Modern ‘bayanihan’ helps child with congenital buttocks tumor


Townsfolk, Bb. Maharlika, AlDub Nation, QMMC and PCSO come together for Khejara Guadalupe’s surgical operation

Had Khejara Guadalupe known what birthdays are about, she would almost certainly have preferred to spend the day with her older sister and playmates.

But she had to spend her second birthday last March 4 at the Quirino Memorial Medical Center (QMMC) in Quezon City because doctors were still trying to figure out how to deal with the large tumor on her buttocks.

“I was surprised when I first saw my baby with a large tumor in her buttocks,” said Khejara’s 24-year-old mother Daisy, who gave birth to her second daughter, in their hometown of Sebaste, Antique.

PCSO General Manager Alexander Balutan

But Daisy and her welder-husband Ricky could not even afford the usual medical check-ups, much less a 487-kilometer trip to consult with specialists in Manila, so the parents just sought the help of their townmates.

“Gusto ko po talaga mapagamot ang anak ko [I really want my child to be treated]. Gagawin ko lahat para gumaling siya [I will do everything for her to be healed],” said Daisy, who admitted being terrified to be told that her daughter’s condition was untreatable.

Modern bayanihan
Luckily, one of Daisy’s townmates, Glenn Ian Tumaca, thought of making a video showing Khejara’s condition so that the Guadalupe family would get whatever help they could through Facebook. The video went viral.

Two-year-old Khejara before the operation on her sacrococcygeal teratoma

The video reached Fil-Am YouTube personality and political commentator Binibining Mahar¬lika, who referred the case to Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) General Manager Alexander Balutan.

“We took special interest in the case of little Khejara because it is my personal mission to bring the government closer to the people. Filipinos should be confident that their government will help them, no matter where they are,” Balutan said.

With the precision of a Marine officer as he had been, Balutan ordered concerned PCSO personnel to locate little Khejara to attend to her medical needs.

AlDub Nation
Other Filipinos also answered the Guadalupe family’s Facebook appeal for help, particularly the fans of television celebrities Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza, who shouldered Daisy’s and Khejara’s bus fare to Manila.

Daisy was overwhelmed by the outpouring of sympathy and offers of assistance, but she was terrified of what the doctors would say.

“It was clear from the outset Baby Khejara had sacrococcygeal teratoma,” said QMMC chief surgeon Dr. Romeo Abary. “It is a congenital anomaly that may have developed because of an infection during pregnancy.”

This condition occurs in about one in every 27,000 live births, but it is also the most common tumor found in newborns and would have been detected in a sonogram.

Abary said QMMC already has the capability and experience to address Khejara’s sacrococcygeal teratoma and immediately answered PCSO’s request for surgery as doctors determine that there will be no complications.

Answered prayers
“I was very worried when they took her to the operating room,” Daisy said. “At the same time, I was very happy because they could finally take out the tumor. I was having mixed emotions at that time. I just prayed to God.”

The operation was performed by pediatric surgeon Dr. Rafael Dizon and took all of three hours to finish; Dr. Abary, who assisted in the operation, soon appeared and said, “The surgery was pretty good. It was successful.”

“I really thank God that every¬thing went well,” Daisy said, adding that she did not know how to thank the many people, whom she did not even know and never met before, who helped her family.

She thanked her townmates, especially Glenn Tumaca, QMMC doctors, and PCSO GM Balutan.

“I especially want to thank the people at QMMC and the doctors for taking good care of us. Of course, many thanks to PCSO that helped us from the beginning and made this operation possible,” Daisy said.

Khejara and her mom Daisy have returned to their Sebaste home in Antique. As of this writing, she is steadily progressing on the road to recovery from surgery.



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