Tag Archives: in the spirit of giving

Just because..

I’ve been getting off a corner or two before or after my usual stop on Sixth Avenue the past couple of days no thanks to Fashion Week which ends today.  We had to go past and I ended up a block … Continue reading

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For Franz Pantaleon in New York

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Let’s play some Badminton!

Fee: PHP 750.00
Levels: A,b,c,d,e
Categories: Ladies, Men’s and Mixed
Levelling dates: March 20(7-9 pm) and March 21(2-5 pm)
Contact person : EG LIM -09157325555
For the benefit of Haven for Women

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ROCK FOR A REASON, March 26: For Franz Pantaleon

Entrance fee is P150, which includes 1 beer. 50% of that will go towards Franz’s medical bills. Organizers will also be collecting donations there, so if you’d like to give more than the entrance fee, it would be very much appreciated.  Souvenir T-shirts and Tote Bags will also be sold for the same cause.

Let’s all come together to help Franz!
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“I don’t deserve this” — Franz Pantaleon

The following article was reprinted with permission from 
Rachel Lee E. Pantaleon and Franz Pantaleon

This is the story of how a benign check-up led to a month-long hospitalization replete with tests and in the final diagnosis…a malignant tumor. This is the plight of our 18-year old son, Franz Felix E. Pantaleon, who has been diagnosed with Extra-Skeletal Ewing’s Sarcoma.

Franz is the eldest of three boys and a college freshman taking up Advertising Management. He is into photography, computer software and gaming, badminton, reading (Neil Gaiman’s graphic novels), writing, cooking Chinese and Japanese dishes, Rubik’s cube and other puzzles, as well as, the obligatory chores.

In the last quarter of 2008, Franz complained on and off of pain on his left flank side, which disappeared when he would take pain-relievers. In November 2008, he urinated with blood once but routine urinalysis was normal and a doctor friend said he probably passed stone; we thought nothing more of it. In early December of the same year we brought him to the pediatrician for a check-up but she did not detect anything and attributed the pain to muscle strain. In January of this year, Franz complained of pain on his right flank side followed by several instances of bloody urine, we brought him to a nephrologist for check-up that same week. An ultrasound of his abdomen revealed a large tumor inside his left kidney, which warranted a nephrectomy or the removal of said kidney.

From January 19, 2009 to February 1, 2009, Franz was confined in the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) under the care of a urologist, nephrologist, and an oncologist. During this time he underwent a series of blood tests, ultrasound, and CT-scans. The first time, a nephrectomy was scheduled but was postponed when involvement of the heart was suspected. A thoracic cardio-vascular surgeon was called in and he spoke to us of the possible need for open-heart surgery on top of the nephrectomy. The second time around the scheduled major, major surgery was cancelled. After careful deliberation the expert doctors decided that the risks of surgery far outweighed its benefits, and instead suggested a new drug that targeted renal cells that may or may not shrink the tumor. Even in the absence of a biopsy, we were willing to give it a shot.

Finally, a biopsy of the tumor was done, this in itself resulted to some complications for Franz when blood clots formed in his urinary bladder and he was catheterized and later on underwent emergency cystoscopy for clot evacuation. After two harrowing weeks capped by a blood transfusion, we were discharged while awaiting the result of the biopsy.

Only three days after our discharge, Franz came down with a high fever and difficulty breathing, this coincided with the release of the biopsy result that suggested lymphoma and called for a confirmatory test. Based on the inconclusive result, the new drug was stopped because it was not what he needed. On February 5, 2009, Franz was once again confined in PGH to address his fever and to prepare his healthy kidney to handle possible chemotherapy. The diagnosis of lymphoma was not confirmed and additional tests from National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) needed to be done to determine the diagnosis. A week after his second admission the histopathology result from NKTI came out determining that Franz has Extra-Skeletal Ewing’s Sarcoma.

Without wasting any more time, a Power Port was surgically inserted in Franz’s chest below the right collarbone. Connected directly to his jugular vein, this allowed easy and safe access each time the healing drugs would course through his veins. A couple of days later he received the 1st course in cycle 1 of his chemotherapy. He still has a long way to go in terms of treatment. In his behalf, we have filed for his Leave of Absence from the university while he undergoes medical treatment. Thankfully, his bone scan shows no evidence of metastasis in the bone and we are waiting for the result of the bone marrow aspiration. His care and treatment have been handed over to a pediatric oncologist and she has discussed with us the protocol for Franz’s treatment.

Through all that he has been through, Franz’s faith remains strong. Even as he endured one test after another while doctors tried to determine his illness his belief in God never wavered. “When I pray, I pray that the doctors would find the answers and that God would see me through this. I never doubted that I would be okay.” In fact, visitors in the hospital and doctors alike are amazed at how well he looks – just like any ordinary teen-ager. As Franz likes to say, “Just because I have an illness doesn’t mean I’m sick.”

