When I asked Ella Tan what drew her to this particular ministry she simply said that the visits to PGH were like an extension of Mass, a way of strengthening her love and relationship to our Lord. I am certain that the other members of this ministry would explain their commitment in a similar way.
The main activity of the ministry is to make Tuesday visits to the neediest among the children in the PGH Pediatric Wards, bringing assistance in the form of medicines, medical supplies and perhaps little toys, clothes, nutritious food.
But the material help merely presents an opportunity for the volunteers to interact with the terminally ill children and their parents as brothers and sisters in Christ. What the volunteers truly bring with them is compassion. In return, they bring back home the joy of seeing a child’s beaming smile breaking through his suffering. They catch brief glimpses of inherent goodness in parents who momentarily set their own problems aside in order to help a child alone in the next ward bed. They see the extent of the ripples caused by listening and responding to those who have hardly any means to address urgent medical needs.
Just last March, the ministry during its weekly PGH visit had been made aware of the severe health condition of 11-year-old Lawrence, in need of an open heart surgery to replace two defective heart valves. With God’s grace, the ministry was able to promptly raise the financial help needed for Lawrence’s operation that on March 28 he was given his second chance in life. After much rehabilitation, he is now back in school and striving to gain back a normal life as possible. Lawrence, as young as he is, has expressed that he is offering all his suffering to God with a prayer for all those who have made his operation a reality.
Apart from medical assistance, the ministry in one occasion facilitated educational assistance to a well-deserving older sister of a brain tumor patient who was nearly deprived of finishing College. The said sister is a working student who contributes to the family’s income while maintaining an honor standing in school. And their mother is now an active volunteer in the PGH ministry.
The ministry managed to obtain a ventilator for use of a young girl who was diagnosed as needing a ventilator for life. Without this donation, they would not have been able to pay the required P2,500/day. They would have had to let her die. Still, even with free use of the ventilator, she would have to remain in hospital. One of the volunteers gave the girl’s mother an estampita containing a novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe. Clutching at this straw, the mother kept on praying the novena continuously. One day, it happened that the ventilator needed servicing and it would take 15 breathless minutes! To their surprise, the young girl was able to breathe by herself for the full 15 minutes. Attributing it to chance, the doctor decided to conduct further ventilator-free trials. Today, this young girl is breathing completely on her own – a miracle her mother attributes to the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Who knows what miracles can be wrought through your help? Even the tiniest assistance will have a ripple effect!
The Hospital Ministry at Avilon Zoo.
If you are interested in more information, please contact: Ms. Ella Tan, Chairperson of the PGH Health Ministry through the SSAP Office at 843 8830.
As published in the September 11 issue of the Parish Bulletin.