A daughter’s cry for mom battling cancer

(September 20, 2016) DUBAI- Jerie Lee Bueno boarded a plane three weeks ago from Manila to Dubai with  a heavily stomping heart unsure of what lies ahead when she arrives here.

Her mother, Divinia is confined at the Dubai Hospital due to complications from Stage 4 breast cancer. For two months, Divinia was hoping to be home in Laguna, the Philippines, to see her mother and children but her conditions worsened before her travel documents and clearances were granted.

Now, she is roughly battling with her illness relying on ventilators and blood transfusions. She complains about pain and difficulty in breathing. She has fluids in her lungs and the doctors said the cancer cells have metastasized to her brain and all over her bones and lungs.


(Supplied photo: Divinia now confined at the Dubai Hospital)

Jerie Lee was unaware of what is happening. She never thought of her mom’s conditions as she was assured that everything is okay although she knew about the mastectomy that happened a year ago. Her mom simply never wanted her to worry .

The only information she had was when her mother told her that about the cysts in 2014 that turned out to be cancerous and after the operation, she never got the chance to undergo chemotherapy due to lack of money and residency status.

(From Divinia’s Facebook Page  during her healthier years and initial operation in 2014)

In January this year, she was not able to walk and became bedridden. She was admitted to the hospital through an emergency call and was given radiation.  However, no charity benefits were available for her due to lack of the necessary legal documents. Friends, relatives, and fellowmen shared a few amount in support of her medication.

Divinia had no idea that her daughter will come to see her. With a faint voice and wide-opened eyes, she asked her,” Bakit nandito ka? (Why are you here?)”   The misty-eyed daughter could not anything but hug and kiss her.

She fully understands her mom’s condition. It is terminal. How she wanted her mom to be freed from pain and agony but she knows she is an innate tough fighter. She is hanging on.


(A screenshot of an appeal for support to Divinia during her present hospitalization Jerie Lee’s shared on her Facebook page . This was the time she learned of the worsening condition of her mother.)

Jerie Lee recalls her mom went abroad when she was 11 years old and her brother was 4 years old; when home when she graduated from high school at the age of 16, and four years after, during her graduation in college. Her mom became the breadwinner of the family when her father lost his job and must look after them while they were growing up.

She gave the best for her children’s education and that was her top goal, her daughter narrated. Despite her struggles in employment and illness, she did everything to provide for the needs of her family.

Now her daughter worries about not only the present but the future that seem bleak.  The hospital bills are accumulating and one of these days, she will bear on her shoulders the responsibilities of taking care of her brother who is still studying in college and her father who is retired from work.

Jerie Lee comes out of the public through this blog and hoping for other media  entities to provide a venue so she can  seek help to sustain her mother’s medical needs. “Hindi ko alam kung hanggang kailan kami dito sa Dubai makikipaglaban. Pangalawang confine na ito n Mama. Lumapit na daw sila sa foundation dito sa Dubai,pero wala naman nagbigay ng financial assistance.. Sa ngayon po ayun yung need namin para sa kanya.Wala kme ipon pareho, naubos na dahil  sa naoperahan at naloko pa si Mama noon. (I don’t know how long  we will be here in Dubai, struggling. This is Mom’s second confinement. They have approached charity foundations here in Dubai but cannot extend her financial assistance (not qualified). Now, this is what we need for her. We do not have savings, all used up for her operation.)


(Supplied photo)

Donasyon, tulong financial, o.kht limos pa yung term para lang maka sustain medical needs nya..hihingiin ko na po sa inyo…maextend lang po buhay nya para makasama p namin siya. (Donation, financial help, or call it al in other terms, just to sustain her medical needs, I will be asking from you, just to extend her life so she can be with us.).

Jerie Lee’s coming to Dubai at this point gave her the opportunity to see her mom after 9 years of missing her. For three weeks now, she is at her mom’s bedside uncertain of time and consequences.)

(Writer’s Note: Please like and share our Facebook Page: Kabayan Cancer Warriors – created to promote awareness of OFWs in Dubai with various kinds of cancer.)





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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