Cris (35) is the eldest in a family of six daughters. She was born and raised in Tabugon, an upland village known for its sugarcane agriculture and milling, in the southern part of Negros island. After she finished high school, Cris enrolled in a college in Bacolod, the provincial capital, where she took up a course in Chemistry.
Her father’s income as a sugarcane mill employee was barely enough to meet the family’s needs. Cris helped in meeting the cost of her college education by tutoring the three children of her landlady in return for free lodging. She did well in her studies except in her fourth year when she flunked a major subject. However she chose not to repeat her final year, as she felt she needed to find work. She found a job with the Negros Council for Peace and Development, an NGO which provided health, credit and environmental services in the town of Sipalay, also in the southern part of the province. She worked there for 12 years, and from her income, she funded the education of her two younger siblings; Mary Rose is now a public teacher and Marife is a banker. Also in Sipalay, Cris met Jimmy (now 49), whom she married in 2003. They moved to Bacolod, Jimmy’s birthplace, when Jimmy’s work with a mining firm came to an end.
The PSHF came to know Cris when she joined us in 2007 as a part-time proposal writer. She stayed with us for only six months because she was keen to find a chemistry-related job where she could use her skills more. The following year she was hired to work in the quality control of a mineral water company but she had to quit early because she became seriously ill. She was diagnosed with Stage V Chronic Renal Disease and she was told to have a dialysis. Cris took some medications but did not undergo dialysis as she thought there were still other options. Then on January 15 of this year, Cris became critical and her chances of survival became virtually nil. In fact everybody thought that she was going to die. She finally consented to undergo a dialysis and that miraculously saved her life.
Cris is now undergoing two sessions of dialysis every week at a cost 6,000 pesos (US$132) each time. Fortunately for Cris, she has been able to avail of a government subsidy. She is entitled to receive 11 free sessions of dialysis every quarter through the Philippine Health Insurance. Hence it means she only needs to pay 13,000 pesos for dialysis every month. This amount however is still huge for Jimmy to raise and his own salary as a store purchaser is only 6,000 pesos a month. Cris’ younger siblings have been very generous but they got into debt when Cris was hospitalized several times and it will be good if they can pay hese debts back first. Cris is applying for a grant from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office which will enable her to sustain her need for dialysis later this year.
For our part, we would like to help Cris with a grant of 40,000 pesos ($860) to pay for her three months of dialysis. There is no hope for Cris’ kidney to recover which means she needs to have dialysis for life. She is however generally optimistic as she knows that she still has a purpose for living. She added that Jimmy and her family told her that she is not a burden and she will fight on to live for them for as long as it takes.
Glitter H. Moreño