Perhaps you could call this an Easter story that took 20 years in the making. But then we know that God’s timetable is never always what we expect it to be.
When we launched Project 20@20 on the eve of Migi’s 24th birthday (February 21, 2018) we only hoped to raise enough money to the cover life-changing heart procedures for 10 children. The prayer was that we would touch the hearts of at least 20 people who would donate 20,000 pesos each so that we could help heal 10 broken little hearts. Each procedure costs an average of 40,000/child barring any complications. The 40,000 pays for the medical device used in the procedure. We had planned on completing all ten procedures by June 3, 2018 Migi’s 20th year in heaven.
But God loves to surprise, and His timetable is different. And He has kept us really busy.
After we wrote about Project 20@20 on Facebook and in my PDI column, it’s like heaven opened up and God stretched out His hand to touch, not just 20 kindhearted and generous individuals but 20 times 2 and counting! As of this writing, we have been able to repair, not just ten little hearts, but we are now in the process of healing child number 14. My deepest gratitude to everyone who believed in this project and given so
generously to these children.
The children have come from all over the country. Small, far-away towns in Luzon, three children from Bais, a toddler from Maribojoc in Bohol. Our first little patient came from Mindoro. Her mother, a church worker, had heard about DrJonas Del Rosarioio (who has the biggest heart of all, and has generously agreed to do all the procedures for free!), so she borrowed money to be able to bring her daughter to Manila where she was assessed by Doc Jonas. They arrived at his clinic on Migi’s Birthday. Her congenital heart condition fit into the required parameters.
On the last Friday morning of February at the PGH cath lab, a device was placed in her heart through cardiac catheterization, and the hole that had been there in her heart since birth, was finally covered. In four days, she was back in school, running around with her classmates where before she would only sit in one corner and watch them play.
Every child we are able to help is somehow a bittersweet moment for me. But each time, I choose to focus on the sweetness of it all. When my son died 20 years ago, I would wrack my brains trying to find the meaning to his loss. I knew in my heart there had to be a higher meaning for his passing on so early. I begged God for many years to show me. And mercifully He did, in big and small ways on various points of the journey.
Now, 20 years later comes the biggest revelation of all.
Today, 14 children have whole hearts because a 4 year old boy’s little broken heart stopped beating 20 years ago. There’s not a day that I do not miss Migi, and I know I will continue to do so until we meet again, but the sting of losing him is no longer there. I’d believe that my son continues to live on in the hearts of all the children that will be helped by Project 20@20. One life for 10, 14, 20, 25 children. Only God knows the final number. The journey has been long but God has been truly faithful each and every step of the way. My prayer is that all these children grow into a healthy, productive childhood and one day, will pay it forward for another child too.
“When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” — 1 Corinthians 15: 54-57