Hospital visits tougher under ‘new normal’ for brothers with blood disorder
For 9-year-old Jude Cabug, neither the pandemic nor his chronic illness can stop him from learning.
He and his 4-year-old brother, Jairo James, suffer from beta thalassemia, a blood disorder that causes anemia, making a blood transfusion every two weeks necessary.
Adjusting to the “new normal” has been challenging as the lack of public transport has made it more difficult for the boys to seek treatment at Philippine Children’s Medical Center in Quezon City, says their mother, Jojie.
Finding blood donors has also become harder because “we don’t know a lot of people [here] since we’re from Masbate,” she adds.
While she and her husband, along with the two boys, stay in a rented apartment in Caloocan City, their six other children remain in the province. “We only came to Manila for Jairo and Jude’s treatments,” Jojie says.
Her husband, the sole earner in the family, works as a security guard and making ends meet is a struggle. Jojie says she has to budget his salary to ensure it covers all their needs and the boys’ medical expenses.
Beta thalassemia, however, is a lifetime illness that requires expensive maintenance treatment and many laboratory procedures.
The family must raise P2,640 every time either Jairo or Jude undergoes a blood transfusion. The amount covers the costs for cross-matching (P573), complete blood count (P267) and the blood pack (P1,800 for 250 cc).
Both boys really require 500 cc of blood but the amount was reduced since donors have been hard to come by because of quarantine restrictions.
All in all, the family spends P10,560 for the blood transfusions Jairo and Jude each need to undergo twice a month.
On top of this, the boys need medication to get rid of the excess iron in their body due to the transfusions.
Jairo’s daily medication, Deferasirox, is priced at P887 each while Deferiprone, which Jude must also take every day, costs P116 each.
Donations for her sons’ treatments can be deposited into Jojie Cabug’s Landbank account no. 3586-0417-61. Donors can contact her at 0907-7115287 or 0938-8669164.
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