Going with family to Tahan-Tahanan was a spiritually enriching way to spend a Saturday morning. Tahan-Tahanan is a dedicated corner in East Avenue Medical Center for children who are being treated of cancer. Since most of the them hail from the province, it is their home away from home while they are in town for their treatment sponsored by kindhearted souls. It is a place where they can interact and play with the other kids, and participate in various activities prepared by the non-profit organization’s volunteers.
We were with people from Hillcrest Family Life Baptist Church led by Pastor Reuel Tica and his family (who sung through their introduction). The purpose of the visit was to entertain the kids and at the same time feed their souls with God’s word to arm them with faith as they keep fighting against cancer.
The program opened with Pastor Reuel saying a few words of gratitude to Tahan-Tahanan and the people who volunteered and supported their cause.
One of the volunteers who came along was Nicole who flew in from Australia. Using brightly colored pages, she told the kids a short story about the good news of the Lord’s grace and salvation, and the importance of having a relationship with God. Louie, who is also from Hillcrest, acted as interpreter to Nicole so the kids and their parents can appreciate the message better.
A more personal reason for me to join in this cause is to support my mother who is a breast cancer survivor herself. She candidly shared her testimony of healing and faith to the kids and parents of Tahan-Tahanan. My mom’s journey through cancer is a testament of God’s graciousness. This is the perfect venue for her to share her story and be an inspiration to other people who are also going through a very challenging period in their lives.
Activities for the kids and the parents include scrapbooking. Tin Tica, Pastor Ruel’s wife, facilitated the activity. Everyone eagerly joined in.
The kids were asked to translate their greatest desires into artwork. Percy, one of the older patients in Tahan-Tahanan pictured himself having his own family and being a pilot in his future.
I didn’t have second thoughts visiting a cancer ward, but I knew I had to prepare myself to face a depressing scene. I know very well how difficult it is for a loved one to suffer from this kind of illness. And to anticipate children in such situation is even more heartbreaking.
I was proven wrong. It was not a gloomy environment, but an atmosphere of positivity, faith and hope that I stepped into.
Aniceta has two kids in Tahan-Tahanan — Angelica and Bryan. Actually, three of her four children have health complications but one of them has already passed away. Her husband, due to the unbearable circumstances that struck their family, tried to commit suicide. He was in a coma. Instead being discouraged, Aling Aniceta still put her faith in God and turned to the bible as her source of strength. He would even read the bible to her spouse. After a week in the ICU, her husband woke up and had a renewed faith in the Lord since then.
Her faith grows stronger each day and she never loses hope that they will get through their trials.
When he was 10 months old, Prince went blind due to tumors in his eyes. But his loss of sight didn’t keep him from living life with high spirits. He loves having people around and has the most hearty giggle in the world! At such a young age, he already has the heart of a fighter, not letting any impairment or sickness get in his way of enjoying the life God has given him.
Hercules, Jr. is about one year old, and yet he has already been operated on twice in his life. And he will have to undergo another one in three years’ time. These are all for congenital diseases he has had ever since he came into this world.
When others would quickly blame God all the burden placed on him, his father, Hercules, Sr. is still all praises for the Lord for His benevolence specially the provision of cure for his son.
When you embark on a mission to be a blessing to other people, you also emerge blessed by the story of their lives.
Everyday as we go on living our lives, we do not run out of things to complain about. We even let the most trivial things hinder ourselves from taking pleasure in blessings that we already have. But these kids, even with the heavy cross they are carrying, still look forward to a bright future and endure every obstacle to live to see it come true. Their unwavering faith amazes me and it is something all of us should emulate.
I salute you, kids, moms and dads! I’ll see you again in 3 or 4 months!
Cancer is a word, not a sentence.
— John Diamond