Nutrition is Helping Kids Fight Cancer
Imagine learning that your child has cancer and needs treatment at a hospital in a distant city, but you have no resources because you are poor. Out of love for your child, you travel from your home anyway and hope for the best.
Many families in the Philippines face this nightmarish situation and become hopeless as they face living on the streets and poor nutrition. But that’s where ER partner Seed Of Love shines. SOL provides housing at its “Shelter of Hope”, as well as food, transportation and assistance for purchasing medicines.
We recently asked SOL director Junie Antinero to share the role nutrition plays in helping these kids fight cancer. Getting balanced meals filled with fruit and vegetables is critical to the healing process. Below is Junie’s response.
Most of our kids drink milk with boiled Moringa Oleifera, also called Malunggay (horseradish) with Camote tops (sweet potato tops). We boil the leaves together and keep the water and remove the leaves. They use the water as their solvent for their powdered milk.
This mixture helps regulate the kids’ hemoglobin, red blood cells and even their platelets. The hospital monitors the kids’ blood chemistry by conducting tests before they begin chemotherapy treatment.
If the kids have colds and coughs, we use bitter gourd leaves, wash them carefully, blanch them in hot water and squeeze them to extract the juice. Then the child drinks the juice and the phlegm comes out naturally.
We also clean and grate beets, lemons and apples, squeeze the mash and create a highly nutritious juice for the kids to drink.
We make sure their daily food does not contain any MSG or unhealthy additives, and we only allow a small amount of salt, sugar and natural flavoring. We cook with coconut oil because it contains Lauric acid that fights cancerous cells.
As you can see from Junie’s report, hand-preparing fresh meals, vegetables and fruits is a labor-intensive but crucial ingredient in helping the kids beat cancer. But seeing kids beat cancer is worth the effort and costs.
Would you consider helping vulnerable kids get healthy food and nutrition so they can develop properly, have the energy to study and stay in school, and overcome sickness and disease? Click here to read more about ER’s Nutrition For Vulnerable Children Campaign.
To give this campaign, click the donate button.
Scroll below to read more about how ER partner Seed Of Love is caring for kids and their families.
(April 15, 2018)
We love getting updates from ER partner Seed Of Love. Junie Antinero, his staff and volunteers go the extra mile to make kids with cancer feel special, despite their challenging circumstances
Seed Of Love provides an incredible service for families who have kids fighting cancer. Many travel from distant provinces to Manila seeking treatment for their sick children. While treatment at a local hospital is often free, many of the families do not have the resources to pay for a hotel, food and medicines.
That’s where Seed Of Love shines. The staff reaches out to these desperate families and offers them a spot in their Shelter of Hope home, meals, transportation and help with medical supplies. Without Seed Of Love’s intervention, the families would be forced to live on the streets during the treatments.
That’s why seeing these photos of a celebration for the kids is so encouraging. Thanks, Seed Of Love, for extending compassion to people living in extreme conditions!
Scroll below to read more about Seed of Love.
The Warrior Boy of Bicol
By Junie Antinero, Director, Seed Of Love
(Sept. 1, 2017) In 2014, Sheila Segarra was worried about her young son, Ezekiel, who was suffering from fevers and seemed to be losing weight.
Shelia took “Kiel” to Bicol Medical Center (BMC) in Naga, a city near their home some 270 miles southeast of Manila. Tests revealed fluid around the lungs and Kiel was admitted to the hospital for what turned out to be six weeks of treatment.
By late November of that yer, the fluid was gone, but a followup ultrasound and CT scan revealed a mass in one of Kiel’s lungs. A biopsy was needed and would require Kiel’s care to continue at a better-equipped hospital in Manila.
Sheila worried about how she would pay for such care – her husband, a construction worker, earned only 250 pesos a day (about $5 U.S.) – or how she would even get Kiel to Manila, for that matter. She began by selling a padyak (a bicycle with a sidecar) to cover the transportation cost.
