Vilma Bacang is the eldest daughter in a brood of six (Vilma 12, Bella 10, Junbert 9, Mechelle 7, Mergie 5 and Melchor 2) of Jaime, 33 and Viginia, 27. Her parents are both from the Subanen tribe residing in Shiolan Kabasalan, Zamboanga Sibugay Province. As per tribal practice, Vilma was brought to a quack doctor when her tummy started to grow big last July 2006. In spite of herbal medications she was asked to take, her belly continued to get bigger and bigger. Her very worried parents immediately brought her to the Barangay Health Center in their locality. They were advised to go to the Ipil Provincial Hospital for consultation. Ultrasound result showed the she has ovarian cyst. The fast growing fluid in the ovary was causing the abdomen to enlarge. The family was advised to proceed to the Zamboanga City Medical Center (ZCMC), Zamboanga City for proper medical attention.
Because of their financial problem, the very worried parents immediately visited the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office of Kabasalan for help. They were transported to Zamboanga City and her diagnosis of having ovarian cyst was confirmed by ZCMC doctors last September 2006. Because of the long lists of patients needing surgery, Vilma could not be accommodated immediately and was asked to come back for her scheduled surgery on January 5, 2006. They approached the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office for financial help but unfortunately funds will be made available to the family by January 8 yet. With no money to pay for their medical needs, they were faced with the possibility of the surgery being postponed to a later date. This scenario weighed down on them like a ton of rock! To Vilma, it meant stopping school because of her medical condition. This possibility made both mother and daughter desperate and started crying and crying of helplessness. A relative of a patient confined in the same hospital noticed them and asked why? When told of their predicament she took pity on them and referred them to the Crisis Intervention Unit of DSWD.
The social worker immediately referred them to Tzu Chi Foundation, Zamboanga Liaison Office. Having just received an unexpected grant of PhP250,000.00 from Globe Telecom to help Tzu Chi Zamboanga fund pediatric surgeries; Tzu Chi immediately welcomed the opportunity to make a difference. Tzu Chi Zamboanga sponsored the pre and post operative medicines to include surgical supplies needed by Vilma. Because of this, the operation was able to push through as scheduled. A volleyball-sized cyst was taken out from her right ovary to include the right fallopian tube.
When Tzu Chi volunteers went to visit her after the surgery at the hospital, the once worried and unsmiling face of Virgie and Vilma were replaced with big smiles. What the founder of Tzu Chi Master Cheng Yen said about a patients smile is the best smile ever is really true! Vilma can now go back to school with her renewed health and restored hope. For Vilma, the importance of education was inculcated in her mind early on in life. To her and her parents, it is their only way to lift them out of poverty. Seeing their smiles, the Tzu Chi volunteers shared their bright hope for the future.
When the mother dropped by the Tzu Chi office to say good bye, she said: simply thank you is simply not enough and she will take her gratefulness to the foundation for saving to her daughter and restoring hope to their family to her grave! For she can’t never repay the kindness shown to her… but…by being a very loving and supportive mother to hear children in spite of their poverty…Tzu Chi believed she and her daughter already did repay Tzu Chi… by being models of hope and perseverance they have shared valuable lessons in life for everyone to learn! And that…is PRICELESS!
Tzu Chi Zamboanga would like to thank the Zamboanga City Medical Center doctors and nurses for their help to Vilma and to the many angels who lead Vilma to Tzu Chi and gave Tzu Chi the opportunity to make a difference by helping others.