"...There are a lot of people who have disabilities but are still capable of succeeding in life by doing everything that they could; and I am one of them! I may not excel in anything, but I have touched lives. I am able to share my talents. I am able to bring joy to people’s hearts. And the most important of all, I am able to know how to live with gratitude, contentment, happiness and courage in the face of many struggles and challenges. I am disabled, but I am surely, definitely and undoubtedly able!..."
No reason not to be joyful
by Maria Kathrina Lopez Yarza
April 25, 2011
MANILA, Philippines — I had an open-head surgery two weeks ago, and it was a success! The tumor that was causing my right eye to bulge out was removed completely, without complications, I had the fastest recovery. Post-surgery, I didn't feel any pain in my head nor weakness. In five days, my doctor Dr. Willy Lopez discharged me from the hospital. God is so great!
My mom and I were amazed at everything that has happened. I told her that I better write this article when I got home because if I didn’t, people/readers might think that I might have died! We both laughed.
Truthfully, there really is no reason for me not to write since I am fine and I feel better. I am an "able disable" and letting disability stop me from living a worthwhile and joyful life.
One of my most talented friends, Joel Tangunan, has a flabby and crippled right hand and has been moving around in a wheelchair since childhood. His deformed right hand may seem useless but this very hand creates beautiful music, songs that he arranges and composes for weddings, graduations, and other occasions, inspiring songs that talk about life, love and society in general. Despite his disability and the many obstacles he encounters, Joel continues to live, move on, and make productive use of his God-given talent.
Len Pacis, 23, has a mild case of cerebral palsy since birth. As she was growing up, her parents didn’t make her feel any different. She didn’t have any insecurities and she studied in a regular school from elementary until she got a college degree in Psychology. She then got into medical school amid apprehension that her disability might cause her to lose her admission. But she learned that people in the medical world are non-judgmental. As long as you are capable of handling all the demands of studying, they do not look-down on disability. After a year in medical school, Len took a leave of absence and a trading business which has become successful. She’s planning to go back to school though.
Kenneth, 12, is suffering from Morquio syndrome. It is a metabolic disorder wherein he inherited defective genes from his parents. He manifests abnormal development of bones including a bell-shaped chest with ribs flared out at the bottom, coarse facial features, large head, widely spaced teeth, loss of nerve functions below the neck, etc. He is hooked to a ventilator 24/7 for almost a decade now. Yet, Kenneth always wears a bright smile despite the difficulties. He excels in solving math problems and creates his own artworks. I always remember our second meeting during my gift-giving at PGH. Kenneth handed me a letter that he personally wrote and I was so touched! Even though he is in a difficult pain, he smiles a lot, spreading joy to everyone. At a young very young age, he already knows about faith and optimism, and that is what I love about Kenneth most.
There are a lot of people who have disabilities but are still capable of succeeding in life by doing everything that they could; and I am one of them! I may not excel in anything, but I have touched lives. I am able to share my talents. I am able to bring joy to people’s hearts. And the most important of all, I am able to know how to live with gratitude, contentment, happiness and courage in the face of many struggles and challenges. I am disabled, but I am surely, definitely and undoubtedly able!
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Able to share
My birthday is coming on May 13 and for five years now, I have been celebrating it at Philippine General Hospital, which I refer to as MAY Birthday Project, a gift-giving event with the kids at Pedia Charity Wards, Neurosurgery, and Pedia ICU. As a birthday gift, I always ask my friends to gift me with toiletries and toys, to be packed and give to these patients. It is my way of sharing my greatest blessing, my friends. I am also able to give them hope and share my faith especially that I could easily tell them, “I feel for you” because I am sick as well. Those blank and sad faces of the patients and guardians in the wards always become bright and happy after. Indeed, happiness is how you share it, because knowing that it was a success is a big fulfillment. If you wish to be part of MAY Birthday Project on 2011, please get in touch with my mom, Madge, at 09272459400 for donations of tissue, alcohol, cotton, powder, soap, diapers and other necessities and toiletries, and also toys to give the kids something to play with because it is really boring to stay in the hospital. Just let us know if you want to personally join us in the event. It is very tiring, but it’s all worth it.