Human Rights / Children's Rights Across the World
Danlee Suangco Serrano, aged 13
Date of Birth: November 20, 1989.   Philippines
Updates, November - December 2002
Nov. 8 - E-mail from Danlee's guardian, Emily Sarmiento:  "When Danlee learned of the Oct. 22 surgery schedule, his mother informed me that he was so excited and has shown enthusiasm. He became full of life and could hardly wait for that day. He would always go out and tell his neighbors about the good news, however, when his parents were not able to beat the deadline for the documents needed, he was saddened. On the part of the mother, she liked the idea that it was posponed, to give them more time to prepare. Now Danlee is doing a countdown, as I told him to pray that his schedule would finally be set if not later this year, earlier next year".  /Emily

Nov. 12 - Danlee is scheduled for admittance to Montefiore on December 10. The sponsoring club will be the Ridgewood Noon Rotary Club. He will be hosted by Tom and Debbie Coughlin of Berkeley Heights, NJ.

Happy Birthday Danlee!!!
Nov. 20 - DanLee's guardian, Emily Sarmiento writes:  "Today is Danlee's 13th birthday! He and his mother say that this is going to be the best birthday gift ever, after receiving the news about his schedule and as well as the confirmation from the Rotary Clubs here of their full support to them. For a while they became problematic because they didnt know where to get the money for their airfare.Thanks to the kindhearted people here and abroad, Danlee will surely have his brand new life soon."

Dec. 3 - Today is Merlinda's interview appointment at the US Embassy. She is quite nervous about it but hopeful that she will go back home with her and son's visas.

Dec. 6 - Merlinda's (Danlee's mom) passport and visa was not released by the US Embassy for unknown reason. It was the Embassy's courier service which informed that only Danlee's visa was released for delivery. They are suppose to be leaving Manila tomorrow. It's a national holiday and there's no way to check with the Embassy, offices will resume on Monday, Dec. 9.

Dec. 9 - Merlinda went back to the embassy to inquire about her passport and visa, hoping that they could be in New Jersey by Dec. 10, the scheduled hospital admittance date. The U.S. Embassy did not explain the reason why her papers were put on hold, she was told to follow it up with the courier service after some days.

Dec. 9 - E-mail from Gift of Life: "Right now we have two options:
Alt 1. Danlee can fly here as soon as possible himself, so we can avoid completely changing his schedule. Merlinda can follow when her visa is released. This would solve several problems with delaying them further. The only additional thing needed is a waiver Merlinda would have to sign granting Gift of Life guardianship until Merlinda arrives. This would be out first choice. We would be able to get preliminary testing done.
Alt 2. Both Danlee and Merlinda could wait till her passport is released then fly together. However, Danlee's schedule would be further delayed and they may not be home for the Christmas holidays. Surgery is now scheduled on the 12, and if it has to be delayed much further, it could be a very long wait".

Dec. 10 - Rotary Club District 3790 of Angeles Kuliat helped the Serranos find a flight sponsor. Phil. Airlines owner Mr. Lucio Tan donated the tickets from Manila to San Franciso, CA. The Rotarians raised the additonal $1,400 for the connecting flight to New Jersey and spent sleepless nights to iron out all the problems. Their flight booking cannot be finalized because Merlinda has no visa.

Dec. 11 - Merlinda already gave her go signal for Danlee to fly alone; however, it was Danlee who wants to travel with her mom.
The embassy official confirmed that the passport was still at the consular office, no explanations given, and advised them not to follow up at the embassy anymore. They were told to just check it with DELBROS.

Dec. 13 - Merlinda's visa finally arrived and was delivered by DELBROS. Gift of Life wants them to get on board ASAP. Flights will have to be rebooked tomorrow.

Dec. 17 - In the Air.
Finally, Danlee and Merlinda are now on the plane with the following itineraries:

6:15 PM Dec. 17 Arrival in San Francisco (via Phil Airlines)

10:00 PM Dec. 17 Departure from San Francisco to Atlanta (via Delta Airlines 212K).

6:30 AM Dec. 18 Arrival from Atlanta to La Guardia International Airport, New York (via Delta Airlines 218K).

Dec. 18 - Danlee and Merlinda arrived safely at the host.

Dec. 19 - Danlee will have his cardiac catheterization tomorrow Friday.

Mom Merlinda and Danlee. Photo: Ira Aquilos Dec. 20 - Danlee had his cardiac catheterization today. The doctors decided not to do the operation on Monday because Danlee's oxygen blood level is too low. The doctors are conferring and studying Danlee's case.

Dec. 26 - During their stay at the hospital, Merlinda met two Filipina nurses. One of them, Sonia invited Merlinda and Danlee to stay in her home during the holidays, so Danlee enjoyed his overseas Christmas. He even went sleigh riding at the park and visited Bronx Zoo.

Danlee's pretesting is scheduled on January 2nd. Operation on Monday, January 6. He will be admitted on Monday morning and have the operation in the afternoon.

Danlee Suangco Serrano and his new friends visit Bronx Zoo

Lifesaving in International Cooperation

Children's Rights Across the World,
Scandinavia based

and Rotary International
District 7490
Gift of Life, U.S.

Montefiore Medical Center, NY

Surgery sponsor:
Ridgewood Noon Rotary Club

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