Donations pour in for girl with serious burn injuries
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Good Samaritans from as far as Pampanga and Palawan contributed about P150,000 in cash to help 11-year-old Jecel Mae Raña, who tried to save her two brothers from a fire that gutted their home in Barangay (village) Dansolihon in Cagayan de Oro City, recently.
Jecel and her younger brothers – one of them ailing – were left at their house and sari-sari store one day in August.
“We left them momentarily because we had to rush to a nearby pharmacy to buy medicine for our two-year-old son, who was nursing fever that day,” Maricel, the girl’s mother, said.
When they returned home, their house was burned down and all three children had suffered burns.
“We did not expect that it will happen,” Maricel said.
Jecel’s efforts to save her two brothers did not pay though.
They died a few days later at the Misamis Oriental provincial hospital, from serious burns.
“The doctors told us two of the children had no chances of living anymore. The doctors also told us to bring Jecel to Davao,” she said.
Maricel said they packed some things and rushed Jecel – who had burns in 45 percent of her body – to the Mindanao Burn Center here in September – even though they did not have money.
The lack of the family’s financial capability had stalled some of Jecel’s medication even though Maricel said she was able to seek some help from the city government’s Lingap Program. It was not enough though.
Just a few days ago, Jecel Mae’s parents had been trying to knock on every door in a bid to raise fund for the child. They were so poor that they could not even afford to buy paracetamol.
A day after Jecel’s story came out of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, donations started coming in.
“She’s a lucky child. She got a chance to live,” Dr. Rizal Aportadera, former President of the Mindanao Burn Center and now long-time consultant of the center told the Inquirer Monday after learning of the outpouring financial support from people around the country.
Part of the money that Jecel got is spent for her nutrition, which she badly needs for recovery.
“She was able to drink her milk ma’m,” Maricel, the girl’s mother said Monday.
Maricel said they were able to buy antibiotics and other medicines from the donations for Jecel.
Among those who gave cash was former National Food Authority administrator Lito Banayo. Banayo sent in P50,000 for the girl.
Peter Lynch, a foreigner, contributed P64,000 to Jecel’s kitty.
Lynch also gave P16,000 for other patients of the 32-bed facility at the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) here.
Jecel’s case has opened the ugly truth about the state-run burn center – lack of funds for patients medicines and facilities needed to help them in their speedy recovery.
Aportadera said among the equipment they needed was hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) treatment chamber.
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