Hi. I’m Cherry Mariano, 22 years old, and [I’m] one of the thousands of patients out there that was fortunate enough to be a recipient of Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation Philippines. It greatly helped me in my operation [for] cleft lip and palate. I’m one of those who suffered relentless bullying because of this condition, but who at the same time, remained firm in continuing through despite this.
I worked at the foundation for two years to support my education and also to help my mother with our daily expenses. Now that I already left NCF Philippines, I have a part-time job so that my studies will not be stopped. I’m a second year Tourism and Events Management student and it’s my goal to be a flight attendant someday.
I just want to share my experiences when I joined the painting competition organized by our sister foundation, NCF Taiwan and the events succeeding that.
It’s actually not my first time to join this competition. I also tried last year but didn’t win. I tried again and this time, I got it! I was so happy when I learned the result and honestly, I didn’t expect to win. My painting wasn’t that pretty, to say the least. But as the saying goes, “Never judge a book by its cover.” Because of the win, I was able to tour Taiwan. So I want to thank NCF Taiwan and NCF Philippines for this wonderful opportunity. It’s such a great honor. It’s very overwhelming to have one of my dreams — to travel outside the country, come true. Thank you to all those who never stopped believing in me and encouraged me all throughout the competition. Thank you all!!
For those with cleft palate like me and is also struggling with the bullying, keep fighting! Let’s just focus on our dreams and tune out all those negative words thrown at us. No one can ever stop us from dreaming and achieving. Despite our impairment, here will always be people who will try to pull us down. But let’s not let them. Hold fast to our dreams and our motivations, let’s hold fast [in] our Faith in the Lord. We are our family’s treasures and God’s gifts too, let’s not forget it. Fight Aja!