Written by Jahleel-An Burao

Amidst the rush of the busy season, the Business Risk Services (BRS) group took time out to give a little bit of love to kids with cancer last March 28. In cooperation with the Kythe Foundation and P&A for a Cause (PAUSE), Joewar Cadungogs’s mentoring team took the lead in organizing the “Celebrate Life” party for 15 children in the charity ward of the UST Hospital. On a sunny Saturday morning, the BRS people shed off their serious side and embraced the child within, as they interacted with kids who were undergoing treatment for cancer and other diseases.As the playroom was set up and the goodies packed away, the group was filled with anticipation to meet the young guests. After the orientation with the Kythe Foundation, the kids registered one by one with their parents and entered the room that was cheerily decorated just for them. With children’s music filling the room and Mr. Bean cartoons flashing on the wide screen, the venue was buzzing with energy as the hosts welcomed the kids.Meeting the children was a bittersweet occasion for most of the people in BRS. Having been healthy all their lives, the group found it heartbreaking to see children undergoing painful treatments at a very early age. But it was not a time for bemoaning. The event was held as a tribute to life and the many ways by which it could be enjoyed. So aside from the fun and games, a Jollibee mascot was invited to the party to bring even more excitement to the occasion. After the fun and laughter with Jollibee, the BRS group gave a special treat to Zharinelle Quintua, a patient who was celebrating her seventh birthday on that day. The group surprised Zharinelle with a birthday cake and an armful of stuffed toys and goodies. As she blew her candle and made her wish, the group was wishing with her that she and the other kids would get to celebrate more and more birthdays in the years to come. Upon receiving her gifts, Zharinelle, together with her family, expressed their thanks for making her birthday a little bit more than ordinary.One of the morning’s highlights was the inspirational speech of Tess Bucayan, executive director of Kids2 Foundation. She talked to the children’s parents about her trials and triumphs when her own daughter battled with cancer. She reminded the parents to take heart and have confidence in God. She said that amidst the difficulties, it was her faith that has allowed her to endure. Today, Ms. Bucayan’s daughter is cancer- free and is living a normal and healthy life. At the end of her talk, she offered to the parents the support of Kids2 Foundation: financial assistance—amounting to Php2,000 for each of the 18 beneficiaries of the hospital— was extended by Ms. Bucayan and her foundation.

As the party wound down and came to a close, Ms. Lily Linsangan, gave a message of thanks to the Kythe Foundation and to Mrs. Bucayan for partnering with the group. At the end of the event, the group left the venue with high hopes and buoyant spirits, knowing that somehow, despite the hectic demands of their profession, they were still able to go beyond themselves and touch lives.

(If you would like to take part in our efforts to help the kids, please e-mail Joewar Cadungog or Jahleel-An Burao .)