Marvin Valladolid, 35, has been in and out of the hospital in the past three years due to different types of bleed. Recently, he stayed for more than a month at a public hospital in Bicol because of gastro-intestinal bleed. Initially, doctors said he had von Willebrand Disease even though he was never tested for it. When his bleeds became more severe, doctors told him he had hemophilia.
Confused, Marvin and his wife Eva, decided to take matters into their hands and took a 10-hour bus ride to Manila. Despite being wheelchair bound and unable to stand up, Marvin banked on the goodness of people to help him and his wife go around Manila.
With hardly any cash in their pockets, they went to the Philippine Blood Center to seek advice from a hematologist. For the first time, Marvin was tested for factor deficiency. And after years of unexplained bleeds, Marvin finally found the answer — he has severe Hemophilia A.
“Kaya pala. (Now everything makes sense),” said Marvin, who worked as an all-around handy-man before his bleeds started three years ago.
“Masipag po sya (He’s hardworking),” his wife Eva said.
Before his bleeds became frequent, Marvin and Eva lived a relatively comfortable life — with Marvin’s income as a local handy-man and Eva, with their sari-sari store.
“We were okey. Until his bleeds became frequent and he was in and out of the hospital. Now he can no longer walk and so he can no longer work,” Eva shared.
Marvin is just one of probably thousands of Filipinos with hemophilia who remained undiagnosed. According to the World Hemophilia Federation, there may be around 10,000 Filipinos with hemophilia and around 1-million others with different types of clotting disorders. Because hemophilia and factor deficiency disorders are rare, many doctors may still be unfamiliar with its symptoms.
When bleeds stop, patients are released without further tests. But what if patients do not experience severe bleeding like Marvin?
“It is very likely that those with mild to moderate types of hemophilia and other bleeding disorders are not diagnosed because they do not exhibit bleeds that are at an alarming level,” pointed out Dr. Marilou Abiera, a hematologist-oncologist at the Philippine Children’s Medical Center.
On April 11-12, the Hemophilia Association of the Philippines for Love and Service (HAPLOS) in partnership with the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) Center for Cancer and Hematology will spearhead an exhibit at the Glorietta Mall Activity in Makati City to raise awareness on hemophilia and other bleeding disorders.
Doctors from PCMC will give lectures on the symptoms of hemophilia and other inherited bleeding disorders.
Kythe Foundation will facilitate activities for children.
There will also be fundraising activities such as the auction of paintings and selling of products made by persons with hemophilia and their families to raise funds to help indigent hemophilia patients.
Please join us and support the Philippine hemophilia community. For more information, contact HAPLOS at firstname.lastname@example.org or 02-734-6540. ##