20-year-old Vhay Deimos met a motorcycle accident that dislocated her left eyeball and affected her vision. On February 2, Tzu Chi Foundation sponsored her surgery. Tzu Chi International Medical Association (TIMA) Dr. Frederick Leh waived his professional fee and performed the one-hour operation at the Chinese General Hospital in Manila.
After the surgery, Vhay Deimos’ vision has significantly improved. Along with her parents, she was inspired to pay forward the help by volunteering and donating to Tzu Chi Foundation.
Beauty and brains. That was how family and friends would describe Vhay Deimos. Apart from winning six crowns from various interschool beauty pageants, she is also a consistent dean’s lister. The future looked bright for the 20-year-old Agusan del Sur native until she met a vehicular accident on the first semester of her fourth year in college.
In a blink of an eye, Vhay’s life was turned upside down.
In the afternoon of September 6, 2017 Vhay and five of her classmates were riding separate motorcycles on their way to do a school project. However, one of the drivers suddenly experienced blurry vision and the motorcycle veered off to the left, hitting a wall.Vhay, who was sitting one person behind the driver, fell and hit her face on the concrete road.
When she regained consciousness, she was in the hospital and her face was a mess. Her body was bruised all over. There was a cut on her forehead and her teeth were damaged. Consultations with several doctors also revealed that she dislocated her left eye ball, which affected her vision.
She used to walk with grace and confidence. After the accident, Vhay could barely put one foot in front of the other without fearing a possible fall. Reading and writing also became more challenging.
Seeing their only daughter suffer silently broke the hearts of Vhay’s parents. They sought treatment from doctors after doctors only to be told she needed surgery with a price tag of half a million. The amount is beyond what the family could afford from making and selling banana chips.
Still, Vhay’s mother, Ciryl, remained optimistic. “Although the doctor [in Agusan] told me that the more we delay the surgery, the more it gets dangerous, I didn’t lose hope. I sought help from different people and agencies in our province. I went to the village chief and the city mayor because I really want my daughter to get her vision back,” Ciryl, 43, recalls.
In November 2017, Ciryl’s search led her to Davao City where a fellow jeepney passenger gave her a slip of paper. Written on it was the address of a non-profit organization called Tzu Chi Foundation. She immediately went to the location and brought up the case of her daughter. Local Tzu Chi volunteers in Davao referred her case to Tzu Chi’s Manila office. On January 28, 2018 the family arrived in Manila for Vhay’s surgery.
Tzu Chi International Medical Association (TIMA) Ear, Nose and Throat surgeon Dr. Frederick Leh waived his professional fee and performed the operation on Vhay at the Chinese General Hospital in Manila on February 2. It lasted only an hour.
“Her eyes were trapped and stuck so we opened it up, and released the eye from the [orbit] floor. We found out that her [orbit] floor was destroyed so we have to put in a special material to support the eye. I also restored the bone to its right position by putting a steel plate. Her scars didn’t look nice so I also re-stitched it,” explains Dr. Leh.
Although another surgery is needed after two or more months to level her left eye with her right, Vhay’s vision has significantly improved.
“I can walk on my own. I’m able to read again and I don’t feel dizzy anymore when I make a sudden move. My vision is a lot better now. Ino longer see double,” Vhay happily shares.
Vhay’s parents’ share her gratitude and joy.
“I am very thankful to Tzu Chi because we needed such a huge amount of money for the surgery and Tzu Chi found a way to send us here in Manila and finance the surgery. Although we are only ordinary people, they helped us and made us feel that our existence matters,” shares Ciryl.
Vhay’s father, Zoilo Jr., agrees. “Every day, I prayed that my daughter’s vision and face would go back to normal. Then Tzu Chi came and answered our prayers,” he says.
For all the inconveniences and anxieties that the accident had brought them, the Deimos family came out of it thankful, wiser, and more open-hearted. In fact, the family is planning to work harder in growing their banana chips business. “So that when someone is in need, we can also extend a helping hand,” explains Zoilo Jr.
Vhay, on the other hand, is looking forward to becoming a Tzu Chi volunteer in the future.
“I realized that not all storms can disrupt your life,” muses Vhay. “Some storms are there to clear your path. This experience is just like that. It gave me another perspective in life. I am still lucky and I want to share this second life I was given to also help others.”
Across the Philippines, more patients are waiting to be saved from their suffering. Extend a helping hand for them. Visit http://tzuchi.org.ph/how-to-help/donation/ to learn how you can #HelpTzuChiHelpOthers