Right after high school, there was no stopping for me. I immediately went to college and took up Bachelor of Science in Biology at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila. But three months after I enrolled, I bled again. This time the bleeding was different. It wasn’t like what I was used to. And because of the gravity of the situation, I spent one whole month at the UST hospital. The medicines I took weren’t taking effect. My doctor told me to take other medicines called Factor Eight Inhibitor Bypassing Agent (FEIBA). But unfortunately, that time, FEIBA was not available in the Philippines. We didn’t know where to buy and even if we knew, our money had already been exhausted.
Every hemophilia patient knows the seriousness of financial drain our families experience especially with our medicines.
I stayed at home for the next 10 months until I got better. And when my health improved, I went back to school. Luckily, I was able to at least finish three semesters before another serious incident happened. This has been the cycle that I got used to— study, rest and study again. In 2005, I had to stop for good. It was not easy for me because I fought so hard to get to where I was. But even if my spirit didn’t want to give up, my body had already given up with the seemingly unending pain. That year, I couldn’t walk without my crutches.
And just when I thought I have already experienced the worst, I was wrong. In 2007, I had the worst bleeding ever and had to undergo surgery in my right thigh. It took me almost two years to recover. Yes, I recovered but I couldn’t walk anymore and had to use crutches wherever I’d go.
I was sad but not hopeless. I continued to look up and find the beauty of life and living. The Lord heard the desires of my heart. Two years later, I met the woman who changed the course of my life. She’s a teacher whom I consider to be heaven’s blessing. She accepted me whole, including my imperfections. We got married and started a family. A year after, we are blessed with the best blessing we could ever receive— our daughter.
Our simple life has been wonderful but I have to admit that we have our challenges especially with money. And because I could not be employed with regular jobs, my mother helps us financially. She even helped us put up our small sari-sari store for us to somehow get some source of income. This has helped us for years. And then another blessing happened.
I found out about Virtualahan.
I took the training on January 20, 2019 and successfully finished it last March 1 of the same year. Several days later, it was March 18 to be exact, I got absorbed to work for them. I am now on my second month. I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity they have given me. I thought I would be raising forever my own family with the help of my mother. But now, I can provide for them from my own money because of the meaningful employment I was given with. I am now able to buy a few things for us. I haven’t told my mother yet but she’s starting to notice that we haven’t asked anything yet the last few months.
I am truly grateful to find out about Virtualahan. They help me improve my digital skills and give me the opportunity to contribute and turn my skills into something profitable.
My learning doesn’t stop here. I still have a lot to learn. Everyday I will hone my skills and learn even more. I am also happy that even though I have already graduated from the training, the trainers are always there to continue their support.
My Virtualahan community is part of my everyday inspiration to strive harder in life.
JOE ANGELO CUEVAS