What Should We Do, When Hope Is Gone?

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By Grace Nicolas, contributor

General Danny Lim visits Rian. Photo by Grace Nicolas

One of my friends, Belle, once invited me to visit a little boy. The boy was 9 years old, from Samar. He had a bright future ahead of him, and his name was Rian. His father was a tenant, while his mother was a housewife who took care of him along with his five siblings. Their house was made of wood: it was a small nipa hut. It was less than 20 square meters with soil instead of concrete flooring.

Rian is very sick. He has stage 4 lymphoma. His father is currently taking care of him at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC). With the help of my friend Belle, Rian is receiving good care.

When I visited him at the hospital, he was watching a cartoon movie from a laptop. We took pictures with him, and asked him about how he felt. He looked like his father: frail of face, he was thin, and he looked tired. That was not the first time I visited a sick child; the last one I recall was a kid with hydrocephalus. I had the same feeling then as I did when I visited Rian: why was this happening to them? Who was to blame?

As much as I want Rian to survive, I am not a doctor. I cannot give him an extension to live in this world. He is so young, and he is experiencing a sickness that nobody can help him survive. My question is aimed at the government: how can they help this poor kid? Why are NGOs are the ones helping him? Reality bites as always, but Rian is not the only kid who needs help. What are we going to do about this situation? Does the government care?

Author Grace Nicolas with Rian

I lost loved ones to cancer too. Even now, I still miss them. I recall that the government, and even the LGUs, didn’t help us when we needed an ambulance to bring my aunt from Manila to Calauan. I thought, I am here to help everyone I can reach, and now that I need something, nobody can even lift a hand.

I miss my aunts. Two of them died because of cancer. Now that a little boy is also helpless and the doctor said there is no hope at all, what shall I do?

Belle and I are planning to give Rian an advance birthday party. The only thing we can do now is to give joy to this little boy. I’m sure he doesn’t want to be like this: sick, poor, very unfortunate. Who is to blame? Can we blame the parents or the government? Is it really about poverty? What’s the lesson here? Is it about the RH Bill? Is there a need for change?

Belle and Rian. Photo by Grace Nicolas

I still can’t comprehend why these things are happening. All I know is that there are people like my friend Belle who love to help without asking anything in return. I know that if Belle can do it, the government can do it too. How about giving education to more families? I think the right kind of planning for the kids, and increased awareness about health, education, and the need of change are the most effective tools for preventing this kind of situation. If the family is small and the standard of living is just enough to support the family, we can provide quality life to our children.

There is also the importance of choosing the right people for government positions. If voters are educated and aware, they can vote for the right persons. The effect will be good, not only for individual families, but for the whole nation. I hope that someday, there will be no more children like Rian who suffer in poverty.

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