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A Story of Airalyn and her Developmental Cataract Operation

Monday. May 12, 2014

YOUNG DREAMER’S VISION ANSWERED. A Story of Airalyn and her Developmental Cataract Operation. Monday. May 12, 2014

Tuesday April 15, while The Special Philippines Eye Care Solutions Foundation sponsored an outreach program with the Canadian Charity Canadian Vision Care, (CVC) in devastated areas in Basey, Samar its last leg amongst the other towns visited by the team, they spotted a young lass named Airlyn Palmiano accompanied by her mother Melvina Palmiano gratefully waiting for their queue while rain pours slowly soaking people wet.  

At about 10 AM, this little girl was diagnosed by the doctors and observed to be born with cataracts in both eyes. Unfortunately, Airlyn has never seen. She is part of a family of 9 who lived near the shoreline and were able to run to a higher ground during the Yolanda storm surge losing all their belongings.

An incoming Grade 3 student at Brgy. Basey Elmentary School, Aialyn was considered amongst the diligent stduents their class have.  She has promising skill in writing but this was challenged by the develoing cataract in her both eyes.

“Hindi na daw po makapgsulat g maayos si Airalyn, sabi ng kanyang guro.  Laging pumipikit ang mata nya at kailangan nyang lumipat sa unahan para Makita ang blackboard”

(She cannot write well the lectures on the board.  She would always blink her eyes and would need to take the front seat as she cannot read the writings on the board”) retold by her mother Melvina as reported by Airalyn’s teachers at school.

“Napansin ko na mas laging kumukurap ang mga mata nya lalo na pag masyadong maliwanag.  Nag umpisa ko itong mapansin nuong January Pero pagkatapos lang ng ilang buwan lumala ang kanyang kundisyon. Hindi nya kami Makita ng mabuti. Binigyan ko nga siya ng piso pero kinailangan pa nyang kapain ang lamesa para masalat yung piso.”

(I noticed her blinking too frequent especially when bright lights shine upon us.  This started in January. But when months approaches especially 5 months after, her vision becomes very alarming.  She cant see us well.  I tried giving her a one peso coin and she would need to touch the table just to find where the one peso is) shared her mother.

Airlyn's mother was very distraught as observed by the doctors that interviewed her.  Being there and having heard Melvina and Airalyn’s story, the President of the foundation and also the team leader of the outreach project Andronica Roma felt the emotion of a mother powerless to help her blind child.

She then decided to take matters into her hands and immediately sponsored the child to have cataract surgery in Manila as soon as medical tests were done to assure she was capable of having the surgery.

After the assessment, as shared by Dr. Pasqualino, President Nica, Rick the film maker, Airlyn and her mother all went to the little girl's home so they could see the conditions where she lived. When she was asked what she wanted more than anything in the world, Airlyn said “i want to be able to got school like everybody else!”

When asked what she wanted to achieve in life, Airalyn quickly responded “ma’am”--- she wanted to be called ma’am, like what they students call their teachers.  

Airalyn has a noble ambition of being a teacher.  Hence, as heartbreaking as it may seem, the team of President Nica knows truly that this dream can still be achieved especially when help is given.

President Nica made arrangements for the little girl and her mother to travel to Manila during the Easter weekend and be assessed by a pediatrician before surgery.  They stayed at Maritoni’s house (one of the volunteer-staff of SPECS Foundation).

Airlyn has been assessed as capable of having the surgery and it was performed after several assessments done few days after they arrived in Manila under general anesthesia at Sta. Ana Hospital.

What a wonderful gift to such a deserving little girl as what Dr. Pasqualino has described it.  Indeed, Filipinos and Canadians helping other Filipinos is in itself a significant remembrance to the lives of the devastated ones.  

A little hope, a little help. One step at a time, matters especially to young dreamers like Airalyn.

View videos of Airalyn’s progress from her initial eye examination to post operation recovery and checkup.


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