Written By Femina Laya Canua, Writer, Operation Blessing Philippines
Jan Marchelle’s condition did not hinder her to be on the crème of the crop of her class since first grade.
This sweet 8-year-old Jan Marchelle Aldas, or Janah, has strabismus or crossed-eyes. When she was born, the doctor found no problems with Janah. But her parents, Joel and Lorelyn, said when she was 4 months old, she had seizures, which caused the difficulty in her eyesight.
When she was 1 year old, Janah had her first eyeglass for correction, which was recommended by her doctor. But years later, upon another checkup, her eyes were not corrected still. Janah’s doctor then advised her for eye surgery, but her parents cannot afford it.
Janah and her family lives in Eastern Samar. Janah’s parents endure being apart from each other to sustain the needs of their family. Her father, Joel, 45, is a helper in his brother’s store during Tuesdays to Fridays, and works as a driver to the market during Mondays. While her mother, Lorelyn, 40, works in Batangas as a canteen helper. Each of them earns Php 300 a day ($6.51).
In school, Janah excels academically and is a fast learner. While being at the top of her class, she also loves playing with her friends in school. She is also with the school’s band. But there is no day in a week that Janah encounters someone who bullies her because of her condition.
The high grade–400–of her eyeglasses also makes it hard for Janah to live normally. Her parents never stop praying that someday Janah will be healed.
Until one day, through the coordination with the Department of Education, Operation Blessing knew about Janah’s condition and was then endorsed for the Tulong sa Kapwa Surgical Mission, in partnership with the Philippine-American Association of Connecticut (PAAC).
In Cebu, Janah and her parents found hope and answers to their prayers. She was one of the 50 patients who were given life-changing surgery. Janah and her parents went home before her recognition day at school, in which she was awarded as first honorable mention.
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