VIGA, Catanduanes — Eight-year-old Jerika Tubolto has cerebral palsy, but she is not different from other kids her age. She has a bright and cheerful smile that would captivate anyone.
She is the youngest of Santiago and Aileen’s eight children. They make a living by selling chicharon and earning a measly 150 pesos a day. Their earnings are clearly not enough to even buy vitamins for their children.
Despite her daughter’s condition, Aileen did not abandon Jerika. “She is not a burden. We draw strength from her, and she’s a blessing from God,” she said.
Going places can be physically tiring for Jerika. If she is not able to crawl on her knees, she is carried by either her father or mother.
To relieve them from their plight, Operation Blessing gave Jerika a wheelchair during a medical mission in their village. She is one of the four beneficiaries of a wheelchair distribution project in the island province of Catanduanes.
PHOTOS: Browse our Catanduanes medical mission photo gallery HERE.
In partnership with Free Wheelchair Mission, an international non-government organization, Operation Blessing is able to give hope to our differently-abled kababayans all over the country by providing them new wheelchairs.
When Aileen saw the wheelchair for her daughter, she suddenly broke into tears. “I thank God for this. I’ve been praying for this to happen for years!”
Now Jerika doesn’t have to crawl on the ground anymore. She can now move around and will be able to go outside more often.
That day, her family went home from the medical mission with smiles on their faces. They came only for free medical checkups, but were able to get something more. Jerika was blessed not with just a brand new wheelchair but also with a new reason to enjoy life. | by Bryan Arquiza, Operation Blessing
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