Wednesday, November 18, 2015

KCAT CAN: Let's touch each other's lives

Ma, may sasabihin ako sa’yo, author na ako.  (Ma, I have to tell you something. I’m now an author). Those were my words to my mom before going to bed the night after my book launch. I was so happy; I still am.

Years ago, some friends suggested that I write a book about my life. Well, maybe someday. Maybe. At that time, I really did not think that it would be possible. In 2008, I came across Yvonne Foong who authored her book, I’m not Sick, Just a bit unwell: Life with Neurofibromatsis. Her outlook in life, her positivity living with Neurofibromatosis has inspired me.

I am going to publish a book. If Yvonne can, I, too, can do it! I am going to tell my story. As I start, I looked back and was amazed of the things I was able to overcome. Little by little, I started writing it down. However, I was not motivated enough and was too lazy to put all my focus on it. I also became accommodated with other things and busy with my column in Manila Bulletin (June 2010 – June 2014), setting aside my manuscript but not the dream of publishing my own book someday.

In November 2014, recent scans of my brain reveled that I had tumors needing of treatment via radiotherapy that would cost half a million pesos. I had to do something. It was right timing, an answered prayer, the idea of compiling my writings for the past 4 years came up. This way, I will be able to sustain my medical needs, treatments, tests and maintenance; sustaining my essential needs and at the same time fulfilling my dream of publishing a book.

I have always believed that if we want something to happen, we have to work hard for it. God helps those who help themselves. Just like the Filipino saying: “nasa Diyos ang awa, nasa tao ang gawa.” God provided. I did what I can and He sent people to help me accomplish my dream. Indeed, we can make our dreams come true! It may have took me a year or even 4 years accumulating all my published articles. It was not at all easy but I persevered. In the end, it was all worth it!

KCAT CAN: I have a pen that writes

A life written in permanent ink. Every chapter, each page filled with concrete experiences. As I write it all down, mistakes cannot be erased. There is no turning back.

This is the life that I'm living - a life permanently written. As I take the path each day, I am confident that I am on the right track. For these are not at all in vain, God guides. He is the guideline in my story called life.

...and because of Him, I CAN!

November 14, 2015. As Jet Ramos started with program, I suddenly felt surreal. I froze for a while and told myself, “This is MY book launch.” I wasn’t just an attendee of someone’s book launching but it’s my book. Wow!  The book launch was a success. Most of the people who attended told me that they all had a good time. I was out of words and all I can think was: THANK YOU. Yes, in capital letters.

Here is the video of my Thank you message during the program.

Please support, Like and Share KCAT CAN: I have a pen that writes on Facebook.
For orders, please fill up an order form at

It is on Goodreads too and an eBook version will also be available SOON.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Friday, October 30, 2015

KCAT CAN ...I have a book that inspires!

As I was looking at the proof copy of my book in front of me, I suddenly felt the creeps and had goosebumps all over my body then in my mind, I shouted, “ANG GALING!”

Like you, I am very amazed with myself. I’m not bragging or something pero ang galing talaga! As in. Never in my life did I imagine the things I have done (and still doing), which I won’t enumerate.  Super nakakatuwa!

In 2008, after reading Yvonne Foong’s book about her life NF, I told my mom that I was really inspired by her and want to write my own book too. But how? I didn’t know how but I stated writing my story anyway. Fast forward to 2010, Angelo Garcia offered me a weekly column in at the youth section of Manila Bulletin (Students & Campuses). I was able to write 111 articles from June 5, 2010 to June 23, 2014.

 In November 2013, after Dr. Gaudencio Vega (Radiation Oncology), explained about the radiation treatment I’ll be needing to treat the tumors on both my optical wall and a 4-centimeter tumor in my brain, we were presented with an estimated price quotation and it’s more than half a million pesos. I suddenly thought of republishing my previous columns I’ve written for the past three years and put it in a book.

In this way, I’ll be able to continuously raise more funds to sustain my medical needs while sharing my life with others.

I had a lightbulb moment right then and there. I kept on saying that I publish a book when we reached home, I immediately turned on my computer and started doing the book.

After almost a year, it is finally done. As they say, Self-publishing is not as easy as it looks but it is REALLY REALLY REALLY WORTH IT! Thanks to my mom and my sister, Talitha (who is also my editor) I was able to do it!

I am inviting you to the launching of my book, KCAT CAN – I have a pen that writes on November 14, 2015 at Googel Restaurant in Mandaluyong City at 4:00 pm (we’ll be there until 8pm).

