(This time, I’m veering off our family’s story for this post. I feel I have the responsibility to give voice to another family who has been experiencing the same challenges we face but has less favorable circumstances.)
I met Grace through a Facebook group for families with special needs children. I saw her posts about her youngest child, Karl. He is five years old but has significant developmental delays. He has also been in and out of the hospital because of persistent pneumonia.
When I met her, Karl has not been seen by a neurologist or any other specialist. What she showed me was a referral from the doctor for a pediatric neurologist. At that time, she has had that referral form for quite a long time. They couldn’t see a neurologist because of lack of funds. We should understand that in the Philippines, although there are some services free for persons with disabilities, most fees associated with seeing a specialist are not.
I learned that Grace is a single mom with three young kids. Her ex-husband has not supported them since he left the family. She earns money by selling goods from door to door in their small village. She brings Karl along, in an old stroller, even when it is raining because there is no one to care for him at home. She needed to go out and sell or they won’t have anything to eat.
My heart was pierced at her story. I couldn’t imagine the pain and suffering she must have had to endure. A Go Fund Me page was created for Karl so Grace could have the means to pay for his medical needs. Before this page was created, there was another nice lady in the Facebook group who organized a campaign and we were able to get enough donations to send to Grace for Karl’s doctors’ fees. She was able to take Karl to a neurologist and he was diagnosed with global development delay. He would be requiring physical and speech therapies.
The travel from Grace’s village to the city could be tiring, especially for Karl. Taking public transportation would take a toll on the child’s frail body. So, it is an added challenge for Grace to bring him to the specialists and therapists. I couldn’t help but feel really bad for her. I couldn’t imagine how she’s doing it, alone.
I’ve been keeping in close contact with her, mostly for emotional and spiritual support. I can say Grace has a very good heart. She loves her children so much that she does her best to provide them with the care they deserve. Even with very limited means, she’s able to continue caring for them. I admire her determination and will.
Just recently, I learned that her eldest child was diagnosed with seizure disorder which required a daily maintenance of anti-seizure medicine. For those of us who have epileptic children, we know what this entails. The child has to receive the required dose of medicine to prevent seizures. And again, the cost of these medicines is beyond Grace’s financial capability. I feel for her.
I can understand some of her concerns, but I won’t be able to completely comprehend what she must be going through. I’ve not been alone in caring for our Miguel. I’ve not experienced having to sell goods outside in the rain with my special needs child in a dilapidated stroller. I’ve not suffered from sleepless nights trying to figure out where I can get our next meal or the money to pay for my children’s medical bills. But Grace does.
I pray for her and her family. Hopefully, this post touches some hearts.