Wednesday, Nov 21

Measuring the depth of a mother’s love

October 14, 2016 | Bea Velasco

To wrap their brief visit with the Baltazar family, Tzu Chi volunteers posed for a photo op with the said family and raised their thumbs, as a sign of graceful ending to their meeting. Hoping for speedy recovery for Christian Carl Baltazar (center), the volunteers expressed their sincere words of encouragement to the family. 【Photo by Bea Velasco】

Story Highlights

  • Tzu Chi volunteers have visited a 14-year old Chronic Kidney Disease patient residing in Pateros, Manila.

  • The patient relies only upon his deceased father’s pension and on different financial help coming from numerous foundations.

 

Christian Carl Baltazar, like any other normal teenager, is now in the phase when the promises and possibilities of adolescence are slowly unfolding right before his eyes. Lingering between the final stage of his childhood and the basic phase of young adulthood, the 14-year old pubescent is now being presented with choices of how he can fully maximize his life. This thought could have been very idealistically wonderful, except for the fact that the young Baltazar has something in him that drags him from fully living his youth. 

In 2011, then 6-year old Baltazar was diagnosed of Chronic Kidney Disease.  Right there and then, he started going through his daily dose of peritoneal dialysis, in hopes of extending his life and temporarily bring cure to his ailing organ.

Up to this moment, Baltazar has never missed a single dialysis session, causing his kidneys to get a bit better. But, due to the strong effects of his medications, he has accumulated dangerous amounts of chemical toxins, resulting to the growing failure of his heart.

“I do my dialysis myself. At first, it was painful, but I’ve been doing this since I can remember,” says Baltazar. “Most of the time, I just have to get used to the pain to endure it.”

Christian’s mother, Rizza Baltazar, feels every bit of her son’s suffering. As she watches how his sickness robs him of his youth, Rizza couldn’t help but feel pity over her son’s deteriorating condition.

“The doctor advised us that the best way to cure his sickness is to conduct a kidney transplant operation, and as his mother, I am very much willing to be his donor. But, as much as I want to donate to him my kidney, we can’t because we don’t have the money for the said operation,” says 41-year-old Rizza, a single mother.

To support her son’s medication and to provide her family’s daily needs, Rizza heavily relies on her earnings as a rug peddler and on her deceased husband’s pension. But, the money she gets from her efforts remains inadequate for Christian’s medication, which is, in average, amounts to over Php 30, 000 to Php 40, 000 a month.

“If I get to earn enough money for us, it will be quickly spent on Christian’s medicine. Even my daughter’s salary goes directly to his needs. His sickness is too financially demanding that’s why sometimes I have to skip meals just to save money for his medication,” adds Rizza.

 

Saving what’s left from his youth

Upon hearing of Christian’s predicament, Tzu Chi volunteers conducted a home visit activity. It has only been four days since his mother knocked for help on Tzu Chi’s door.

Surprised with the volunteers’ abrupt presence, the Baltazar family felt an overwhelming gratitude, especially upon opening the relief goods that the volunteers have brought with them. Some grocery items, a 10-kilo of rice, and four vials of Epoetin were given to the family last October 14.

“I am very happy that Tzu Chi has visited us here and checked upon my son’s condition,” shares Rizza. “The urgency of their response really overwhelms us. We have never been treated like this before.”

Upon seeing the condition of the patient, Tzu Chi volunteer Rosalinda Legarde cannot help but think about her own kids. As a mother, she understands the pain of Christian’s mother, and admires her for her unwavering strength.

“It really broke my heart when I saw Christian Carl’s condition. At his early age, he should be in school, enjoying his youth, but instead, he’s here, confined due to his sickness. The kind of strength her mother exerts is very incomparable,” says the 44-year old volunteer.”

As for the patient’s mother, she still clings to the hope that someday, Christian would have a chance to live normally, but for now Rizza can only continue offering all of her in place of everything that was robbed from her son.

  • Christian Carl Baltazar shows to the Tzu Chi volunteers the part where he inserts his tube whenever he needs to conduct his dialysis. Every day, the young patient has to dialysis himself for about four times. 【Photo by Bea Velasco】

  • Rizza Baltazar carefully cleans and disinfects Christian’s apparatus before starting his dialysis. 【Photo by Bea Velasco】

  • Since 2011, all the Baltazar family can do to extend the life of their youngest member is to continuously conduct dialysis sessions every day. 【Photo by Bea Velasco】

  • On a daily basis, Christian consumes four drain bags of peritoneum, each having 1 liter of the said medication. In a week, the family spends about Php 7,980, excluding Christian’s other medicines. 【Photo by Bea Velasco】

  • At his young age, Christian is currently taking other medicines to neutralize his blood pressure and to delay the enlargement of his heart. 【Photo by Bea Velasco】

  • As a single mother, Rizza Baltazar supports her son’s medical bills by processing all the documents needed by good-willed foundations that sponsor Christian’s needs, and by peddling hand rugs. 【Photo by Bea Velasco】

  • Upon visiting, Tzu Chi volunteers have surprised the Baltazar family with some groceries, a 10-kilo of rice, and four vials of Epoetin. 【Photo by Bea Velasco】

  • The family excitedly unwrapped their blessings with wide smiles and grateful hearts. 【Photo by Bea Velasco】

  • The Baltazar family chooses to push on with life with a large dose of contagious positivism instead of dwelling in hopelessness. 【Photo by Bea Velasco】