I SEE a twinkle in my friend Cheryl Leilani Mandap-Gomez's eyes as she shares her experiences with the House of Hope Foundation for Kids with Cancer Inc.
"My involvement with a civic organization led me to knowing the foundation, Davao City Cancer Fund Inc. Through the years, I have supported the House of Hope but it was only last January 2017 when I accepted the position of fundraising manager," narrates my high school classmate.
Being her friend for more than three decades, I've known Cheryl to be passionate about her work and advocacies. It is always 101 percent, or nothing at all, for this determined lady. Divine intervention must have played a role in leading her to this crucial position.
"Childhood cancer is curable. However, treatment spans a number of months and even years. Therefore, a major stumbling block in treatment and cure among Filipino children is lack of access to health care institutions that can provide multispecialty care," says Cheryl.
She explains further that "HoHF represents a coming together of people families, advocates, communities, government and child cancer networks working to provide the best possible chances of providing holistic, multidisciplinary care for children with cancer particularly from marginalized families in Mindanao."
Where there is hope
House of Hope Foundation for Kids with Cancer Inc. (HoHF), formerly Davao Children's Cancer Fund Inc., is a non-stock, nonprofit charity organization inspired by the House of Hope (HOH), which started out as an old dormitory within the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) compound.
A project in partnership with Rotary Club Waling-Waling of Davao, the HoHF building was renovated to serve as a transient home for children with cancer. Meanwhile, Kids of Hope are the children who stay at House of Hope and at the Children's Cancer Center at the SPMC.
To date, more than 2,700 patients and 4,000 caregivers have benefited from HoHF's clean and wholesome environment since 2007.
"HoHF has created a significant impact in the improved survival of most, and cure for some, children with cancer by promoting compliance to therapy and decreasing treatment abandonment. It has enhanced the quality of life of many children afflicted with this unfortunate disease," according to a press statement.
Ball of Hope
As the fundraising manager, Cheryl finds ways to financially support the operations of HoHF. One of these recent activities is the Ball of Hope Dinner for a Cause that she successfully organized last month at the Grand Regal Hotel.
In coordination with El Bonita Events and various generous suppliers and talents such as Noel Tanza (decors); Accredo Amor Productions/Ahiabon Lao (photo and video); Rex Del Rosario (emcee); Davao Event Suppliers Association; Agdao Violin Institute and University of Immaculate Conception Orchestra; Winner and Shen Asidor (vocalists); Jose Benavides/One Stop Video Marketing (LED Wall); Lyndon Banquerigo (photo booth); Ovaltine Ong; Arnold Alvarez/Siningtala Dance Theater Company; and Mark Pague (spinner), the Ball of Hope not only entertained and satisfied the guests and the Kids of Hope with delectable food, but raised much needed funds for the HoHF.
"I am truly grateful to the event organizer, talents, suppliers and of course, the guests, who wholeheartedly and unselfishly shared their resources and time to pay tribute to and raise funds for the Kids of Hope," enthuses Cheryl.
Hope springs eternal
Cheryl's love and commitment for the Kids of Hope fuel her drive to work doubly hard as the fundraising manager.
"When approaching potential HoHF donors, all we actually need is an opportunity to talk to the right people and companies, and once that opportunity is given, it becomes easy when we explain the advocacy. Some of them respond. Some do not. So, we just manage our expectations," declares the mother of two.
She points out that there are countless ways one can do to support the HoHF. You can "Be a child sponsor; any financial need of the child in the course of his treatment will be in your account; Pledge to be a regular (monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual) donor; Give a one-time donation; Celebrate special occasions at HOH, like birthdays, anniversaries, and thanksgiving; Be a coin bearer. Coin banks will be placed in your establishments; Support by buying HOH merchandise; and Tell your friends about this advocacy."
"I urge you to join us as we revolutionize the care of child cancer in Mindanao," concludes Cheryl.
House of Hope Foundation for Kids with Cancer Inc. is located at House of Hope, Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) Compound, J.P. Laurel Avenue, Davao City with telephone number (082)2247366.
For more information, check the Kids of Hope website at www.kidsofhope.org or like them on their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/kidsofhope. Special thanks to Accredo Amor Productions/Ahiabon Lao for the Ball of Hope photos.