Written By Femina Laya Canua, Writer, Operation Blessing Philippines

GTM_4876Marvin Palaganas, a typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) survivor, has gone through so much at the young age of 23.

When he was about a year old, Marvin fell from a bed and suffered from convulsions, which caused his eyes to cross. That was when he was diagnosed with Strabismus or misalignment of the eyes.

Marvin had his first eye surgery when he was still a toddler, but the result did not really correct his eyes. He admitted that he has been wallowing in self-pity because of his condition. He hates mirrors. He hates photographs of himself. He does not like meeting people.

He can never forget that in sixth grade a group of boys in their school took him into the back of a white van and assaulted him. He didn’t understand why. The boys who attacked him just said that they do not like his crossed eyes.

With his condition, Marvin had a hard time living a normal life. He had problems focusing his eyes on specific objects and had difficulties with reading. He has also been rejected numerous times when applying for jobs.

When asked to describe himself he said, “I’m a loner,” and paused for a while. “But I was an honor student all throughout my academic life, and I like writing poems and composing songs.” But beyond all of his negative self-image, Marvin is a hardworking man.

Although he is hard on himself, Marvin is tender when it comes to his family. Since his mother died seven years ago and his father’s earnings are not able to sustain the family’s needs, Marvin worked hard for his family. He graduated high school, pursued vocational education for three months, and then immediately started looking for work. Marvin is currently working diligently as a printer operator to help his siblings sustain their school needs.

When he got a call from an Operation Blessing staff member explaining he had been included in the patient list for the Cebu Surgical Mission, he could not explain his happiness. Upon his arrival in Cebu, his view of himself changed. He met people in worse conditions and he realized how blessed he is today to have been able to receive free surgical assistance from Operation Blessing and its partners, the Philippine-American Association In Connecticut (PAAC) and the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC).

“To Operation Blessing, thank you very much for your help. It means so much to me because I can now look at the mirror. I have gained the confidence to start looking for a second job so I can help my family better,” joyful Marvin said.

Thank you so much for helping us bring joy and hope to Marvin and his family. Join us in transforming more lives! Call us at 477-7802 to 06 or like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/obphil to know more.