We were told that he would live for only hours or days. But Gabriel lived long enough to touch our lives forever. In his short life time he gave us so much love. In return, we hope to share this love with other children who like him are physically, mentally or financially handicapped.
After Gabriel died, we organized Gabriel’s Symphony Foundation, Inc. This is supported by our friends, family and our businesses.
Our immediate goal is to make a difference in the life of a child. Though there are many ways of doing this, for now, we chose to focus primarily on cleft lip operations. We realized that it does not cost much to have a cleft lip repaired and yet many Filipino children will go thru life physically impaired and emotionally traumatized by the stigma of having a cleft lip.
As of June 2012, GSF has so far financed cleft lip and palate operations for 320 children at the PGH and 273 children at the GMMMFH. The Foundation has also sponsored operations in the regions, including 12 children in Cebu through Zugbuana Jaycees and 213 children in Misamis Oriental through the help of the Rotary Club of Cagayan de Oro City. These operations covered not only cleft lip cases but also those in need of multiple operations to repair their gum and palate. Our services go beyond medical assistance. We also accompany the parents and child through the entire process, from the time of the first check-up until the child is brought home to recuperate.
Some of these children’s cases are not just cleft lips but others also needs multiple operations to repair their gum and palate. Our services to our patients are not simply providing them with financial aid. We also accompany the parents and child through the entire process, from the time of the first check-up till the child is home recuperating.
We have donated 34 hearing aides to children from 4 to 14 years of age as of April 2012. This is a year-round project with the help of Philippine National Ear Institute based at PGH. We have also donated 17 artificial eyes to visually impaired children through our partnership with Parents Advocate for Visually Impaired Children (PAVIC).
Senator Pia S. Cayetano led the turnover of around P2 million worth of brand new equipment to the Obstetrics-Gynecology (Ob-Gyne) Department of the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) in Manila last year in November 14, 2007. She also donated a check worth P340, 000.00 to help boost the nursing complement at the hospital’s Pediatric Nuerosurgical Operating Room.
The new equipment, which include a colposcope, two single-unit tocodynamometers and one double-unit tocodynamometer, were acquired from the United States by PGH using the Philippine Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) of Cayetano, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography.
Hospital officials described the new acquisitions as “highly specialized and world-class facilities” which will now be accessible to poor patients of PGH.
In the broader spectrum, our foundation aims to:
Provide medical assistance to sick and disabled children thru:
Referrals to professionals: Helping parents meet the right professionals who can help them;
Provide support for parents whose children need medical treatment.
Support parents of special children or children with special needs.
Organized a team of care-givers who will help a parent care for a sick child in the hospital or at home to give the parent a break or time to be with her other children.
Provide books and other resource materials for parents to help them understand their child’s ailment and better care for them.
Donate educational materials to schools, institutions and hospitals.
Donate Angel Bears to children undergoing treatment.
More About Us and Why We are Doing This
Having experienced what it is like to have a child who lived in the hospital all his life, has given us the determination to help other families similarly situated.
We know that having a sick child can be very frightening to a parent. They worry about their child’s well-being and comfort. They pray their child will not die. They worry about the medical expenses and wonder if their child is getting the best medical advise. And then they worry about neglecting their other children.
In our case, we were confident that Gabriel was getting the best medical care. We were blessed to be surrounded by family and care-givers who never left Gabriel’s side. They held him and loved him with us every day of his life.
My heart goes out to mothers and fathers who do not not know where to get the help they need. Poor people are at a disadvantage not only because they do not have the financial resources to buy the medicines and pay for the treatments but because they are usually ill-informed about their child’s condition. As a consequence, their child may suffer unnecessarily or even die.
Gabriel’s disorder resulted in his having a cleft lip and palate, a hole in his heart, enlarged kidneys, possible deafness, poor eye sight and other anomalies. On their own, each of these conditions are manageable. Things like his cleft lip and palate, deafness and poor eye sight are not even life threatening. But Gabriel’s disorder did not give him much of a chance, despite all the medical treatments and all our love, our brave little warrior needed his rest after 9 months.
Unlike Gabriel’s condition, many ailments other children have are treatable. Many of them can live productive lives, if they receive medical attention and treatment.
We also realize that children who need to be hospitalized or who require regular treatment, also need emotional support and companionship. To address this need, we plan to create Angel Bears that sick children can hug and can take along with them to the hospital.
Gabriel was a special child. If he lived, he would have serious learning disabilities.One of our most joyful memories, was seeing him work with his therapist and accomplish things most parents take for granted like holding his head up, rolling over, cooing and communicating with us. We also donate educational toys, books and material for the use of sick and special children.
We hope that you will be inspired to look beyond yourself and help us help others.