I believe that through this book, I will be able to help and inspire you while helping me sustain my endless medical expenses.

My book won’t be available in any bookstore and you can only buy it from me. It will be available after the launch and you will be able to find it on my website and FB pages (KCAT CAN - I have a pen that writesI AM KCATArt Ah Tack). I assure you that your P450.00 will be worth it!

Like and follow
on Facebook for more updates.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

9th MAY Birthday Project 2015 was a success!

The month of May is over but the happy memories it brought us will always remain, especially of the 9th MAY Birthday Project 2015.

Even though I only started campaigning for the project a month before the actual event, a lot of help still came pouring and made it possible to continue with this charity event....and more!

May 16, 2015 – 9th MAY Birthday Project 2009

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

I'm thirTyEEN two!

I’m a great believer of the words “nothing is impossible” but before hoping for the impossible, I believe we should do the things that are possible, those little things that we can do – even though we think that these are just too small, trivial and insignificant. With that in mind, I am able to reach out and share via MAY Birthday Project, which is now on its 9th year. I am able to raise funds and pay for my endless medical expenses. I am able to meet and find a lot of persons with Neurofibromatosis (NF) who are living in the country and was able to achieve my dream of putting up a support group (NFFriends) for us. I am able to inspire more people by living my ordinary life, extraordinarily well. I am not doing something great, I’m just doing what I want, what I can and what I believe in while enjoying the beauty of life.

I believe that my 32 years of existence here on earth is very meaningful and I will definitely do more. Happy Birthday, Kcat!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Yes, there is MAY Birthday Project 2015 on May 16 (My birthday wish)

During Pope Francis’ visit in the country, he said, "You know how to give but you have not yet learned how to receive. Become a beggar. To learn how to receive with humility, to learn how to be evangelized by the poor. Do you know that you too are poor?"

My mom and I were blessed to be one of the PWD delegates who were there, just below the stage, a few feet away from him.

My mom relayed to me what Pope Francis said about giving and receiving and I silently said, “Thank you Lord” because I believe that I know how to do both.

(click to enlarge)

Once again I’m going to be celebrating my birthday next month and since 2007, I vowed that as long as I’m having a birthday, there’ll be MAY Birthday Project and it’s going to be our 9th this year.

I had radiotherapy that treated the tumors on both side of my optical wall and if left untreated, it can cause me blindness someday. My mom was hospitalized due to Pneumonia and her Lupus, she became so weak that time. Everyone in our home (my mom, dad, brother, sister and me) were all barking with cough and flu at one point, I even had a fever. I need to have a brain tumor treated with radiation soon coz it’s compressing a brainstem and it’s affecting my balance; I want to practice walking again but with that untreated big bad brain tumor, I can’t. But still, I feel so blessed!

I’m rich not with material things but with people in my life. This is the main purpose of this project: I want to share my blessings who I call family and friends. For 8 years, we have successfully reached out using our hands and hearts while giving joy and hope to the patients of a couple of charity wards at Philippine General Hospital (PGH). But since my mom and I can’t be exposed to hospital environment right now, we won’t be doing it at PGH this time. Intead were doing it at Laura Vicuña Foundation with a couple of street kids.  This foundation is run by Daughters of Mary Help of Christian (FMA). Yes, the Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco who taught me about God and life with Him during my eleven years at Don Bosco School – Manila.

From their website
The Laura Vicuña Foundation, Inc. which was organized in 1990 is a noble partnership between the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (more popularly known as the Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco) and some distinguished lay professionals/collaborators to address the needs and problems of streetchildren. The Foundation aims to ensure continuity and convergence of educational and development interventions to empower children to become honest, productive and self-reliant Christian citizens. It has evolved an integrated development program called the JOURNEY OF HOPE.

Actually, I saw an image of Blessed Laura Vicuña in 2006. Maybe it’s true, maybe I was just imagining it, but whatever that is, it reminded me of her words, “Suffer silently, smile always” coz that was the time I when I kept on complaining, before my anxiety attack and I needed those words that time.

Anyway, what’s a birthday without a birthday wishlist, so here it goes:
• Toiletries (soap, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, powder, etc.)
• Canned goods or something like that like noodles, etc.
• Candies & Treats (candies, chocolates, cupcakes, cookies, etc.)
• School supplies (the kids are all in elementary)
• Toys & Stuffed Toys
• Cash (for the foods, to make the event more fun & extra special)

We’re planning to hold a party and activities for the kids to put an endless smile on their face & hearts. Let’s make a fun & successful event not only for the kids, but also for us!

