(Tepie’s art. Photo from Joey’s FB.)
While driving back from my short meeting with Grace and Sander, words are already racing in my head. I would like to write as soon as possible due to the urgency of Joey’s condition and the family’s situation.
The other day our friend Sander posted some of his exchanges with Joey in his FB status. Some of our friends thought his account got hacked and that the posts are not real. Sander is one of those people who rarely post anything. So it came as a surprise to many of us when he suddenly has multiple posts. The posts have that rare quality that just pulls a string in your heart and calls you to action – so I immediately offered to help with the Facebook page to make it easier for people to reach out to Joey and his family. Some of you must have already seen the FB page I shared – HELP FOR JOEY (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Help-for-Joey/203399453165840). I have decided to help Sander and Grace so our friends and families would not mistake this effort to help someone-in-great-need as some form of scam – which are widespread in Facebook nowadays. It will also be easier for all of us to share and re-post Joey’s progress thru the page. I do not personally know Joey (yet), but having one of our trusted friends – who is always a “quiet facebooker on the side,” post about him and get spurred into action is good enough for me.
(Here’s a photo of Simeon Sander Dela Cruz. Just so you know he is a real person helping a friend in need.
Photo from Sander’s FB.)
Today, we met Grace – wife of Joey. Joey is presently fighting Stage 3 spine cancer. He is a loving husband to Grace and father to two lovely kids – Tepie, 7 year old and Zac, 5 year old. Both Tepie and Zac have to stop school this year. Joey’s got one of the rarest forms of cancer and experts recommended stem cell treatment which would initially cost P3Million pesos.
(Joey and little Tepie in one of Joey’s MRI sessions. Photo from Joey’s FB.)
You would discern strong people when you talk to them. Meeting Grace, I can see that I am talking to one extraordinarily strong woman. I honestly do not know if I can be that strong if put in the same situation. At first glance you will not see her vulnerability. She has a good bearing, she carries herself well, her voice is strong, her handshake is firm. You have to talk to her for quite a bit, look her in the eyes and hear the subtle trembling of her voice to know that she is in a very trying, very vulnerable and dark place. Grace is the kind of person who will not burden other people with heavy stuff. “It is important to remember that even the strongest people need someone to take their hand and tell them everything will be okay” – [by: Kabbalah]
Since Joey is 90% paraplegic, it is up to Grace to bring food to the table and take care of the family. They are presently living in a house that a good-hearted relative allowed them to use. At least they didn’t have to scurry for rent. Joey suffered a bad fall recently, resulting to five inches of open wound and several stitches in the head. Some parts of his upper body have started to get paralyzed – thus the fall. “I wanted to make coffee for you. I know you are very tired.” This was Joey’s reason for trying to get up. Grace was coming home very late from work. The kids saw how it happened, the fainting, the fall and all the blood.
(Screen captured from Grace’s FB.)
Their little boy Zac, knows that when Joey has spasms and falls to the floor, he will get a pillow to cushion his Papa’s head. Then he will get his own pillow and lie beside his Papa until the spasms go away. Little Tephie also learned how to dial his Mama whenever emergencies like this happen. One night Joey told Grace that he wants to give up already. He must be really really tired. The kids heard it and cried. At seven and five, they already understand. No family should fight cancer alone. These young angels have been forced by life to grow up beyond their age.
(Tepie’s first attempt at acrylic paints on canvas. She’s been asking mama and papa to buy her paints for the longest time. Photo from Joey’s FB)
Grace told us about her previous business supplying bread for big restaurants like Figaro. She used to do really well until she got sick. Grace herself is a survivor. Health is wealth really. No matter how good you are in business, if you are not healthy, everything can go away. While Grace was telling me and Sander about these things, I can’t help but say a silent prayer for having a healthy family. I have promised myself to “Pay It Forward In Advance” and help spread awareness for Joey, hopefully more help will come. By “Paying It Forward In Advance” hopefully help would also come to us in our times of need. I will help now while I am capable. You never really know when life would decide to give you a blow. Tonight I will hug my little family tighter and closer.
Grace was into Sales and Business Development. Her latest consultancy job had just ended. She’s in need of a more stable job, even if it means just putting food on the table and addressing immediate family needs. If you have a potential job for her, you may reach her at +63-917-4902600. I know Grace would be willing to accept “any” job but if you know of a job that is flexible, it will help a lot. A seven year old girl and a five year old boy are in no position to take care of Papa Joey.
They were told that the treatment can reach three million pesos. This amount is really overwhelming. For now, Joey needs help with:
- Three MRIs – cervical, thoracic, lumbar. Each MRI is about P12,000++. Around P36,000++
- He also needs a spinal x-ray – about P1,000;
- Chemo therapy which costs about P6,000++ per session. He needs twelve sessions for the chemo. Around P72,000++
- He averages P2,500++ weekly for his medicine. P10,000++ monthly
- PT would cost P900++ per session. He needs PT twice a week. P7,200++ monthly
This strong little family would be able to know more information if they can get Joey the MRIs and spinal x-ray. Grace would be able to talk to doctors also about the next courses of action and treatments.
The initial fund that needs to be raised is around P126,200 to cover MRIs, spinal x-ray, chemo, medicine for one month, PT for one month.
Monthly funds needed is around P17,200 to cover medicine and PT. This amount does not cover transportation expenses, meals, and any other expenses.
For angels out there who would like to extend financial help, here are the account details of Grace:
Maria Catherine Grace E. Tirol
Bank of the Philippine Islands
BPI- FGU-AYALA Ave
Savings Account No. 1739124235
Grace will be posting the donations that will be collected and the medical expenses so everyone who will be helping can keep tab of what’s happening with this little family.
For angels out there who are into physical therapy, hope you can also reach out and extend your expertise pro bono.
Some educational materials and anything that you think would bring a little joy and sunshine for Tepie and Zac would be highly appreciated too. They cannot come if you invite them to parties or play groups or your school even if it’s free – transportation expenses etc., you know how it is. Here is their address:
Joey, Grace, Tephie and Zac Tirol
No. 6, Marcellos St., BF Resort Village, Las Pinas City, 1740 Philippines
I am putting all of these out there hoping to touch more hearts for this family. If you read this blog and in a position to help Joey, Grace, little Tepie and little Zac, I hope you will find it in your heart to do so. If you feel a pull in your heart, no matter how small, please please act on it. It’s your goodness trying to escape from your heart and burst into life.
For other help in kind, such as physical therapy for Joey, medicine, and other things, please get in touch with Grace at +63-917-4902600 or PM the Facebook page – HELP FOR JOEY.
If you have a company and can help with a Fund Raising Campaign for Joey, or is willing to put donation boxes / jars even for a limited period of time, please get in touch with us. Any help, big or small, will be highly highly highly appreciated.
For our blogger friends, if you can help us repost please, would be highly highly appreciated too.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read and share this story. Let’s pay it forward in advance.