Nanny’s genetic disorder inspires young man

French Bonn and Agapitha (Contributed photo)

WHAT was supposed to be a simple bus ride to Bilar town in Bohol for a family reunion, turned into a journey of a lifetime for French Bonn.

In a Facebook post dated March 23, 2019, Bonn narrated how a stranger touched his life.

“I was about to ride a bus from Tagbilaran to Bilar when I noticed a vacant seat with only one person sitting, while the rest were standing. I looked closely when I realized why no one was sitting beside her. She has Neurofibromatosis. I felt bad and sat beside her. She smiled at me as if she didn’t see what’s been happening while she was on the bus. I smiled back and said ‘hi’,” Bonn wrote.

Neurofibromatosis is a genetic disorder of the nervous system, which mainly affects how nerve cells form and grow.

There are three types of neurofibromatosis.

Type one causes skin changes and deformed bones, and usually starts in childhood.

The second type, on the other hand, causes hearing loss, ringing in the ears and poor balance.

The third and rarest type is called Schwannomatosis, which is described to cause intense pain.

According to, there is no known cure for this genetic disorder, but treatment can help control symptoms.

“A couple of minutes after, I talked to her as I didn’t know where Bilar was, and obviously, we were the only ones on a four-person capacity seat. She provided me directions with a smile. I can’t help but be captivated by her disposition, so I asked personal questions,” Bonn said.

He learned that the stranger’s name was Agapitha and that she was in Bohol to work as a nanny for her relatives’ children.

The 59-year-old had been working in Manila for the past 36 years as her nieces’ nanny.

Despite not being married and not ending up with a past lover, Agapitha said she was happy.

Bonn also learned that Agapitha have already undergone treatment in the past.

“Her personality is more contagious than her cured (treated condition) disease. She made me realize how to live a simple life in this complicated environment. She has learned to smile amidst struggle, and has seen life positively despite her condition. She learned not to put blame, but lived life with content,” Bonn said.

In between talks and photo snaps, Bonn said Agapitha's words that struck him the most was: “Ngano moreklamo man ko, mabalaka man ko, magproblema man ko, nga di man ako tag iya sa akong lawas? Maypa pasagdan nalang nako Siya mugiya nako. Wala pa koy huna-hunaon ug malipay pa ko.”

(Why should I complain, worry and get stressed when I am not the owner of my body? It's better if I'll just let Him guide me. I'd have no worries and I'll be happy.)

Although he paid for his and Agapitha's bus fares, Bonn said it was not enough to repay the woman for sharing with him her story.

As of 10 a.m. Monday, May 27, Bonn's post has reached 16,000 reactions, 4,000 shares and 56 comments. (SunStar Cebu)


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