I recently came from Cagayan de Oro City for one of my projects. Since I volunteered for Haplos, Project Share and Save One Life (all hemophilia/bleeding disorders’ organizations), I make it a point to meet with the local hematologist or bleeders’ community. Through the referral of Dr. Mary Chua, Star’s hematologist, I met Dr. Fedo Go, the only pedia-hema in Misamis Oriental. He told me about a 9-year-old boy who has been confined at the provincial hospital since Oct. 23. Below is the story of Kerby. He needs all the help. For information on how you can help Kerby, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY — Nine-year-old Kerby Tinoy looks tall for his age. He is charming and easily gives a shy smile to strangers. But his charm and amiable looks betray the pain he tries so hard to hide – the kind of pain most boys his age hardly knows about.
For a month now, Kerby has been confined at the Northern Mindanao Medical Center here because of wound that refuses to heal. What started as a swell on his left leg developed into a gangrene-like wound, prompting the doctors to decide on amputating the infected part. But because he is a known bleeder, doctors eventually decided against it until his bleeding is contained.
Kerby is among an estimated 8,000 Filipino hemophiliacs. Diagnosed with the rare bleeding disorder at age 4, he is just one of the 90 to 95 percent Filipino sufferers who are poor and unable to afford medications. In fact because of their poverty, Kerby has not undergone the needed factor assay to determine which type of hemophilia he has.
Every time he bleeds, Kerby is given fresh frozen plasma. For this confinement alone, he has already used up 25 bags.
A grade four pupil at Sambulawan Elementary School, a public school in the town of Lagindingan, Misamis Oriental, Kerby dreams of becoming a doctor someday.
“He had been a consistent honor student,” shares his mother, Leonor, 42. She adds: “He loves going to school and learning new things.” But in the last two months, Kerby had to skip school because of a swell in the lower part of his left leg. When the swelling refused to subside, his parents decided to bring him to the hospital. Unknown to them, the swell on the boy’s leg was actually caused by an internal bleeding.
“When he is not bleeding, he is as normal as other boys his age,” says Leonor. Kerby loves to play rough games like any 9-year-old boy. But when he plays hard, his mother shares, his knees would start to swell. The swelling now could have started from one of those games.
“As much as possible, I persuade him to lessen his activities but he is still young and there are times we could not really contain him,” Leonor says.
What Kerby needs
According to Dr. Fernando Go, Kerby needs to undergo factor assay. Since the boy is confined at the hospital, his blood samples can be extracted and sent to Manila. But because of extreme poverty, his parents cannot afford even just to send blood samples to Manila. Factor assay may cost around P5,000 (about $113). Kerby will also need factor concentrates for pre and post operation. Likewise, his parents would need help in settling their hospital bills. (More updates on Kerby to follow.)