“You could always do something for the cleft community either donate, educate other people or cleft affected families, give pieces of advice, or sometimes, just be there and listen.” – Ms. Jadee Lopez (NCFPI Parent Volunteer)
When we found out Gabbie will be born with cleft lip and palate, I searched for well-known doctors. For some reason, I would always end up on NCFPI website. So what I did was look up for their officers, and there, I found Dr. Glenda de Villa who at that time was the president. We scheduled a meeting and the first time I saw her, we felt the warmth, the care, the sincerity, the confidence, and the calmness in her. We knew we found Gabbie’s surgeon.
Along the way, while doing private checkups under Dr. Glenda we learned about NCFPI and what they do. And from a cleft mother’s perspective, I was in awe at the same time it gave me a certain joy and hope for others. Because I know, they are definitely in good hands.
After Gabbie’s surgery, we learned that Bulacan patients need transportation service to and from Our Lady of Peace Hospital in Paranaque, which we gladly offered. At first, we only had two, mommy Lorena and mommy Michelle and their kids from Anggat, Bulacan. I would ask barangay centers, midwives for new cases that we can refer and put up NCFPI posters there. We would round up patients from barangays and referrals all over Bulacan. That’s how I got to spend some of my Mondays in Our lady of Peace hospital.
The feelings I felt the first time we met Dr. Glenda – is all around. From the volunteers to the doctors, even the nuns in the hospital! You will feel at home and welcomed. Those were my meaningful Mondays, spending time with other parents and their kids. It’s hard to explain but I instantly felt I belong there.
Looking at the anxious eyes of parents, as they wait for the x-ray result if their child’s operation, the feeling that you need to travel far but you know its worth the effort, the struggle of breastfeeding a cleft baby, the thought of how you will protect your child from the bullies, the difficulty of them gaining weight and getting cold or cough easily, suddenly you will ask God “Lord, bakit?”, then you will immediately say “Ikaw na bahala Lord ah” Then I am reminded I am not alone in this journey.
It’s a relief to feel I am not alone and I hope I was able to make other parents feel the same. I hope the care, warmth, sincerity, and all that I felt with NCFPI, they felt too. I saw how NCFPI takes their patients ’whole being into consideration, yes whole being. It just doesn’t end with the operation. I am a proud volunteer because I know they always want to offer and give more. You could always do something for the cleft community either donate, educate other people or cleft affected families, give pieces of advice, or sometimes, just be there and listen.
I know being a cleft mom is not easy, God allows us to have a cleft child because the Lord knows we can handle it. It is an endless journey but with the right people behind us, we can all overcome. I am thankful to NCFPI for being a family to us, not just to me but to all their patients. Our cleft journey would not be easy if it were not for you.