This is a story of a seven year old boy named Keanu.
Keanu, at glance looks nothing but an ordinary boy. He smiles, move a lot, appears timid when approached by adults and talks about school and his future dreams like any other kid would do. He says he wants to be a doctor someday, to be able to heal people, help them become better, the usual. There was nothing really extraordinary about him. Except that in his very young age, he’s already fighting the toughest battle of his life.
Since May 26, 2011, Keanu has been spending his days at the Philippine General Hospital in Manila. He was diagnosed having myelodysplastic syndrome, a disorder in which the cells in the bone marrow won’t function normally and so not enough normal blood cells are produced. Currently, he is dependent on regular blood transfusion and is undergoing several laboratory tests in preparation for a bone marrow transplant. But it’s not as easy it sounds.
Bone marrow transplant costs around P4, 000, 000.00, a price Keanu’s family couldn’t pay instantly. Romana, his grandmother, would walk around numerous charitable institutions, even media networks seeking for help. She says the story of her boy spreads rapidly like fire. People began sharing even a hundred peso, touched by the story of a brave boy fighting his way to live. A retired UP professor gave her entire retirement benefits after hearing the story of Keanu on television. Behind the cam journalists gathering money for donation. Anonymous people depositing decent amount of money in Keanu’s account. “It’s a miracle,” she would say.
I was shamelessly crying when Keanu began telling his story. He explained his illness like a grown-up man who understands all those medical terms I’m not even familiar with. Here is a boy experiencing all kinds of pain because of his condition yet no word of complain is drawn out. He knew there came a point when he almost died yet he talked about it as casually as sharing his life’s dream. His family won’t deny thinking of giving up. But Keanu talks of nothing but his desire to go back to school; a mark of an honor student that he really is. “Sana po gumaling na ‘ko para makabalik na ‘ko sa school,” he would often say.
The first time I saw him, I wasn’t brave enough to approach him. Guilt consumed me. “Why him,” I asked many times locked inside the office’s restroom. How many times I wished I’d die? Twice in my life attempted suicide for stupid reasons. “Why him?”
The second time, there was a certain amount of acceptance in me that I was finally able to approach him. I hugged him tight and told him, “alam ko matapang ka, magiging doctor ka right?” (“I know you’re a brave boy. You’ll be a doctor someday, right?”) He just smiled and nodded, pointed out to an abstract wall art with a metal human face and said “si e-Boy oh.” (Note: e-Boy is a fantasy character from local television; a robot)
There was no doubt in my mind the day will come when the world will bear witness to a rise of a certain Dr. Keanu Ruiz Geronimo. One day, Keanu will be free from the binds of sickness, he will continue his study and earn more honors than he already have. He will live to become a handsome boy, a man whom an officemate said “maraming babaeng paiiyakin.”
Right now the iron level in his blood is constantly monitored that Keanu is walking around with a certain device punctured through his arm for that sole purpose. Also there are few purple marks in his arms but he didn’t seem to mind them and goes on playing. One time, her grandmother recounted, nurses and people at PGH would greet him, recognizing the boy who appeared in TV in few occasions, and Keanu would joke “artista na ‘ko lola.”
I know I’ve said this is a story about a boy named Keanu, but as I write this article, I noticed this is also my story, a story of every person braving the everyday hurdles of life fighting for freedom. That from here on, every whining in the state of my affairs is an affront to Keanu’s reality, and so I am duty bound to go further despite whatever petty things that might fall down the way.
They say fairytales do not try tell children the dragons exist because kids already knew that. What those fairytales really try to tell those children is that no matter how big and powerful those monsters are, it’s no impossible task to overcome them. Now there is a boy named Keanu trying to teach this world that not only dragons can be slayed, it can also be ridden towards an uncertain future that only your spirited heart knows.
We are told that some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for a while and leave footprints on our hearts. And we are never, ever the same.
This is exactly what Keanu did for me. I know I’ve been frustrating over the state of my "personal affairs," a fact known to most of you and even my closest friends. I remember how a “brother” quoted this passage from Eat Pray Love – “DB, you have the capacity to someday love the whole world.”
It’s true. Why obsessed on the idea of loving someone exclusively when maybe my fate is about loving the entire world? And so began a new phase of my mission and I’m starting now with the closests to my heart.
Keanu needs our prayers. But not only that, he needs monetary donations. Any amount will do. I know we’re all dealing with our own personal economic battle so I have a proposal. Why don’t we gather all our donations, a hundred bucks, fifty pesos or ten pesos, if we gather them, it would be huge enough to help. As the song says “kahit na maliit basta’t malimit ay patungong langit.” Yes?
Some of my friends already pledged their donations so I hope you guys won't fail me. But if you really can't, your prayers are enough.
If you’re interested you can e-mail me thru email@example.com. You can also reach me thru BBM and my mobile number. For now please avoid sending messages on my @desoleboy Twitter account as I haven't been using it lately and no plans of accessing it for the meantime.
But if you want to direct your donations, here is Keanu's Metrobank account: 044-3-04457094-8
Also, please share his story. Not only for the purpose of generating donations, but hopefully, more people will be inspired the same way he did to me. You too, I hope.
Many thanks and may God bless us all.
*** Repost from fellow blogger, DesoleBoy. Sana kahit sa ganitong paraan ay makatulong tayo kay Keanu.