DOH-OIC Sec. Vergeire meets, greets kids with cancer in Ilocos Norte

DOH-OIC Sec. Vergeire meets, greets kids with cancer in Ilocos Norte

MANILA — Department of Health (DOH)-Officer-in-Charge Secretary Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire met and mingled with kids with cancer at the Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital and Medical Center (MMMHMC) during her visit as the guest of honor during the medical center’s “Paintings of Hope” exhibit showcased on March 3, 2023, in Batac City, Ilocos Norte.

OIC Vergeire joined the kids during their activity and asked for her thumbmark to be placed on their paintings. “I laud the MMMHMC for this worthy cause. Your relentless commitment and supportive care bring hope to these children so that they may live the long, healthy life they deserve.”

Vergeire also vowed to support the medical center’s advocacy for cancer patients and strengthen its efforts for cancer research and treatment.

“As the prime center for health in the North, it is but fitting that MMMHMC must attain the highest standard of care in order to bring more quality health services to the community.”

A total of 14 pediatric cancer patients joined the painting exhibition where they fully expressed their hopes and aspiration by painting it on a canvas. They were given stuffed toys and knitted blankets as presents.

After the activity, the kids presented their paintings as tokens to the acting health secretary, Undersecretary Eric A. Tayag, Regional Director Paula Paz M. Sydiongco, and Assistant Regional Director Rodolfo Antonio M. Albornoz.

According to MMMHMC Medical Center Chief Maria Lourdes K. Oteyza, the “Arapaap (an Ilokano term for dream) Project: An Initiative That Brings Hope to Kids with Cancer”, was conceived in 2018 with the objective of empowering and bringing hope to pediatric cancer patients and showing them that they are treated as individuals and not as a disease or diagnosis.

“Dito sa proyektong ito, we encourage pediatric cancer patients together with their patients to fight for their recovery and maintain the quality of their lives. At kami ay nakasubaybay at nakaantabay sa kanilang journey towards their recovery.” Otayza stated during the opening program.

“The cancer center is not only focusing on bringing treatments to patients but also on promoting research and community involvement. We are very fortunate that we are continuously receiving donations from various government and private organizations to help in the Arapaap project. The provision of universal and quality healthcare service is best achieved with the help of the community,” she added.

Pediatric cancer patients of MMMHMC are undergoing the maintenance stage of medications in which most of them have acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), cancer associated with the blood and bone marrow.

Director Sydiongco, on her part, encouraged parents of kids with cancer to not lose hope. “Kayo ang source of encouragement and strength ng inyong mga anak. Kailangan nila ng inyong pang-unawa at pagmamahal upang sila ay maka-recover agad at manumbaik ang kanilang kalusugan.”

”To all the pediatric cancer patients of MMMHMC, be strong, be brave, mahal namin kayong lahat at kayo ang aming inspirasyon. Keep fighting and keep smiling. The DOH ensures its support and we are all praying for your recovery,” she concluded.

(Amado Inigo/MTVN)

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