So please give me a gift on my birthday. Please contact me at 0915-1325228 (mobile & viber) / 0923-5219600 or my mom, Madge Yarza at 0927-2459400.

We can only do meet-ups in Kalentong or Hypermarket in Shaw Blvd. I can also ask my sister to meet you at MRT Shaw station at around 4pm, after her work. You can also bring it here in our home or have it shipped (We don’t really have a partner courier though). For cash donations, you can send it at BPI, Paypal or through any money transfers.

BPI Express
Savings Account # 1899 394 7 51
Name: Maria Kathrina L. Yarza


Deadline of sending your gifts / donation is on my birthday, May 13 since we’ll have to repack the collected items.

I’m not sure yet how many kids there’ll be, all I know is they won’t reach 150. But every year whenever we have excess loots, we donate it somewhere else coz there’s always someone who needs our help.

Wanna join us on the event? Sure you can! It’s going to be on May 16 – Saturday, 2pm at Don Bosco School in Sta. Mesa, Manila. More details soon. :) For now, please help us in making my birthday wish come true.

"We're not rich naman, so we won't be able to fund the whole thing without everyone's help.. salamat! Super happy talaga ako when I saw them na tuwang-tuwa pati na yung mga bantay nila.. Hehe. Para akong candidate sa election while i was roaming around.. wala nga lng shake hands, we're reaching out.. Kahit na I'm not a politician, celebrity or someone famous/influential to do that kind of stuff.. Go pa rin! Baket ba? gusto ko lng.."  — Kcat, MBP 2007
"Ang saya kasi eh! I always say, I may not be able to smile, but I'm happy.. Super happy! Even though my vision is kinda blurry and it's difficult to see from afar, I can still recognize the smile on their faces and it really really brings so much joy whenever I see it. Every ward was filled with smiling faces, both the giver and the receiver.. Ang saya! Promise." — Kcat, MBP 2008

"I kept fighting and living, and I'm a lot better now.. Yes I'm still sick, but I'm feeling great! Being sick doesn't mean you have to become, look, and feel sick. Ayun, I hope I gave them HOPE (ang redundant) to keep fighting & living.. Kasi nga LIFE is matter what!" — Kcat, MBP 2009

"I got to share my blessings again.. Those blessings were not exactly the stuff that we gave them, but those who gave it — our families and friends (or friends of friends of friends...). They are my greatest blessing, along with my faith. I got to show them how my faith gives me hope. Habang may buhay, my pag-asa.. " — Kcat, MBP 2010
"All in all, it is a tiring yet a fun-filled day. I may not be able to hear the people who wished me a “happy birthday” and said their “thank you” while going around, but I was able to see and feel how happy they were." — Kcat, MBP 2011

"Before the event, a few people told me of their interest to join the event, but they were hesitant because they were coming alone. I encouraged them to come because our purpose for joining the event are all the same. Indeed, many friendships bloomed because of the event. No one went home without gaining a newfound friend." — Kcat, MBP 2012
"The event was so tiring especially because of the very hot weather. It was really exhausting, but with all the smiles and happiness that had been passed around, I must say that it was all worth it!" — Kcat, MBP 2013

Family, friends, friends of friend, friends of friends of friends and so on — all of these people are called blessings; blessings that we share on MAY Birthday Project." — Kcat, MBP 2014

Here's a video of last year's event (video by Jbphoto)
Kcat Yarza's May Birthday Project 2014 from Jbphoto on Vimeo.

You can also read my previous articles about MAY Birthday Project
No reason not to be joyful (2011-04-25)
Blessings shared (2011-06-06)
Still glad to be 'Sick' (2012-03-19)
The merry month of May (2012-05-28)
Have the heart to care and share (2013-03-18)
A birthday like no other (2013-05-27)
Choose Happiness (2014-03-17)
The best birthday treat (2014-05-26)

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

I'll find out soon

"eat right, read christopher right"

then I woke up.. I tried to google the name if he really has  book & indeed, he's an author that mostly speaks about the bible

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Welcome to the Philippines, Pope Francis!

The real Francis, I'm a regular human being, but they are making me a celebrity, a star. That’s not me. I know that the preparations are in full swing for my visit. I do not want to be the focus of the pastoral visit -- Jesus should be the focus” — Pope Francis

Last year, when I learned about Pope Francis’ upcoming visit to the country, I told God that I wanted to see him, but of course everyone wants to see him too and there’s no way for me to easily see him coz a lot of people will be there and it’ll be hard. I told God that it’s okay if I won’t be able to see him in person, knowing that we’ll be on the same country, on the same land, is already enough. I’ll just follow the updates on TV and via internet.

