Secretary andanar to refer ailing girl's plight

It's a long shot, but Communications Secretary Martin Andanar is keeping his fingers crossed a 13-year old ailing girl's wish to undergo kidney transplant to restore her normal childhood would find fruition.

Andanar learned of the girl's condition in a talk with this writer and told his staff to prepare a letter asking the Philippine Kidney and Transplant Institute to include the girl – Mary Joy Ligudon in the list of patients waiting for kidney donors so they can go back to normal lives.

The girl who recently turned 13, has been in and out of the hospital since 2003, when she was brought to the Baguio General Hospsital by mayor Gaspar Chilagan of Aguinaldo, Ifugao for urinary tract infection.

Her adoptive mother, Gina Epe, recalled she and her twin daughters – Joerdynne and Lordynne – met the kid in the isolation room of the BGHMC when they visited a sick relative , Liklibeth Epe, who was undergoing chemotherapy.

"My daughters overheard thenurse asking the kid's father several times why Mary Joy's prescription medicines had not been bought," Gina recalled. "MT twins then asked me an amount they used in buying the medicines.

"For two months, my daughters were bringing packed meals daily to the girl before going to school at the University of the Cordillera," Epe said.

When the girl was about to be released, her father asked if he could leave her to the care of the Epe family as he could not cope with the expense in bringing the child now and then to the hospital.

Under her adoptive family's care, the kid underwent regular check-up for nephrotic syndrome. Last May, however, she was diagnosed for end-stage renal failure that more than doubled the financial stake and care needed for her survival.

Since then, the girl has been undergoing twice or thrice-a-week hemodialysis, preventing her from going to school and experiencing a normal kid's life.

Gina did not say what compelled her to take in the kid, caring for her for 10 years now. She, however, recalls that when she delivered her twins and her breast milk was not enough to feed them, her husband had them breast-fed by an Ifugao who also had just delivered her baby.

"The child has become one of us and we're hoping people who could would be able to help us in our desire to have her undergo transplant so the childhood being denied her by her illness would be restored," Gina said.

Aside from referring the girl to the kidney institute, Andanar also endorsed the campaign towards making dialysis a medical procedure free of charge to lift the financial burden of thousands of families with members undergoing such expensive but life-saving procedure. – Ramon Dacawi.

 
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