“Through my talent, I am reminded that my condition will never be a hindrance to inspire people.” – Desserrei Salinga Panugot (NCFPI Patient)
We got to know NCFPI because of my father’s colleague. When he found out I was born with a cleft he immediately went to our home to show us some NCFPI flyers. I was only two weeks old that time when they took me to Our Lady of Peace Hospital to have some assessment.
Now, I am turning thirteen this coming October. The foundation helped me to avail for free the three operations I had. Ever since then, I gained back the confidence I’d lost — not intimidated anymore to socialize with other people.
But you know what? God still never fails to amaze me. Even though I have a cleft, I am happy to share that God gave me a talent to sing– talent that I am able to show to other people especially during NCFPI activities. They occasionally invite me to sing for two main reasons– to sing and to inspire other cleft patients like me. And personally, I love it! It’s really as if telling my co-patients to, “Hey, never let our disabilities to limit us from doing what God has entrusted us.”
One memorable thing I can remember was when Ms. Kathryn Bernardo’s celebrated her birthday with us. I had the chance to sing for her. It was a special moment for me, since Ms. Kathryn is really someone I really look up to. Smile Train, which is NCFPI’s partner foundation, also conducts different activities. And more than the fun celebration, what I cannot afford to miss always is the chance to meet new co-patients who eventually turns as my friends.
I am grateful to the Doctors, staff, volunteers and sponsors who tirelessly help cleft patients like me. Thank you for your heart to serve. Your efforts changed our lives and we hope that you’ll continue to touch many more.
To my fellow cleft patients, our condition is unique yet beautiful. Take heart and embrace our uniqueness!
Do not be afraid to share your light and love to this world.