By: Tara Yap
AN IRISHMAN is willing to lobby to Filipino lawmakers to subsidize treatment of children with cancer.
“In England and Europe, children with cancer get free treatment. In the Philippines, there’s no treatment if they have no money,” said 68-year-old Patrick Murray, a retired postal worker who made Iloilo his retirement home.
“Think of them when their resistance is weak. Think of them locked away in their homes with no friends, no parties, no pets. Imagine how you’ll feel if you’re dying and there was a cure, but lack of funds prevent you from getting treatment,” Murray appealed to lawmakers.
With his pioneering “bed-push” activity, Murray has been raising funds for Kaibigan ng mga Kabataang may Kanser (KKK), a local organization facilitating medical treatment for children with leukemia or brain tumor in Panay and Guimaras islands.
Murray raised approximately P25,000 for KKK last February 2011 when he pushed a hospital bed around Iloilo City. He also raised another P72,000 from various donations in England and Ireland.
Dr. Ma. Socorro Martinez, KKK president, noted that the lack of government subsidy to help less-privileged children with cancer have led to fatalities.
While Martinez noted that the regional Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) can annually allocate P10,000 for each children who qualifies for financial assistance, it is not enough. Costs of monthly chemotherapy sessions exceed P10,000.
Murray, a member of the Rotary Club of Iloilo, has been a volunteer for over four decades and raising funds for various medical charities. At one time, he fasted at the Hammersmith Bridge in London to help raise money for a four-year-old Filipino child who had congenital brain abnormality.
Murray is embarking on another trip to England and hopes to raise more money for cancer-stricken children.
However, Murray hopes that Filipino lawmakers including Iloilo First District Rep. Janette Garin, who is a medical doctor, will listen.
“Let’s help these children by giving them a chance at life,” Murray emphasized.