Olympian Ian “Yan-yan” Lariba is scheduled to undergo bone marrow transplant today at the Saint Luke’s Hospital in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.
The 22-year old Lariba, a two-time University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Athlete of the Year, was diagnosed with leukemia during the last phase of her training for the World Championship in Germany in May.
She is the first Filipino table tennis player to compete in the Olympics since the sport was included in the Summer Games in 1988.
Lariba’s mother Mel said that the bone marrow donor is Ian’s younger sister Ina.
“We’re praying to God that my daughter will be finally cured. She has shown improvement since her first day in the hospital. She is very brave and we’re happy to see her courage before the transplant,” the elder Lariba told The Manila Times.
Mel explained that Ian has a Type O blood while Ina has Type A, “Yan will be having a new Type A plus blood after the transplant,” she said.
Last Monday, International Olympic Committee representative to Korea and 2004 Athens Olympics gold medalist Seung Min Ryu paid Lariba a visit.
Philippine Table Tennis Federation president Ting Ledesma said that Seung and the Korean national table tennis team donated around $10,000 for Lariba’s treatment.
“Lariba and her mother are very thankful for their generosity. We are happy to see that Lariba’s condition is getting better everyday,” Ledesma added. “They are also hoping that Lariba will be able to compete again.”