Liza Mae is an adorable, spirited, and upbeat little 10-year old girl here in Cebu in the Philippines who has a terrible huge tumor growing on her face. The cancer started on her nose in November and has grown so large that it’s practically covering her entire face, except for one eye.
Unfortunately, her single mother is poor and didn't even have money to admit her to the hospital. Luckily, a wonderful local nonprofit called Everlasting Hope was doing their best to find help for Liza Mae. I’d originally come across Everlasting Hope through Denise in December, when I volunteered to dress as Santa Claus for the children’s Christmas party.
So after hearing more, I set offered to donate some of my own money to help cover Liza Mae’s first round of care and treatment.
Their initial estimate was that it would take about $1,000 USD to get her into the hospital immediately and for the medicines and procedures she needs to try and save her life.
To my amazement, not only did we raise the $1,000 USD in less than 48 hours, but we blew past that goal, reaching more than $1,500 as I write this.
I was floored by the caring and generosity of people a world away from Liza Mae, who would never meet her - and some who had never even met me! Someone gave $250 in one donation; $50, several gave $20.
Local Filipinos even seemed to be inspired by her story, donating what they could, as many are poor, themselves, and just trying to survive. One Filipina friend donated $30 USD; her grocery money for the week, while another gave just 20 cents but with a very loving note explaining it was all that she had.
Another good Filipina friend of mine, Charlot, pledged her entire week’s salary for Liza Mae. Charlot is a single mother working the night shift at a hotel to make ends meet for her two children, and to donate ¼ of her own threadbare monthly salary was an act of compassion like I’ve never witnessed before.
“Tell her to be strong; that someone is praying for her from far away; tell her to hold on tight and fight; that she needs to keep her hopes up. No matter what,” wrote Charlot in a message to me.
“Tell to the mother that she needs to be strong for her child no matter how painful it is seeing her daughter in that situation. Tell her God is with us. Our prayers are for them.”
I was literally reduced to tears as the donations and well wishes for Liza Mae kept coming in.
Aware that the funds were confirmed, Everlasting Hope wasted no time arranging doctors appointments for Liza Mae, as even a few more days delay may have cost her life. I met with Leah from the nonprofit and happily gave her the funds: 50 crisp blue 1,000 Pesos bills, or $1,000 USD – YOUR donations.
Yesterday afternoon, I received a message from Everlasting Hope that they’d indeed gotten Liza Mae into the doctors.
She’s now admitted into the hospital and getting a much-needed blood transfusion that can save her life (she has the less-common type O+ blood). Liza Mae and her mother wanted to express their warmest gratitude to all of you, so with the help of Everlasting Hope, they created this beautiful sign and sent this photo from the hospital to share.
I have already pledged the second round of donations for Liza Mae. While there is a long road to eradicate the tumor and treat the cancer, you’ve given Liza Mae and her mother something much more valuable than money – hope – thanks to the love and generosity of strangers, near and far.
- Norm :-)
If you’d like to help Liza Mae, my PayPal is hi@NormSchriever.com for donations. Even if you have only spare change to donate it would be great - any amount helps.
You can also donate directly to Everlasting Hope or find out more about them at everlastinghope.org or on their Facebook page.