I decided that I won’t tell anyone about my wanting to see Pope Francis. Basta wag na. I never told anyone that really wanted too, excerpt for God.

January 11, I suddenly woke up because my phone vibrated at 7:34 am. I don’t usually wake up from my vibrating cellphone but I did. I didn’t open my eyes to check the message though. I just took a peak at the time – past 7 am, I’m still sleepy. I can’t removed the tape on my eyes means I need to wake up and clean my very dry eyes & I need to wake up someone to help me pee, so I’ll just continue with my dream. Maybe it’s just one of the infotext from Globe or Sun…..but it’s not!

When I woke up at 11 am, I froze from happiness…

Then I realized, this is the reason why God woke me up that early. Dra. Becky from our PWD Parish Ministry asked me if I wanted to be one of the delegates at Pope Francis’ encounter with the Youth and the PWD at UST on January 18 and I like it very much!!!!!

Why do I want to meet Pope Francis?  Does that even need an answer? Of course everyone wants to meet him. Period.

But I also have my reasons. Before he was elected as Pope, I kept on ranting to Michelle (during our walking exercises) about how “hopeless” the church is getting…and then Pope Francis became Pope! He never fails to amaze! Right? And there’s more: He kissed and hugged a person with Neurofibromatosis
(NF). It really means a lot to us. It’s comforting. It really touched our hearts. It’s like telling us that he’s on our team too. Kakampi natin siya!

If there’s a person whom you look up to or someone who you believe has the same outlook as you, same as the things you're doing, same beliefs, of course you want to meet him/her regardless of who that person is. I have a list of people I wanted to meet and Pope Francis is on top of that list (Abhie & Jen, you used to be on that list, seryoso)

Everything he does is just so amazing but he never fails to remind us that it’s God wh
o’s using him to reach out to people. Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc.

And now I would like to give the blessing. But first I want to ask you a favour. Before the Bishop blesses the people I ask that you would pray to the Lord to bless me – the prayer of the people for their Bishop. Let us say this prayer – your prayer for me – in silence.” — Pope Francis

Saturday, November 08, 2014

3 bad tumors: Please help me shoo them away!

 photo MRI1_zpsc5f7c0cc.jpg  photo MRI2_zps7dab5bd2.jpg  photo MRI3_zpsed369f26.jpg

MRI scan results are out and it’s 3 pages long! Meningioma. Schwannomas. Lesions. Mass. Soft tissue. Irregular. Abnormal enhancement. Definite progression. Tumors, tumors and more tumors all over my cranial MRI. Aside from the 4cm big bad brain tumor, there are also tumors on my optical wall (on each side) that needs to be treated. That’s 3 bad tumors! Hopefully the other tumors will remain small and behave forever!

It’s Hypofractionated Stereotactic Radiation Therapy (SRT) times two that costs Php 593,450.00  and we need to raise it within this month.

Here’s the copy of the estimated price quotation we got from Medical City (the only hospital in the country that has this kind of treatment) – the red marks are the discount.

Here’s the plan according to Dr. Vega (radiation oncologist):

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I'm a bosconian. Proud Bosconian!

Here it is. My speech during last Sunday's DBS Grand Homecoming. My mom read this coz I can write (and I have A LOT to share), but I can't deliver it. But still, I CAN! It's 3-pages long, size 14 Calibri font, narrow margin, single space and it's focused on just one topic. Haha. Ako na ang madaldal! :P

Very short intro
I copied a couple sentences from of my previous articles & writings, should I sue myself of plagiarism? LOL.

Read on.

I am Maria Kathrina Lopez Yarza. I am known as Kcat to everyone, but most of my DBS friends call me Tack. I belong to the pioneer batch, DBS Batch 2000. It is really a great honor to be sharing my story with you, my fellow Past Pupils. Thank you so much for making me a part of this.

Our home is our first venue of learning; the second is our school. After studying nursery school at a learning center near our home, I was ready to study in a bigger school for my preparatory schooling.  My parents learned that there was a newly opened Don Bosco School in Manila for girls, and since my dad and my mom’s brothers were Bosconians, they were eager to enroll me here. I was accepted and I was lucky to become one of the first batch of students in DBS way back in 1989 and proud to be one of the first graduates in year 2000.

In those eleven years, I thought I was only here to study, study, and study. I have learned a lot, but not only lessons from textbooks, but DBS also taught me about life: what life is, how to value life and how to live it well, not by myself, but together with everyone. And all these form a big part of who I am today.
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