The legacy of Gonzalo Ong
“You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” New Living Translation, 2 Corinthians 9:7.
The heart is always the focal point. From it starts all good things on this earth. If one was raised with a good heart by loving parents in a good environment, it is but natural for one to pay it forward and to share this beautiful gift with others. It is amazing to know that there are still so many kind hearted people around and one feels like singing Louis Armstrong’s “What a wonderful world!”
So goes a story of a doctor, a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter, a friend, and a person with a good heart and her name is Dr. Sherry Ong Cunanan.
With her siblings, Mary Ong Go, Sally Ong Yap and George Ong,they established the Gonzalo and Charity Ong Foundation to honor the memory of their late father Gonzalo. Brother Gonzalo Jr. already passed on.
Last August and September 2019, the Saint Louis University Hospital of the Sacred Heart headed by Rev. Fr. Gilbert Sales, Vice President., Atty. Abe Soriano, Medical Director, Dr. Paul Adlai Quitiquit, in partnership with the Gonzalo and Charity Ong Foundation headed by Dr. Sherry Cunanan, the Departments of Surgery ENT & Anesthesia successfully operated on about 41 indigent patients during their “Bukol, Bato, Tumor, Luslos: Handog ng Seruhano sa Cordillera” project.
The surgeries included eight cases on thyroidectomy (goiter and thyroid cancers), four cases on modified radical mastectomy for breast cancer, nine cases on inguinal hernia (luslos), nine cases on open cholecystectomies (gall bladder stones), one case radical resection of head and neck lipomatosis, one case of hemorrhoidectomy, one case of caldell-luc, and eight minor surgeries.
Dr Sammy Cunanan did the first trans oral thyroidectomy in Baguio at the start of the project.
Yes, there are so many angel doctors with big hearts in Baguio. Doctors who are willing to do surgeries for free for the benefit of indigent patients.
As our personal tribute to them, allow me to mention the names of the following doctors who generously gave their time to help alleviate the plight of these 41 patients.
They are doctors Sammy Cunanan, Joey Ancheta, Paul Quitiquit, Gerald Libatique, Phylls Bengwayan, Anne del Rosario, Niño Realin, Noli Velasquez, Abe Cinio, Bayani Tecson, Anthony Vanadero, D. Dominguez, John Ngalob, Jeff Fontanilla, Quinn Dahilan, Banny Bay Genuino, Fidel Baldovino, Joey Lucas, Alfred Laygo, Bong Bangaoet, Tedler Depaynos, and Sherry Cunanan.
One big salute to you kind hearted doctors!
Of course, everything starts with the Lord’s guidance and so a mass was officiated by Rev. Fr. Manuel Flores, in his homily he says, “Hold on to the truth in your hearts,the mission is to help our indigent patients and to spread the talents of the volunteer doctors like the brightness of our stars.”
Dr. Cunanan, the heart and head of the free surgeries wants to continue with the legacy of their late father Gonzalo. She is guided by the principle to work hard and to find a way to help and improve the life of others.
Dr. Cunanan reechoes former U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama who said, “When you’ve worked hard, and done well, and walked through the doorway of opportunity… you do not slam it shut behind you. you reach back, and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed…”
In this endeavor she was assisted by Maria Victoria “Amvic” Bugasto, a four- stage breast cancer survivor herself who heads the “I serve Foundation” and her staff.
Thank you, Dr. Cunanan and siblings, kind doctors and anesthesiologists for your big and gracious hearts!