Weak lungs, brave heart
By Mong Jimenez, Field Communications Specialist
Alex was diagnosed with a lung disease three months after he was born. 10 years after, the disease still haunts him. It affects his social life and his performance at school. Read his journey of resilience and learn how he survives every day.
He is a 10-year-old boy who hails from Antique. He looks just like any other normal boy. But beneath his cheerful appearance lies a physical struggle he endures every day.
It started with an incident three months after he was born. He was rushed to the hospital after struggling from recurring cough and fever. That day, doctors found out that he has a chronic lung disease.
It was tough news for Alex’ parents. They barely earn the minimum a day. His father, Albert, sells fruits and vegetables in a nearby town market while his mother, Emily, stays at home to take care of Alex and his three siblings.
Their daily income of P250 only covers the family’s expense on food and school allowances. The boy’s medical needs would stretch their budget out.
Years passed and Alex’ condition continues to haunt him. There was not a year when he did not miss a trip to the hospital.
According to a health article, Alex’ condition inflames and narrows the airways. It causes recurring periods of wheezing (a whistling sound when you breathe), chest tightness, shortness of breath and coughing.
Alex’ mother, Emily, gives extra care to her son. “My husband and I work hard to provide for our son’s medication,” she shared.
The 2018 Report by the Global Initiative for Asthma stated that about 300 million people around the world are affected by asthma. It is the cause of 346,000 deaths worldwide every year. In the Philippines, one out 10 people is suffering from this disease. It often starts at childhood.
His condition often deprives Alex of his social needs because he cannot go out and play with his friends for longer periods of time. A few hours playing under the sun and being surrounded with dust could trigger coughs and difficulties in breathing.
Alex remains an achiever at school. He is a consistent honor student. However, his condition challenges his performance at school. He would miss three to four days in class while staying at the hospital. There are also times when he had to cut his classes short because of attacks.
“It hurts me to see my son go through pain,” Emily pointed out. “We are just thankful that there are people who are willing to help my son.”
Indeed, Alex is surrounded by caring people who help him endure every day. At home, his parents make sure that he receives extra care. His classmates and teacher also give understanding when he feels irritated.
As a sponsored child of World Vision, he receives support with P30,000 worth of medication.
The proper maintenance of his medicine keeps attacks at bay. His last hospitalization was 11 months ago – a record breaker.
World Vision’s work in many communities has been important to many children especially to those with special medical needs. According to recent data, World Vision has helped 17 child protection incidents – including major health concerns – in the Visayas region halfway through the year. The organization has been present in Alex’ community for a few years already and it is helping more than 4,500 children in the Antique province.
Through the support of generous individuals and donors, many children are given hope. Like Alex, they are inspired to pursue their dreams despite their condition.
“Fighting my medical condition every day is hard but I know I can survive because of the people who care for me,” Alex declared.
World Vision/April 28, 2018
World Vision is a global Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.