Written by Cervin P. Bariso, writer for Operation Blessing Philippines

Whenever we face adversities or challenges, we normally think of things that encourage us or give us a positive feeling. The idea is to somehow lessen the impact of difficulty. While this is true for most of us, sadly, it is not so for the seven-year-old Esther. Her childhood is a serious struggle being endured by her frail young body – insulin injections, food restrictions, and hospital appointments. Worst, there are times that she felt like a burden to her parents.

Esther with her parents (standing) and Mr. Gary Valenciano.

Esther was diagnosed with a Type 1 Diabetes when she was five years old. This chronic illness affected not just her health but her whole family’s way of living. Her parents had to give up their small eatery just to pay for Esther’s medical needs. There is a debt that they still continue to pay for in full. Her three older siblings, struggle much in school because of this lack, but are able to get by through the financial aid of their relatives, a blessing the family is thankful for.

Esther handed Gary V. a simple letter of thanks.

After losing their eatery business, Esther’s parents, Daisy and Evener went into buy-and-sell of processed food to earn a living, while taking care of their juvenile diabetic child. Their meager income is still not enough to cover all the family’s needs.  What gives hope to the couple is that their eldest daughter will be graduating from college as a nurse very soon. This would not have been also possible if it weren’t for the people who helped them along the way.

Mr. Gary V. prayed for Esther’s healing.

Treasured Moments

Indeed, we cannot fully understand how a person feels if we have not been in their shoes. Filipino music artist and performer, Mr. Gary Valenciano, who was diagnosed with the same illness when he was a teenager, pours out his heart for children with juvenile diabetes. His compassion to encourage these children to live normally is one of his reasons for partnering with Operation Blessing Philippines (OB), with JAC Liner Inc.

Mr. Gary V personally ministered to Esther during OB’s outreach mission in Albay, for the families affected by typhoon Nina (international name: Nock-Ten)

“I will keep my eye on that child. I know she will be somebody someday,” Mr. Gary V shared after ministering to Esther.

Esther’s chronic illness may affect her entire life – from childhood to adulthood, but Mr. Gary V has surely left a mark in her heart. Now, she knows that there is someone who can empathize with her, a person she can draw inspiration from.

“The doctor always said that Mr. Gary V is among those who have diabetes like me. I did not know that I’ll have the chance to meet him personally,” grinning Esther said.

The Gary V and OB outreach mission in Albay is definitely a good way to connect and inspire change in the life of Esther and her family.

Let’s reach out to more Esthers in the country. Learn more about our healthcare program.