July 27, 2023
Young open-heart beneficiary returns as a donor
By Marella Saldonido
The 246th Tzu Chi Medical Mission held from July 20 to 22 at Davao Chong Hua High School was not only an opportunity for Davaoeños to avail of free medical assistance. It also gave former beneficiaries a chance to give back and continue creating a cycle of blessings for those in need.
For mother and son Liu Fang and Sam Anthony Tan, this was not the first time they set foot in the school, as they were also part of the 215th medical mission held at the same venue in 2016.
Sam Anthony, who was only over a year old at the time, was brought to Tzu Chi’s medical mission as a patient. He was born with a heart condition and needed to undergo open-heart surgery, which his family could not afford. Aside from financial constraints, his mother, who had just moved from Hulan, China, to the Philippines, also struggled to communicate her son’s needs as she was unfamiliar with the place and the language. Fortunately, she knew Tzu Chi volunteer Winnie Uy, who assisted her and her son throughout the whole process.
Open-heart surgeries were not offered in the medical mission. However, Tzu Chi volunteers and other Chinese communities such as the Lannang Association, helped raise funds to support her child’s medical expenses.
“I am so thankful to Tzu Chi because they sent my son to the hospital to have a proper checkup and operation,” says Liu Fang. “Now, my son has grown up healthy and I’m so grateful for the help we received from Tzu Chi.”
On the second day of the medical mission, 8-year-old Sam Anthony and his mother returned, not as beneficiaries but as donors. They traveled from 6 to 7 hours from Cagayan de Oro to personally express their sincere gratitude to the Tzu Chi Foundation by making a donation.
Being on the receiving end of Tzu Chi’s help seven years ago inspired them to offer the same kindness and generosity to people who need a helping hand today.
Now, the two were again accompanied by Winnie Uy, who was with them since the operation in April 2017, during the regular checkup with the pediatrics. “What I’m most impressed with during these activities is the Tzu Chi volunteers,” says Liu Fang as she expressed her admiration for the Tzu Chi volunteers’ dedication and selfless acts of service.