By Vi Martillano

Several weeks ago, we received an email from a lady asking help for her mother who has breast cancer. The mother has just gone through 8 cycles of chemotherapy. However, after the treatment, she was diagnosed positive for “HER2 NEU” which means there is a big chance of recurrence. To avoid this, she has to undergo another 12 cycles of chemotherapy costing Php86,000 per cycle (about US$2,000) or a total of US$24,000. Bernadette, the daughter, requested for financial help because they have exhausted most if not all of their resources. It is a humbling experience to ask help from people you do not even know. But for love of her mother, she humbled herself and asked for financial help.

While reading Bernadette’s email my tears began to flow. Though I do not know her personally, I really felt the extreme emotional pain and the very difficult situation she and her family were going through. At that moment I heared a voice speak to my heart, “Tears are not enough, there’s something greater that you can do.” The first thing that came to mind is to offer my fervent prayers for Gloria’s complete healing and provisions. But it didn’t stop there. I was also reminded of the verse in John 15:13 that says “The greatest love a person can give for his friends is to give his life for them.” I truly believe that prayer is so powerful, and a strong faith is a gift from GOD but as St. James said, “Faith without action is dead.” (James 2:26) So I asked my husband, Ramon, if we can help Gloria.

John 15:13 gave me a deeper meaning. That actually it is not hard to “lay our lives” for our neighbors especially those who are in dire need and are not losing hope. For how can you turn your back on them especially if GOD has given you the capacity to help?

In these modern times we don't have to die physically for a friend or for someone we don't even know. All we have to do is to "die" to ourselves so that other people in need especially the sick and the needy may live. (Remember? Live simply so that others may simply live.)  Imagine we are being used by GOD to have a part in extending one's life on earth. To “die for a friend” is simply responding to that person’s needs with love whether you know him/her or not. Our willingness to give our “own” cheerfully is already a grace. To be able to share and respond to a person’s need even in the simplest way is like sharing a bit of “heaven” to those who are suffering and are losing hope. To “die” for a neighbor is the greatest love we can give not only for them but most especially to GOD.

By the way, we were told that Gloria's prayer, before her daughter sent the email, was, "Lord, if you want me to continue with my chemo, please provide me with the necessary funds.” Two days later, Gloria received a call from a friend telling her that she will give her some money for her chemo. Still another call was received. This time from the hospital telling her that the hospital got some refund from her insurance. Inspired by GOD’s prompt response to her prayers, they started to ask help from people even from those they do not know.

We phoned Gloria (in Manila) last month. She was in high spirits as she was preparing for her first of 12 cycles of treatment.  She is requesting for prayers, that she will have enough strength for this additional treatment.  As one friend said, "It (chemo) is very physically, psychologically, emotionally and financially draining."

Ramon and I would like to thank our Filipino and Indonesian friends who unselfishly offered prayers and gave financial assistance to Gloria, even if they didn’t know her. Thank you very much! The Lord will surely bless you for your generosity. Amen!