Written By Eva Niña P. Sta. Ana, Writer, Operation Blessing Philippines
Having a child with cerebral palsy is a challenging predicament. But having four children with the same illness? It’s even harder. For some, this may look like a nightmare. For the Calicdan family, however, it is a blessing from above.
Roberto, 54, his wife, Merlyn, 48, and their 11 children, live in a humble home in Barangay Goyoden, Santiago Island, Bolinao, Pangasinan. The eldest, Romy, was born with cerebral palsy. Unfortunately, he died at the age of four because of such illness. The couple’s second son, Ruel, was also born with cerebral palsy. Ruel, now 26, always sits at the corner of their bamboo bed because he can barely move his hands and cannot walk nor speak clearly.
Ruel was followed by five more siblings — all healthy baby girls. The Calicdans then thought it was a curse for boys in their family to be born with cerebral palsy since the girls managed to elude the illness. Until a third son was born. Robert did not have the condition and they felt the so-called curse had ended.
After Robert, the Calicdans had another healthy daughter. This daughter was followed by Marlon and Joross, who were again born with cerebral palsy. Like Ruel, Marlon, 13, and Joross, 6, cannot walk and talk, and were confined to their bamboo bed.
Tatay Roberto works as a fisherman, earning Php 70 ($1.63) a day for the family. Though two employed daughters help with their expenses, their earnings are only sufficient for their family’s daily needs, with nothing to spare for the medications of Ruel, Marlon and Joross.
Operation Blessing Philippines came to know about the Calicdans through a medical mission held in partnership with JAC Liner Inc. in their area. OB noticed Nanay Merlyn carrying Marlon and Joross for a check up at such mission. Since Ruel was too heavy for Nanay Merlyn to carry, one of OB’s volunteer doctors personally visited him to assess his condition.
Moreover, the three boys were given vitamins and primary medicines as well as two wheelchairs from the Free Wheelchair Mission. OB also provided two electric fans to help make the three boys more comfortable at home. Tatay Roberto even received a fishing net to aid him in earning more for the family.
Perhaps to some, this act of kindness would be considered lacking, considering the family’s plight. But to the Calicdans, it was more than enough to make their hearts jump for joy!
OB may have helped with a few things the family needed for the moment but more can be done to assist them for a longer term. You can be part of what God is doing in the lives of Ruel, Marlon and Joross! Visit us now at www.obphil.com to know more.