Gleen, 45, is a single father raising two children with his bread and butter coming from fishing. Unfortunately, a lump grew at the back of his nape. Three years later, it has grown to about the size of a ping pong ball and has been causing crippling pain whenever he would go fishing.

“I asked for help because I cannot bear the pain of my lump anymore. Whenever I dive to get some fish, it would start to feel painful,” Gleen opens.

It started as a tiny pimple. According to Gleen, it had a hair. He plucked the hair, then he noticed that the lump started growing.

Before, he was able to go fishing 5 times a week earning Php 2,000 ($35). Now, he can only go for 3 times per week and earn less, barely just enough for the daily needs of the family.

“There was a time when I was underwater trying to grab some fish. I felt a sharp pain at the back of my neck. It was so painful to the point that I couldn’t feel any strength in my arms anymore. I immediately got up from the water gasping for air and to relieve myself,” Gleen recalls.

Gleen works to provide for his two children ages 17 and 19, both at college level.

Before, Gleen was accompanied by his wife to the health center for a checkup. They couldn’t have the lump removed because “There was no surgeon available in the area,” Gleen said, “until my wife died. I never had it checked up again.”

What breaks the family’s heart even more is that early this year, his wife had an untimely death due to an illness. They took her to the hospital and three days later, when she was about to be discharged, she embraced Gleen and breathed her last. Gleen’s eyes were already welling with tears but still trying to hold it as he recalled this moment.

Now, he must work extra hard to provide for and support the studies of his children on top of the emotional pain of no longer being able to see and be with his most beloved wife.

“Even if my situation is difficult, I strive to work hard to provide for my children because I want them to finish their studies. So that even if I die, they will be able to stand on their own,” he lovingly said as a hardworking father.

He learned about Operation Blessing when the team came for a Medical Brigade a few months back. He also learned that he could request medical assistance.

“I am so happy that someone came to help—you guys. Thank you, Operation Blessing, for caring for the less fortunate ones like me. I am excited to have this checked up and finally removed, so that I can fish without any pain bothering me.”