Jessie’s Birthday Gift

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Written By Neyzielle Ronnicque Cadiz, Volunteer Writer, Operation Blessing Philippines

Jessie Pornea, 21, received a gift that changed her life two days after her birthday – a gift of mobility.

Jessie became confined in their home when she turned five because she grew bigger and her mother could no longer carry her around their community. Jessie and her family live at Sitio Luok, Tabla, Talisay, Batangas– just in the perimeter of the famous Taal Volcano. Their community is roughly a 20 to 30-minute boat ride away from the town proper of Talisay.

Jessie has cerebral palsy. According to Virginia, Jessie’s mother, they tried to bring her to a doctor when she was two years old but they eventually ran out of money for her medications because they cannot even afford the boat ride to town. So they were left to just let Jessie crawl and move by herself inside their home.

A cheerful Pornea family greeted the team when they personally fetched Jessie from the island. Virginia could not hide her tears of joy when she exclaimed that her daughter will no longer crawl. “Makakalabas na siya ng bahay, maililibot ko na siya dito! (She can now go out of the house, and I will be able to walk her around [the community],” she said.

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When it was finally time to go back to town, the team members were greeted with so many thank you’s from people in Barangay Tabla. They were all grateful for their neighbor’s new opportunity — because after 16 years, Jessie finally got to go back to see the beauty of their town.

Her expression was priceless, much more so when her father and brother carried her to the boat. She never stopped smiling. Jessie’s parents did not leave her side from the boat ride even up to the distribution site – both of them teary- eyed when they witnessed how happy Jessie was the moment she sat on her new wheelchair.

About the Pornea Family

Virginia, 45 and Benjamin, 55 both depend on their salary from guiding tourists who want to experience horseback riding to the crater of Taal volcano. They both cannot afford to buy Jessie a wheelchair because they only take home 350 pesos each a week – an amount that can only sustain their family’s daily needs. Though two of their children help in their expenses, they still sometimes lack budget.

 During every meal time, the family members eat together without Jessie because they do not have any high chair that can steady her. Now, they are all grateful and glad for the wheelchair Jessie received. “We can now finally eat together,” said Jessie’s older brother to his friend when the members of the team were leaving the island.

HELP US BRING GOD’S GIFT OF MOBILITY TO THOSE WHO NEED IT!

Jessie is among the 48 differently-abled residents of Talisay who received their wheelchair during a 4-day wheelchair distribution mission of Operation Blessing in the town of Talisay, Batangas. Thank you, Free Wheelchair Mission for these wheels of hope. Thank you for helping us inspire change!

We are reaching more! Call us at 477-7802 to 04 and 06 or visit our website at www.obphil.com/home to know more about our projects.

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