Saving a Life

Story and Photos by Babylene Bocayes, Philippines Field Content Associate

A 5-year-old who loses his home to a fire receives life-saving surgery for a lung disease thanks to help from the Child Champions at his Hope Center.

Anastacio Robles, a 5-year-old boy sponsored through OneChild, has had to endure physical and emotional challenges that no little boy should have to go through.

Anastacio

Anastacio’s mother abandoned him when he was a baby, so he lives with his grandfather, also named Anastacio, and grandmother, Gloria, in Mandaluyong City, Philippines. When he was 4, a fire broke out in his neighborhood in the scrapped-together structure he lived in. Nearly 1,000 families in their crammed together neighborhood lost their homes.

Families picked through their singed belongings and gathered their clothes, pans, bedding — anything they could salvage. Anastacio and his grandmother and grandfather went to live in government-supplied tents. The evacuation area was crowded, and sanitation was hard to achieve.

Just as Gloria was grappling with how to survive this trauma, Anastacio started coughing. At first Gloria thought he may have a cold, but one night Gloria woke up to hear Anastacio struggling to breathe. She and her husband rushed Anastacio to a public hospital outside their city where they thought they could receive immediate attention. But they were turned away because they don’t live in that city.

Rushing to another hospital, they received care and some answers. A doctor told Gloria that Anastacio had developed a lung disease and needed to have an operation to remove excess water from his lungs to save his life. She and her husband immediately agreed to the operation. “He must have gotten the disease while we were in the evacuation area,” Gloria says.

The operation saved Anastacio’s life, but it was costly at more than $3,000USD. Thankfully, it was covered by Philippine health insurance provided by the government for impoverished families. And because Anastacio is sponsored through OneChild, the Hope Center assisted the family in paying for other expenses like Anastacio’s medicines. This assistance is possible through donations to OneChild’s Children’s Crisis Fund.

Anastacio with grandmothera

Gloria is thankful for all the help they received because without this help, they would not be able to afford Anastacio’s medical expenses. Gloria earns about $6USD a day from a small food stall she runs, and her husband earns a meager income from construction work.

“I believe God gave us a second chance to take good care of Anastacio,” Gloria says. “It taught us to trust God more.”

Through his Hope Center, Anastacio is given a chance to face adversity with great hope. He is provided with a weekly activity where he learns to pray and get along with other children through play. He also receives supplementary feeding from Monday through Friday, and he receives gifts like groceries and new clothing.

Anastacio

While Anastacio is fully recovering from his medical condition, his family is also trying to recover from what they lost from the fire: their house. They are no longer staying in the evacuation area, but their current house is just a makeshift shelter. “The church provided us with some materials like hollow blocks and cement,” Gloria says. These materials have helped them build the foundation for their new house, but they need more materials to make it a decent home. “We are still doing our assessment to know how OneChild can help them in rebuilding their home,” Child Champion Geraldine Bogtong says. Donations from the Children’s Crisis Fund will likely make it possible for them to rebuild.

Without OneChild’s help, Anastacio’s future would look less hope-filled. But with his sponsor’s and Child Champions’support, he is able to heal and look to a bright future.

Provide much-needed medical care to families like Anastacio’s. Donate to the Children’s Crisis Fund today.
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