Home Missions Medicine Medicine News A father’s infinite love for his two visually impaired sons

A father’s infinite love for his two visually impaired sons

Wednesday, 09 August 2017 11:11 AM | ARTICLE BY | Luisa Cabato
From left to right: Tzu Chi volunteers, Edel, his father Edgardo, and his older brother Charles show their gratitude to Tzu Chi. Edel Christian underwent a successful cataract removal operation on his right eye on August 9 at the University of Santo Tomas Hospital. Edgardo is looking forward for Edel’s left eye operation while Charles is still under observation. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】

Story Highlights

  • Edel Christian Roa, 5, underwent a successful cataract removal operation on his right eye last August 9, 2017 at the University of Santo Tomas Hospital. His father, Edgardo, asked for Tzu Chi Foundation’s help since he only earns Php200 a day and cannot afford to have his son checked by a private doctor.
  • They are waiting for his left eye’s operation schedule while his sibling Charles Adrian, who also has cataract on both eyes and an intellectual disability is under observation.

A father will do everything for his children. He will face life challenges with great courage and conquer battles to save his loved ones from despair.

A simple street sweeper from Rodriguez (Montalban), Rizal dreams a brighter future for his two sons suffering from cataracts. Edgardo Roa, 48, strives to survive everyday life through cleaning the streets and collecting garbage on his free time. He lost his job as a foreman in 2012 after a stroke, which resulted in mobility problems.

The local government’s program for persons with disability gave him the sweeping job.

“I can really see that Edgardo looks for ways to provide for his children and he doesn’t use his children’s incapability to beg in the streets. We are helping them because they really need it and most especially, he shows efforts on making his sons’ lives at least good and comfortable,” says Erica Camacho-Baccay, a municipal social worker in Rodriguez.

His wife abandoned them four years ago, Edgardo was left in their crumbling house looking after his sons. Their former house, built through his income as a foreman in the past, got washed away by Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana) in 2009. He was forced to build a shelter made from used wood, tarpaulin, and bamboo sticks since he has no money to build a more decent one.

Despite his suffering, he kept finding ways to cure his sons and provide them a better life in the future. Edel and Charles already underwent cataract removal operation four years ago through a TV station, but they need another operation once they reach five and six years old, respectively.

Edgardo found out about the free eye checkup service from Tzu Chi Foundation from another TV station, which replied to his pleas for help for his children. He brought his sons to the Tzu Chi Great Love Campus in Sta. Mesa, Manila on June 23. They received advice for the next steps. The father received a pair of eyeglasses for his slightly unclear vision.

It is not easy to be a single parent and Edgardo sometimes feel like giving up due to the problems beset on Edel and Charles as they grow up. But his unmeasurable love for his children prevailed.

“I was really hurt when my wife left us and almost lost hope. But I clung onto God and surrendered everything to Him. I am able to survive my everyday life because of my children. I cannot lose my drive to live because my sons are depending on me,” says Edgardo.

After a long wait, Edel underwent a successful operation on his right eye on August 9 at the University of Santo Tomas Hospital. Tzu Chi International Medical Association (TIMA) ophthalmologist Catherine Macaraig took the lead in Edel’s road to clear eyes.

The loving father’s dream is slowly turning into reality. He took a leave from work to look after Edel since he needs complete attention and rest after the operation.

They are still waiting for the schedule of Edel’s left eye operation as of this writing.

“This happiness is so overwhelming because I can see the comfort that my son experiences because of the cataract removal operation. Despite our hardships in crossing the river just to get in to the hospital, I really pushed through finding ways for my children because it is for their future. I always persevere on taking care of them because I’m a single parent and they depend only on me,” says Edgardo.

Meanwhile, Charles received a pair of eyeglasses for the time being. If no improvement in his eyesight occurs within the next two months, he would be scheduled for an operation.

Edgardo says he may not give his sons a comfortable and fancy life, but his love for them will remain beyond his limited life. Edgardo feels overwhelming happiness because Tzu Chi Foundation does not stop on doing its best to remedy his sons’ eyesight.

Last Updated: Wednesday, 09 August 2017 11:11 AM

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