Sheila and Kiel went directly to Philippine General Hospital (PGH), where another CT scan was ordered, and three days before Christmas 2014, Kiel underwent surgery to remove the half-kilogram mass that was making him ill. Miraculously, someone stepped in to pay the medical bills, and the doctor reported that the operation was successful and Kiel would not need to have the affected lung removed. Christmas overflowed with good gifts for mother and son that year.
But Kiel still faced a long battle, as the mass proved to be pleuropulmonary blastoma, a rare cancer of the lungs that occurs mostly in children. He would need chemotherapy and was sent to a cancer institute in Novaliches, another part of metro Manila that was far from his home in Bicol. The chemo regiment would make back-and-forth travel difficult; a closer place to stay was needed, and that’s where Seed of Love’s Shelter of Love was able to help.
Shelter of Love serves as a temporary shelter or halfway house for patients from far-flung provinces with no relatives in Metro Manila to accommodate them. Kiel’s caregivers referred him and Sheila to us, and following his first chemo treatment in August 2015, we brought them in for what would become a year-long stay.
At the Shelter of Love, Sheila found not only cost-free lodging and food, but an atmosphere of love that overwhelmed her. Kiel returned to Bicol in September 2016, fully healed and ready to begin his elementary school studies. He and Sheila keep in touch; when we talk on the phone, Kiel always expresses his gratitude, asks about all the people he came to know at the shelter, and tells us how much he misses us. Now 7 years old, this brave boy has already overcome more trials than most of us will ever face. He is a true warrior!
ER partner Seed Of Love brings love and hope to sick and less fortunate children, and their families, through health care in metro Manila, Philippines. Learn more about them here. Read about another boy Seed of Love helped below.
A Boy Who Loves Basketball
By Junie Antinero, Seed Of Love Director
Kyle is a boy from the province of Negros Occidental, Philippines, who loves to play basketball. At 14 years old, he was very active, strong and healthy. Kyle was a typical teenager who played basketball with his friends. Basketball is a huge sport in the Philippines.
One day when Kyle was playing basketball, he had an incident. He had a bad fall and his knees bumped into the floor, causing him a lot of pain in his left knee. As a young boy, he was afraid to tell his parents the truth – he had a bad fall while playing basketball.
Kyle let the days pass and kept the pain in his knee from his parents. After seven months, his knee became swollen and so painful that he could not straightened it or even move it.
So Kyle finally shared his pain with his parents, who immediately sought help. The family decided to go to Manila to have Kyle examined at PGH Cancer Institute. While there, they were referred to Shelter of Hope operated by ER partner Seed Of Love, for a place to stay temporarily while Kyle was receiving treatment.
Unfortunately, Kyle was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma on Nov. 10, 2016. For a boy who loves sports, this was scary news.
While staying at Shelter of Hope, director Junie Antinero spoke with Kyle, who was suffering with extensive pain even though he was taking pain relievers.
After three cycles of chemotherapy, Kyle lost a lot of weight and was very thin. His pain persisted.
One day while Kyle was in his bed, Junie noticed he was upset and asked why he was irritated. Kyle was saying, “No, No” and crying.
Junie spoke to Kyle and his parents and learned doctors had recommended that Kyle needed to undergo amputation of his left leg. This was devastating news.
Both of Kyle’s parent agreed with the doctors, but Kyle had a hard time saying “yes”.
Junie shared with Kyle that while keeping his leg might feel safe, doing so would put his life in danger. Removing his left leg would allow him to live.
He had his operation in January. From then on, there was a big change. Kyle had no more pain and he regained weight.
The boy who was very happy, active and strong was back. Kyle is finishing the remaining chemo treatments. He is hoping to remain cancer-free and receive an artificial leg that will allow him to walk again.
Seed Of Love provides a secure place for families to sleep, eat meals, research their child’s treatments and find encouragement as they navigate the challenges of cancer. Seed Of Love operates Shelter Of Hope, a half-way house in Manila. The families are often from distant provinces and desperately poor. They would otherwise live on the streets during treatments. Learn more about Seed Of Love.