I want to end tonight with a story of hope, and essentially, faith.
I was at the PGH yesterday morning to attend a gift giving activity of the Lions Club of QC for children afflicted with retinoblastoma. Retinoblastoma is a cancer that begins in the retina and more commonly affects young children. In the Philippines, there is an average of 200 cases per year, but only 70 are diagnosed or treated early enough so as not to cause further damage. In some inherited cases, both eyes are affected.
Yesterday, there were around 20 of those children in the hall we were in, together with their parents, and the doctors who lovingly care for these children. Among them was a three year old boy named Andre.
Andre comes from a poor family and he is blind in both eyes due to his retinoblastoma. But Andre was the liveliest and feistiest boy in that group. With his mother beside him, he walked the length of the hall, one hand on a monobloc chair to steady him as he dragged the chair around the room, his other hand on the surface of the wall or whatever it was he wanted to feel.
Soon he was in front of me, gently holding my hand and feeling my fingers, and then my phone, and then my arm. As he was doing this, his mother shared the story of how familiar Andre had become with the grounds of the PGH that he knew his way around certain buildings by heart. What she said next, struck me. “Pag nasa chapel kami, alam na alam niya. Sasabihin niya paulit-ulit, ‘Amen, amen, amen…” hanggang sa makalabas kami ng chapel papunta sa treatment niya.” (He knows when we are in the hospital chapel. He will keep saying, “Amen, amen, amen…” the whole time we are there until it’s time for us to go for treatment.)
Blind faith. Literally and figuratively. I learned so much in that moment from the heart of a child who had completely lost his sight, and yet with child-like faith and wonder continued to walk fearlessly because he knew that God would take care of him.
2 Corinthians 5:7 “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” Thank you, Andre for inspiring, and showing me by example, what it means to have an unshakeable faith in the One who will always provide the light whenever we need it.