IN THE unwritten code of bayanihan (neighborliness), the visitor is not just an honored guest, he is treated like a cherished member of the family. It is common for hosts to offer the best room in the house, and it matters litle that such room is the master bedroom. No comfort, as long as it is available, is too luxurious, no detail too small to be attended to. Distant relations, friends of friends and townmates are all welcome; no one is turned away. It sounds impractical in our hurly-burly workaday age, but some Filipinos as far away in New Zealand still practice this.
Such a couple is Jerome and Lady Jalbuena from Auckland, NZ and Lucena Quezon. The short time I shared a flat with them at the City of Sails my first year as a migrant, theirs was a revolving door of guests, acquaintances and newbie migrants from the homeland. They never hesitated to share their home with anyone, particularly those who needed temporary shelter desperately.
It was not unknown for them to take in more than one family at a time, especially when the request was urgent. Jerome would often pick up the family at the airport himself, and Lady would share their modest warm clothing to children who were unaccustomed to the New Zealand biting cold.
It is therefore the saddest news to hear that this selfless couple is facing a challenge of sorts these days. To ensure accuracy and the exact words of their Facebook page :
Lady Jalbuena, 35 years old was diagnosed with adreno-cortical carcinoma (cancer of the adrenal glands) three years ago. It is a rare form of cancer in that it occurs in approximately 1 in every 1 million of population. She has undergone surgery and all other relevant treatment since then. Now, her doctors have advised that, at this point, all they can offer is palliative care, i.e. keep her as comfortable as possible. Her husband, Jerome sought alternative treatments here in New Zealand but there is nothing available for her current condition. He found one that seems promising called New Generation Photo-Density therapy and so they are going to China to try this. Three cycles of treatment are needed so they will have to go to China 3 times for 2 weeks at a time.
They need to do this quickly before her condition deteriorates and she is unable to travel or become not fit enough for the treatment. They are scheduled to go on their first trip on Thursday, 6 September. Although they now have funds for the first cycle, there is still the 2 cycles that need to be funded.
This young family, with two primary school-aged girls (Juliana 9 and Leila 7), is facing considerable costs. I hope you can find it in your heart to help them in their desperate bid to prolong the life of their mother. Any help will be greatly appreciated. ( thanks to Beck Destura Garcia for allowing us to repost! )
If there’s anyone who deserves your help, no one deserves it more than this couple. Please visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/159880294135836/permalink/159894087467790/ for additional details.
Thanks for reading and let’s all offer a prayer for Jerome and Lady !
- 80% of expats happy in New Zealand (south-africa.co.nz)
- the couple who thinks of themselves least now need our help the most (ylbnoel.wordpress.com)
- why Marilou Guangco Scott is my favorite Kinoy* (ylbnoel.wordpress.com)
- stand by my brother Pinoy (ylbnoel.wordpress.com)