Fourteen years after Jayvo San Jose underwent surgeries in Taiwan, Tzu Chi volunteers visited him on July 18 at his home in Naga, Camarines Sur to follow up on his health condition. The volunteers also brought grocery items for the family.
Fourteen years since he underwent surgeries at the Tzu Chi Hospital in Dalin, Taiwan, Jayvo San Jose is now all grown up – a far cry from his first doctors’ prognosis that he could only live for about a week.
Jayvo was born with multiple congenital anomalies namely hydrocephalus, cleft lip and palate, and deformed fingers in his hands and feet. Tzu Chi volunteers met him during one of their hospital visits at the Philippine Children’s Medical Center in Quezon City in 2004. His condition prompted the volunteers to immediately arrange his operation in Taiwan.
In Dalin, the medical team that handled Jayvo’s case did not gave up. As a result, Jayvo survived and is now 16 years old.
On July 18, 2018 Tzu Chi volunteers, led by Conchita Tan, paid a visit to the San Jose family in Barangay Calabanga in Naga, Camarines Sur. Conchita had accompanied Jayvo and his mother, Marlyn, throughout their stay in Taiwan during the surgery.
Upon seeing Conchita, Marlyn ran to embrace her.
“It had been so long,” they both greeted each other.
Jayvo was listless but when he heard the voice of volunteer Conchita, a smile of recognition broke upon his face.
It was 2010 when Conchita last visited the family. In 2014, Marlyn brought Jayvo to Manila once again because he started having seizure attacks. Tzu Chi arranged for his consultations with the doctor and provided his needed medicines.
During their present visit, the volunteers found out that Jayvo took his father’s passing seriously.
“He was very close to his father,” shared Marlyn. “They often talked and played. He was the one who took care of him most of the time.”
But in March 2018, Jayvo’s father succumbed to multiple organ failure. Consumed by sorrow, the poor boy grew morose and is no longer as active as he once was.
The fact that his family could not regularly provide his needed medicines also made things worse. At present, it is Jayvo’s older sister, Jovelyn, who supports them. 25-year-old Jovelyn works as a helper in a parlor, earning Php100 a day. For an additional income, she also offers massage services.
However hard Jovelyn works, the money she earns is just enough for food. Often, they could not afford to bring Jayvo to his regular checkups, much less buy his medications.
“Whenever he is not able to take his medicines, his seizures attack almost four times in one night,” said Marlyn. “He grows so weak and I pity him so much.”
Marlyn had also stopped offering manicure and pedicure services. Twenty-four hours a day, she said, is not even enough to look after Jayvo and her three grandchildren from Jovelyn, who is a single mother.
In their state, the gifts that the Tzu Chi volunteers have brought were most welcome blessings.
Before heading to the family’s home, the volunteers passed by the supermarket to buy milk and grocery items for Jayvo and his family. Along with clothes, slippers, and other household essentials, these painted a big smile on Marlyn’s face.
The volunteers also spent time with Jayvo. They noticed that his muscles are stiff so they taught Marlyn how to massage his legs and arms to ease his discomfort.
Due to his deformed fingers, Jayvo continues to depend upon his mother to eat, and he still couldn’t speak intelligibly.
According to Marlyn, she tried enrolling Jayvo to a special class but they were rejected because of his many limitations.
Seeing the situation of the little boy after many years was bittersweet for Tzu Chi volunteer Conchita. She emphasized the importance of visiting Jayvo more frequently so as to monitor his progress and future needs.
“His fingers needed to be operated as well so that he can make use of them. If not, I am worried about what might happen to him when his mother leaves this world,” said Conchita.
As the volunteers said their goodbyes, Marlyn gave them a box of papayas. It was all that the family could afford to give, but for the volunteers they are the most precious fruits they have ever received.