Written By Neyzielle Ronniqcue Cadiz, Writer, Operation Blessing Philippines
Deon Manuel Glumalid, 9, has juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, the most common type of arthritis in children under the age of 17.
When he was younger, he experiences its symptoms for only a few months and then wakes up feeling okay again. This time, however, he started feeling it last October, and until now he is suffering– he can no longer walk even.
He has a free monthly check-up at National Children’s Hospital which is a big help for his father, Dexter, 36. Dexter is a balloon vendor who sells helium-filled balloons everyday in the public plaza of Antipolo, Rizal.
Just after Christmas, they had to rush Deon to the hospital. He was diagnosed with hemophilia, a rare bleeding disorder in which the blood doesn’t clot normally.
“I work the hardest for him. I even sell lighted toys at night, sacrificing every meal I can so that I could give him a better life. His sickness is making life hard for me, but I am not letting go of my only child, he is all I need. I will do everything to protect him, for him to have the life I never had as a child,” Dexter said, shedding a tear.
“We can only afford to eat one square meal a day, thrice if I get to sell more [balloons]. I only earn roughly 200 pesos a day and it is never enough for the three of us. Sometimes, we ask [for money and food]from my wife’s relatives whom we are sharing the house with,” Dexter added.
Deon always experiences persistent joint pain, swelling, and stiffness, so Dexter decided to talk to Deon’s teachers about his situation, and the school administration eventually agreed to let Deon take exams in their home.
“I cannot risk him being alone in the classroom. I can’t be with him because I need to work for a living. What if he needs to pee? What if he needs to move? Who will be there to carry him? It pains me a lot just thinking of that,” Dexter sadly said.
But then his mood changed upon seeing his child’s wheelchair being pushed in their direction, then he happily stated, “I can’t afford to buy him a wheelchair. I prayed and then you came. God is so faithful.”
Just recently, the City Government of Antipolo Rizal partnered with OB for a free wheelchair mission. Assessments and house visitations were done and 23 of our differently-abled fellowmen from Antipolo received the gift of mobility—that included Deon.
Any artist would have wanted to paint Deon’s face that day. He had that smile that could spread joy and glowing eyes that made you want to just look at him.
“Thank you! I can now go back to school next week! I will study harder for my parents. I will be a computer technician someday. This wheelchair is a blessing, thank you for praying for me!” Deon happily exclaimed.
Deon held his father’s hands so firm that day, just like how Dexter firmly holds the balloons he sells as he strives harder for his family. The rare sight of a father and son sharing that precious moment is priceless. Anyone who saw the passion in Deon’s eyes that day could really say that he is never letting go of his dream.
Deon will always keep moving forward. Thank you, dear partners, for making it possible.
We may not see it, but many people, especially children, have become static in life. Let us give them the life they deserve so they could continue moving towards their dream. Call us at 477-7802 to 04 to grant someone’s wish of a wheelchair today!