecilia does laundry. The couple belongs to the Divine Mercy Church in Atab where Billy is a second degree member of the Knights of Columbus, Council 15580.

Parishioners led by Department of Labor and Employment Assistant Regional Director Teddy Delson, the Grand Knight of the KC chapter, and Fr. Joel Calatan, pooled P8,200 that helped pay for Chelsea’s hospitalization last year.

Those who want to make a difference for Chelsea’s family can ring up Billy’s number at 0949-473-2522 or Cecilia’s at 0946-550-6545. They can visit the family at 180 Lower Bengao, Bakakeng Central.

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