A Story of Love and Courage

Posted by Pozziepinoy on 4:34 PM

I just wanna share this to you since it's love month. :-) 

I received a call from a friend last March, 2012 who wanted me to buy his old clothes so he could have an allowance to look for a job.  He's been unemployed for three months and it seemed bad luck struck on him every time he applied.  Since we just disclosed our status to each other that time,  I decided to meet him near his area and bought some of his old stuffs and  accompany him on his new application for a job somewhere in Makati.


Without any resume on hand, I pretended that I would be applying as well  so I could be able to assist him. We were heading to the front desk, when he put his right hand on my left shoulder so it won' t be too obvious that he couldn't really view our way.  I even lend him my eye-glasses since I'm near sighted, but it didn't help. I registered our names as applicant, and then filled out two forms. When his name was called to take the examination online,  I wondered if he could be able to read the questions on the monitor. While finishing my own application, and waiting for my name to be called,   I noticed him stood up  and  went back to the lounge where I was seated. He whispered that he couldn't maximize the zoom bottom on the monitor so he just made up a story and asked for a retake next day. We were on the elevator when I felt his disappointments.

       "I need this job so I could have my treatment for my eyes",  he explained.
            
My friend, whom I met at work two years ago, had already lost connection from his older brother for seven years due to some conflicts. Their parents died yeas ago. So, after years of being independent and now helpless and  hopeless due to his condition, I suggested to go back to his Aunt's house who helped him finance his college.

After a week , he informed me that he was referrered to a volunteer who could already take care of his old records at his hub somewhere in Manila. We waited for almost a month, but nothing really happened.  My worries doubled when he got sore throat, fever and a hoarse voice. I wasn't able to  understand him while talking on the phone and he could no longer even use his cellphone to text because his other sight was really getting  blind. He was not getting any more money help from his aunt because of disappointments and suspecting him of having HIV.  Still, he opted not to disclose. But he noticed his younger cousins and nephews didn't want to hold things that he touched, he has his own utensils,  and he has a separate laundry basket. He felt the stigma inside his aunt's home. He wanted to move back and live alone, but didn't have any more resource left.  I really wanted to help him but I'm also financially incapable at that time. 
Good thing,  he was assisted by his boyfriend, who was sick and sent him money from province for his medication, and fortunately after a week his backpay from his previous company was released. I was able to breath. 

After few months of not hearing anything from him, I was invited by a friend whom I've met in R.I.T.M. to attend a Self Empowerment Training from Love Yourself-ARG (Aids Research Group). He referred me to Tita Beth and got registered. I was excited and at the same time, worried that it would be my first time to disclose my status with PLHIV (People Living With HIV). But then, I conquered my fear. I met different people living with HIV. We shared stories, problems, dilemma's, and even laughter. From that unforgettable day, we developed camaraderie. I was totally empowered.

After few weeks, I asked Philip, counselor and head researcher of RITM,  if I could refer my friend to RITM because nothing was really happening with the my friend's volunteer and the hassle he had been experiencing in his hub. Immediately, I was asked to bring my friend in the RITM Satellite in Leon Guinto, Manila.

That was Sunday morning when I was waiting in front of the clinic when I finally saw my friend again  and being accompanied by her other old Aunt. His Aunt is mute and really old enough to assist him. I thought my friend was getting better but I was wrong,  it totally seemed worsen. I noticed an oral thrush, visible rashes scattered on his neck and skin and  barely can't see me. My friend and his aunt really broke my heart.

So, I asked an advice from Philip and he immediately gave a letter of recommendation to R.I.T.M to have his medical examination as soon as possible. The next day, they proceeded right away to RITM where the test will be conducted. Everything was free. When he got his results,  he was suffering with C.M.V retinitis, tuberculosis, syphilis and skin rashes but his CD4 cells still at 254. He was informed that they would be needing at least 9,000 everyday to treat his eyes.  So they went home a bit disappointed. He was crying when I called him. 

I thought everything would be better. Where in this world we could get 9,000 everyday for his treatment?  Let us say he would undergone treatment for one month, that's 30 days multiplied by 9,000 and that's almost 300,000. 

I contacted some of my friends whom I met from the Self-Empowerment Training. There was one who advised me to call A.R.G ( AIDS Research Group),  so I called Tita Beth about my friend's situation and responded that she would take care to find someone who could be a big help, and it was  (POZZIEPINOY).  That phone call gave us the light we've been searching for. After two days, my friend went back to RITM and finally got admitted.

It took him almost a month to be fully recovered. I was surprised one morning when I received a text from him. 

"Thank you for referring me here in RITM. Just want to let you know that my doctor is so cute. He has a beautiful smile and has red lips. I'm getting crazy here. I can finally see handsome guys. Thank you Lord!"

Though his left eye was not saved, my friend can finally use his phone to text. Not only that, he was visited and reunited with his older brother after seven years of conflict. And his aunt finally accepted him as well. After almost a year, my friend is back on track. He finally got a job without anymore assistance. He has a better vision now on his remaining eye and better vision for his  new life.      

Amidst of  challenges and hopelessness, no words could express how grateful we are  that there are people like you (PozziePinoy) for the Love Fund, Tita Beth from A.R.G., Philip Tanpoco from TLY (The Love Yourself) who contributed to assist, help and share their love to us. It was indeed a DESTINY that I met all of you because of Self Empowerment Training.

  THANK YOU SO MUCH! 



"We cannot do great things on this earth, We can only do small things with great LOVE"
-Mother Teresa

 ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for Me. -Matthew 25:40





"WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER.
NO PLHIV is alone with his or her struggle with HIV!"

-Pozziepinoy-






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