TIBIAO, Antique — Nine years ago, Gemma Maluna gave birth to a beautiful baby girl she named Genieva. Two weeks later, her baby contracted a fever and suffered a convulsion. From then on, the mother and daughter lived through what seemed to be a nightmare.
Genieva suffered all kinds of illnesses from LBM to pneumonia, until she was finally diagnosed with cerebral palsy. This meant that the infant became open to a range of disorders that involved most brain and nervous system functions.
When she was three years old, Genieva fell into a weeklong coma that started with a simple fever.
“I just want her to survive,” Gemma said simply while she tells their story. At one point, her daughter moaned, and as a mother who knows the exact meaning of each sound her child makes, she pulled out a milk bottle and started struggling with feeding Genieva.
Gemma, now 44, has spent the last years never leaving her daughter’s side. “When she was younger, we wanted to have her undergo pediatric rehabilitation, but we did not have money. For the past years, I have carried Genieva everywhere, and I cannot leave her alone. This is difficult because I also need to help earn for my family.”
She added, “My husband is a laborer, and it is not enough. We have to be able to work together.”
When Gemma heard that Operation Blessing was coming to Antique, she decided to take a leap of faith.
“We have not been able to see a doctor for four years. I was told that very little could be done and that there would be no wheelchairs, but still, I wanted to come. This is the first time that I have heard of a medical mission coming into our community.”
Gemma’s faith was answered with blessings. Genieva received a place in Operation Blessing’s feeding program, as well as a new wheelchair from Operation Blessing and Free Wheelchair Mission. | contributed by Pamela Imperial
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