Please join me in sending love and best wishes to my little friend, Liza Mae.
For those of you who don’t know her, this smiling and spirited 10-year old girl from Cebu has been bravely fighting cancer.
Sadly, she’s now coming to the end of her fight.
I first came across her through the Everlasting Hope, an organization in Cebu that raises funds and manages care for poor kids with cancer. When they told me about Liza Mae, a little girl afflicted with a terrible tumor on her face, I wanted to help.
Her father long gone, only her mother was left to take care of Liza Mae when she first got sick and the tumor started growing. It grew alarmingly quickly, but still, there was no money to go to the hospital, or even for a simple doctor's visit.
Charlot, a young single mother who barely makes ends meet by working the night shift at a hotel, gave her entire week’s salary for Liza Mae.
“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,” Charlot messaged me.
With our donations, Everlasting Hope was able to get her to the doctor, and then specialists, and finally to the hospital for blood transfusions and then the start of an eight-course chemotherapy treatment.
I wore a surgical mask to protect her from germs that could cause infection, although she lives amid squalor and flies. Liza Mae sat on her mother's lap. She was so skinny, a cotton swab taped to her hand from a recent IV, a hospital ID bracelet hanging from her emaciated wrist.
Before I had to leave, she wanted to give me a high five and present me with some artwork that she’d colored.
It says, simply, "Salamat,” and is now my most cherished possession.
Over the next couple of months, we were cautiously optimistic as Liza Mae continued her chemotherapy and treatment. But, lately, it all became too much for her system, as her body couldn’t keep up with the constant infections and need for blood transfusions, all made worse by how weakened she was from chemo.
The realistic options for her care began to disappear, as did my hopes for a happy ending for Liza Mae.
And, “Liza Mae is such a fighter. Though we want her to see a pain specialist, she doesn't want to see any doctor anymore.”
“In spite of the condition, Liza Mae is happy now as her father arrived and is with her.”
“She mentioned she wants to go to a park to have a picnic. Weather here is rainy, hoping we can have sunshine within this week so we can do it.”
It’s hard to accept, and I only wish there was more I could do to help her.
If nothing else, I want her to know that she’s loved by so many people.
I don’t want her to be scared, and I want her to know that she’s not alone.
Maybe we can help, after all.
Could you join me in wishing her well?
Please email me your regards, warm thoughts, and prayers for Liza Mae to hi@NormSchriever.com. You can even make a card or draw a picture, take a photo of it, and send it to me. I’ll make sure that she gets them all through the folks at Everlasting Hope and her mother.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you for caring, and let’s all hope for some sunshine for Liza Mae.