Human Rights / Children's Rights Across the World
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."
Eldwin Jon Balino 4 months
"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 meets."
Ma. Elena Gatchalian-Balino
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