Nina Solarz, widow of late US congressman Stephen Solarz, received her husband’s Ninoy Aquino Movement (NAM) Medal of Valor and certificate from former senator Heherson Alvarez when she arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on Thursday.
The medal was posthumously given to her husband in 2014 during the celebration of Ninoy’s 31st death anniversary.
Solarz is also visiting Manila to find a young Filipino doctor for an International Fellowship Program in the Thoracic and GI Oncology Branch of the National Cancer Institute in Maryland.
“We’re very happy to be here for that reason, because the Philippines meant so much to my husband as well as to my family,” she said.
She is accompanied by her son, Randy Glantz, and granddaughter, Leah Glantz.
The Stephen Solarz International Fellowship Program is named after the late congressman, who was treated by a team of doctors led by Dr. David Schrump.
After the congressman died, his family established the Stephen J. Solarz Memorial Fund that supports cancer research at the National Institutes of Health.
The visitors were met at the airport by Alvarez, who was the founding head of the Ninoy Aquino Movement, and Precy Lopez-Psinakis.
Solarz said they will be staying in Manila for a week.
Her last visit to the country was four years ago during the 25th anniversary of the People Power Revolution that catapulted Ninoy’s wife, Corazon Aquino, to the presidency in 1986.
“We are going to see the President tomorrow [Friday], and we are meeting the hospital administrators, the staff, the doctors and medical schools,” she said, referring to Benigno Aquino 3rd.
Solarz said Schrump, an internationally recognized thoracic surgeon from the National Institute of Health, is also arriving on Thursday night.
According to her, Schrump will be interviewing candidates this week for the fellowship.
“None of us in the family are involved in medicine, and we leave the choice totally to Dr. Schrump,” she said.
Two researchers have already been chosen for the fellowship program–Dr. Elvin Hekimoglu, a Turkish thoracic surgeon, and Dr. Shi-Hsin Hsiao from Taipei Medical University Hospital.