Teen with blood disorder wants to be a health worker
MANILA, Philippines — At 14 years old, Althea Enriquez has already pictured what her future will look like.
“She wants to work as a medical technologist, or even a nurse,” says her mom and caretaker, Jennifer. “She wants to work in the medical field since she says she’s already used to hospitals and the like.”
Enriquez was just 3 years old when she was diagnosed with beta-thalassemia, a blood disorder that requires lifelong medical care, including monthly blood transfusions and being placed on a strict diet. Beta-thalassemia also causes anemia, as the body produces less hemoglobin than usual.
An incoming Grade 10 student, Enriquez enjoys online classes despite her condition. But the pandemic has made it harder for her to seek treatment, especially with fewer people ready to donate blood.
“People are scared of hospitals and we can’t find blood donors for her. Quezon City is too far from Cavite [where we live], even if we have friends willing to do it,” Jennifer says.
An ambulance provided by their local government brings her and her daughter to the Philippine Children’s Medical Center every month. Still, the lockdown has affected the family’s finances, making budgeting harder.
Because of this, Jennifer has gone into online selling to help her husband, who works as a factory machine operator and is the sole breadwinner of the family.
“It’s hard to make money last since we have plenty of loans. When the pandemic struck last year, my husband was out of work for a month,” she says.
Jennifer wants to do everything to help her daughter realize her dreams, including raising P2 million to P3 million for the bone marrow transplant recommended by the doctor. “I just want her to be able to live a normal life,” she adds.
Enriquez’s monthly treatments cost P57,630. The amount covers the blood transfusion session, bags of blood and laboratory tests such as cross-matching and complete blood count.
Her family also needs to raise P348,167 for her monthly maintenance medicine, which include iron chelation drugs such as deferiprone, deferoxamine and deferasirox, to help maintain her blood iron levels.
Those who want to help can contact Jennifer Enriquez at 0921-7524309. Donations can be sent to her EastWest Bank account No. 200019751677.
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