Eldwin Jon Balino, 4 months old in May 2002
Lifesaving Action in International Cooperation
Incoming Letter, Sun, 3 Feb 2002
"Dear Sir / Madame,
I am Ma. Elena Gatchalian-Balino, 30 years old and a
new mother of a 22-day old baby boy. My husband and I
got married last year and was blessed to be pregnant
after our wedding. Everybody, my family and friends,
was looking forward for the baby I was about to give
birth then, I am the last member of the family of six
who doesn't have a child then."
"Last January 4, 2002, I gave birth to Eldwin Jon G.
Balino at the Philippine General Hospital. I was
induced as per my ob-gyne's advice. Everything went
well with my delivery and it was such a wonderful
experience for me. My son was given to me two hours
after the delivery. EJ having a score of 9.9 on his
apgar test, the resident doctors of PGH's nursery,
decided to have the child with me in the ward,
declaring him as a healthy baby. It was truly a
wonderful experience seeing the child you bore for
nine months. My family and friends were very happy
until my pediatrician visited my son EJ."
"By January 5, Dr. Benilda Sanchez checked my son and
she heard "murmurs" from EJ. We were advised to
submit EJ for a 2d-echo exam. When I asked her what
could be the cause of the murmur, she told us that the
baby could have some heart problems. Last January 8,
my husband and I went to Philippine Children's Medical
Center and we had EJ's heart ultrasound by a
pedia-cardiologist. HE WAS DIAGNOSED WITH TRICUSPID
ATRESIA. During the ultrasound, I can't help but cry
when he was diagnosed (the doctor was diagnosing my
son's heart and he was addressing resident doctors
whom my husband and I suspect are studying to become
pedia-cardiologists as well). I just can't stop
crying as I've been hearing familiar terms I've heard
before because I had a nephew who died of a congenital
heart disease when he was 13 years old, he had a TOF."
"I can't express in words the sadness I felt then,
learning my first-born child is also a blue baby.
Honestly, I've been considering naming my son after my
nephew for my family to remember a very good nephew.
I've never thought that my son will also be a blue
baby just like his cousin."
"My husband and I are both Church volunteer workers,
our income is just enough for our daily living. Now
God has given us another trial, to test our faith in
Him, through our son EJ. We believe that God has
reasons for giving us EJ this way, and we believe He
will show us the way to succeed in this trial. "
"As per Dr. Jonas del Rosario's advise, my son has to
undergo BT shunt after one month, and two more shunts
on his 6th month and when he turns a year old and an
open heart surgery when he's around 7 years old. We
got a second opinion from Dr. Emy Collado of the
Philippine Heart Center, and she said, we may not have
to submit EJ for a BT shunt, that is if he continues
not to be in distress. Financially, sir/madame, we
don't have the means for EJ's surgery, so we looked
for other ways for EJ to undergo the needed surgery
for his survival."
"Others may call it fate, but I believe its faith.
Donna Cueto, my best friend and a reporter from the
Philippine Daily Inquirer, has written the case of
Dajed, the first Filipino who was granted operation by
the Gift of Life Foundation. Last January 3, the day
before I gave birth, Donna has written another article
about the denial of US Visa of Jerden and her mother
for an operation in the US. Never in my wildest
dreams that Donna's awareness and support for children
with congenital heart disease would also be my hope
for my child to undergo surgery for his life."
"I am writing to you as the mother of Eldwin Jon. I am
seeking your help for my 22-day old son to undergo the
needed surgery to extend his life. My nephew's life
was cut short because he has not undergone the needed
surgery for his sickness. My family really felt his
loss, it was one of the most painful experience for my
family. We want to be good parents for our son and we
know with God's help and instruments, he will not
suffer the same fate as my nephew."
"We are praying for God's intercession, we are praying
that you may also respond to our plea so that our son
EJ may grow up to become an individual who will also
make a difference in the lives of every person he
Ma. Elena Gatchalian-Balino