When one day, “Charity” calls you.

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(August 30, 2016) DUBAI-I became a social worker on my own terms when I become unemployed due to “illegal termination” in a free weekly newspaper where I worked as a newswriter cum advertising sales executive.

While undergoing legal processes on my labor case, I knew I had to do something to keep myself busy or I will succumb to hating, cursing, worrying, anxiety and all kinds of madness. So I decided to turn these negativities into something worthwhile or these will defeat my being.

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I met one stage 4 breast cancer patient at the Dubai Hospital, 47 years old, a single mother who raised 2 sons and away from home for many years. For a couple of months, I saw her and her family struggle to fight the disease but it was too late. Her wish to go back to the Philippines and be with her loved ones was not fulfilled.

During that time, it was not only Emilie but there are five other Filipina breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. That moved me to do my part on cancer awareness campaign as a media practitioner. I created the Kabayan Cancer Warrior Facebook page. I diverted my frustrations on helping cancer patients in any way I can. I also volunteered in an annual free Reiki session for cancer patients in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and got a chance to meet cancer survivors and warriors of different nationalities.

(Photo: The battle cry of Kabayan Cancer Warrior volunteers printed on shirts that serve as  campaign material.)

When Emilie passed on, it was also frustrating not only for me but for my friends who helped along the way. We felt our best was not enough. We were caught in the emotional web too.

I was thinking if this will be the first and the last but Michelle Erika came a month after Emilie was gone. Michelle Erika, 27 years old has blood cancer and must undergo bone marrow transplant. She needs to raise a start-up of US$36,000 or US$600,000 for her treatment. While visiting her at the same hospital, I met new set of kabayan undergoing therapy or recently diagnosed with cancer. There was a time I saw a young lady crying at the lobby and I had to look for her to know her conditions. She was diagnosed with stage 2 cancer,and not a benign tumor. Another kabayan with stage 3 breast cancer undergoing chemotherapy was comforting her. I was rattled at seeing them and afraid of meeting some more  in the lobby or rooms of the oncology unit.

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While getting to know Michelle Erika, I also got to know Divinia, 50 years with stage 4 breast cancer. Hers is a complicated condition not only physically but legally. There were legal issues that prevented to her to avail medical treatment. She opted to bear the pain until she was convinced to be hospitalized.

Up to this writing, Michelle Erika and Divinia are both still battling cancer and all the toil that it entails; physically, financially, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. The fight is still on.

I am also in my personal battle. In the confusion of what brought me to this; why am I in this challenging situation of other people when I also have my own set of challenges. I was once asked by a friend on why should I bother myself about this when in fact I am also in a dilemma.

Someone told me that I should  help myself first before I can help others as up to now despite my own struggles of being “jobless” in a foreign land and alone. I could not detach myself from helping. Seeing and being with Stage 4 cancer patients is a not a joke. It is gruelling. I really don’t know, or there must really a reason, as the saying goes, “Everything happens for a reason.”

Until I understand but for now, I have committed to help despite all odds. Yes, there were ties I feel like giving up but when I look at her, I must not.########

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Young Pinay artist blooming in Dubai

(August 20, 2016) DUBAI- She was heard humming by her dad  at the age of two. That was the first sign a talent was born. Her first public singing appearance was at age five when she started schooling .She still remembers the song  -“Reflection,” a theme song of Disney cartoon film, Mulan.

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(Photo by Virgilio Lichauco)

Trixia Galledo, now 11 years old, has paved her solo singing career in the past years by performing at school programs, on private occasions, guesting on public events and local celebrations organized by the Philippine Consulate Office and  private companies held in the United Arab Emirates; either solo or being a member then of young girls band named Gravity.

She attributes her talent to her mom Odessa, who put her to sleep by singing a  lullaby  but her daddy Rodolfo is the main coach. Watching cartoons and listening to nursery rhymes during her infant years also influenced her.

Her kind of music ranges from R & B, Pop Rock, Rap, “except Country” she said with a shy, innocent smile. She admits dancing but a bit, and that she can play the ukelele and piano. Her favorite singer: American singer /songwriter Melanie Martinez who competed at The Voice and Arianna Grande, whose songs hit the US Billboard and music award -giving bodies.2

(Photo by Virgilio Lichauco)

Five years from now, she envisions ” inspiring others by her talent and performing on international stage.” She also dreams of doing stage musical plays. Her inspiration to succeed is a quote from a movie- “…when you have a path that might scare you, take the risk.. you never know what’s going to happen..” To her peer group, she would like to share what she learned; that is, “to do what they love and to do it as an experience and exposure.””

“Trixia is humble. down to earth and practical,” says her mom. “During concerts or gigs that happen mostly on weekends, she balances her time for studying, practicing  and resting. Her schedule until December is full.”

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(Souvenir group photo with Mrs. Dessa Galedo (left) and daughter Trixia Galedo.)

A mother’s advice to the parents, ” motivate and accompany your child towards the passion and talents and give full support. ” You don’t know what comes next.”

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(Photo by Virgilio Lichauco)

Trixia is presently performing in duet with Josh Labing-isa, also a young Filipino talent. Their latest show together was held mid-August at the Holiday Inn Hotel as guest performers at Darcmatter, an adult band’s first concert in Dubai. Watch out  for the announcement of a major concert of the two budding artists.

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(Photo by Virgilio Lichauco)