IN April 2019, my daughter Haeley Rose Tabarnilla Tubban, was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia (blood cancer).
Thus started her harrowing ordeal and untold anguish of our family.
Haeley was born on May 01, 2017, in Santiago City, Isabela.
She is currently enrolled in Kindergarten at the Rizaluna Elementary School.
At right, here is Haeley (with black face mask) with Dad Victor Juan and that’s me holding Haeley’s sister Micalah Victoria, aged 2.
Victor and I are both police officers. So, Haeley once upon a time dreamt to become a police officer just like us. But when she started school, her dream changed. She now wants to become a teacher.
Burdens … and Blessings
Haeley’s ailment was traumatic for us, to say the least.
She was so young – she was turning only two years old that time.
She was supposed to be having fun — like here, she’s playing as a fashion model.
Instead, she is going to the hospital almost every day for her treatment.
But this early, our burden has been eased by a big blessing.
I still remember that day, when SPO3 Sir Vincent Calatay (below, left), my immediate superior at Camp Caringal where Victor and I were both assigned that time, approached me and asked about the condition of Haeley.
There and then, he introduced me to Ma’am Maritess Cordero (below) and told me about the foundation where Ma’am Tess is a board secretary – Jesus Christ Cares For Cancer Inc. (JCCFC), here with Angelo Gelano, JCCFC chairman.
Since Victor and I are police officers,
I was hesitant to apply for a JCCFC assistance, because our application for our daughter to be their beneficiary might not be approved.
On August 20, 2019, Ma’am Tess sent me a message informing me that our application for financial aid for Haeley was approved!
She was two years old when she was included as beneficiary of JCCFC’s cash aid program.
All thanks and glory to God indeed because God provides in many ways and Sir Vince and JCCFC are one of His ways.
Ever supportive of JCCFC, Sir Vince included two JCCFC beneficiaries– Cristina Ramos and Vilma Mijares in the PNP’s distribution of relief goods during the COVID Pandemic in Marikina. At the outset, the outreach did not include Cristina’s and Vilma’s areas. They were included nonetheless.
Another Blow… Another Rescue
Haeley underwent an operation for the insertion of portacath — a device to draw blood and give treatments, including intravenous, blood transfusions or drugs such as chemotherapy and antibiotics. (National Cancer Institute (.gov) https://www.cancer.gov › dictionaries › cancer-terms › def)
It’s difficult to detect the vein for the transfusions. Without the device, Haeley would be in terrible pain every time the nurse or doctor determines where to inject the transfusions. Haeley used this device throughout her treatment.
But the operation didn’t go well. After three days, she suffered an infection, causing a high fever that we had to take her back to the hospital.
Those were the days I thought that she would be taken away from us. But our Haeley was so strong. She fought – and she is still fighting today.
As if our ordeal over Haeley’s cancer was not enough, we struggled with another burden. After Haeley’s operation, our house was burned – almost all of our belongings were destroyed by the fire.
So, we faced twin financial needs — money for Haeley’s medicine and hospital bills, and funds to find a temporary dwelling, if not build a house.
But JCCFC has always been beside us throughout this journey.
Indeed, Haeley is blessed with angels— like Sir Vince with his wife Mila and son Calvin Adrian.
And here, JCCFC Board Secretary Maritess Cordero, comes to us for pastoral visit:
Here is Haeley with me (extreme left), and Haeley’s grandparents Marlo and Elizabeth Tabarnilla.
Bigger Battle, Bigger God
But we are hardly relieved from this burden.
On February 2022, Haeley had to be confined at the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) to undergo Bone Marrow Aspiration — which, according to the National Cancer Institute, is a procedure in which a small sample of bone marrow is removed, usually from the hip bone, breast bone, or thigh bone,, to find out whether the bone marrow is making normal amounts of blood cells.
After two weeks, her pediatrician informed us that the bone marrow test showed Haeley had a relapse. So, she needed to repeat another set of treatments.
Utter depression gripped us – not only because of the money needed for the treatment, but also because we thought that our daughter would have to go through the pain when she started chemotherapy again.
As of today, Haeley, now five years old, is facing an even bigger battle.
She had a relapse from leukemia twice in recent months. Cancer cells spread to her bone marrow. According to her oncologist, she needs a bone marrow transplant soon. Chemotherapy and other treatments will no longer work even if she starts and completes the cycle again.
To this day, we have to be strong because our daughter is super strong.
And we are so blessed that many are praying for her miraculous healing – and JCCFC is one of them.
To keep track of the progress of its beneficiaries as well as fellowship with them, JCCFC holds a monthly assembly with them. Here, Haeley is the little girl in pink dress, and that’s me at the right side.
Even amid this struggle, we are blessed with faith that our God is bigger than our battle. We are deeply thankful to God because He always provides for Haeley’s needs in many ways. We found a second family in JCCFC– that’s why we know that we are not alone in fighting this battle.
Editor’s Note: To connect with Sis. Haylenth, email her at Haylenth Tubban: firstname.lastname@example.org