Since relatives and friends have learned of Franz’s medical condition, the outpouring of prayers, masses, and novenas from different parts of the country and even abroad from as far away as the U.S, Rome, and Indonesia has been overwhelming. Upon hearing of Franz’s desire to go to Disneyland, relatives have pledged an all-expense paid trip to Hong Kong, which he is very much looking forward to. Innumerable acts of kindness have rained on Franz and our family with no act too small to go unnoticed. People close to us, as well as others, who are mere acquaintances, have dug deep into their pockets and given generously from their hearts of their own volition.

When Franz said, “I don’t deserve this,” I thought he meant the disease – that he doesn’t deserve to be sick with cancer. When I probed about what he meant he said, “I don’t deserve all the blessings.”

It is our deepest, greatest hope that with your fervent prayers and help in any form, we may continue Franz’s medical treatment and set him on the road to complete healing and recovery.

Those interested to help can contact Rachel Pantaleon at rachpantaleon@yahoo.com

Paypal Donations are accepted, and bank information will be provided upon request for those who wish to make a deposit in Manila.

Members of Facebook may wish to join the group FOR FRANZ PANTALEON.  This is an open group and everyone is welcome to join.


*Rock for a Reason*

RockEd, an organization that uses the rock music community to support various causes and advocacies, has generously agreed to help Franz by setting up a fundraising gig at SaGuijo on March 26, 2009 (Thursday).

You’re all invited, and do bring as many friends as you’d like – anyone can come and enjoy the music! It’ll be a fun night, with several popular bands in the lineup.

For those who haven’t been there, SaGuijo is a bar in Makati where some of the country’s top bands play.

Entrance fee is P150, which includes 1 local beer. 50% of that will go towards Franz’s medical bills. We’ll also be collecting donations there, so if you’d like to give more than the entrance fee, it would be very much appreciated.

Directions to SaGuijo: From EDSA, take Buendia, then turn right on Pasong Tamo. Turn right on Bagtikan, then take the first left into Guijo St. SaGuijo is on the right, you can’t miss it.

Band Lineup:

South Super Highway
Juan Lunar


Ted Reyes is organizing a benefit concert for Franz on May 29, 2009 (Saturday) at Fontana’s in New York City.

8 PM – 2 AM

Line-up of artists to be finalized.

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Playing Santa at MoMA

The company I work for is a corporate sponsor of MoMA (the Museum of Modern Art) and I am entitled to free admission plus one guest. (It used to be myself plus 4). I always get a kick out of giving away my free tickets, but I try to be discriminating about whom I choose to treat.

With a $20 entrance fee for adults, $16 for seniors and $14 (or something like that) for students, a freebie is a freebie. I picked 3 kids who had fallen in line and who were quite surprised to get the two tickets I proffered. Call it my Thanksgiving good deed.

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A Digital Scrapbook Charity Kit

One of my favorite scrapbooking sites right now is Sweet Shoppe Designs from where I’ve purchased kits I intend to use for our Maine scrapbook.  (My next project after the Kennebunkport Album I’m working on.)  I was browsing their offerings and saw this charity kit which the designers have put together to help a family who had lost everything in a fire.  The kit is available to the end of the year and all profits will go to Laura’s family.  Please click on the graphic to read more about this and preview the kit.

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Pakikipag-kapwa tao

It never ceases to amaze me how the purest forms of kindness come at the most unusual times from the most unexpected places. I have received at least one response to my post below about Dave, and an e-mail to some almost forty batchmates of Dave’s Mom and I has already produced three replies which is truly very heartening.

It continues to underscore my faith in the innate generosity of man in general, no matter how opportunistic or evil others may be. I am sure more would’ve helped if they were in a position to, but not all are as lucky. Still, I find it truly remarkable how others would care to help someone they had only read about but do not know directly.

To those who have responded, thank you. To those mulling about giving aid to Dave in his battle to conquer his leukemia, please e-mail me at pinaynewyorker@gmail.com and I will direct you towards the best possible channel through which you can send your help to him. No amount is too small to make a difference.

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Another appeal for Dave

We’d like to appeal to your generosity once again.  Below is Pie Bonoan-Cabigas’ latest update on Dave.  We really, really need your help.  As per Jinky’s update, too, Dave has lost his hair but it appears he is responding well to treatment so we cannot stop now.
You can donate to any of the following accounts but please make sure to let us know how much you deposited and to which account it went.  NO AMOUNT IS TOO SMALL.  You can also mail checks to my address.
Dave has finished his first phase (Induction  phase) of chemotherapy 2 weeks ago.  He’s been very active since then and  continues to gain weight.  He was again confined at PCMC (Philippine Childrens  Medical Center) starting this afternoon for another BMA (bone marrow  aspiration) procedure and other tests.  He is currently undergoing his next chemo  treatment which is the start of the Consolidation phase in the Chemo Protocol.

The Consolidation phase is the most expensive part of Dave’s chemo treatment.  We therefore need to prepare for it’s funding now specially since we are not sure if there will be another  grant from PCSO.  The PCSO guarantee letter has approximately P9000 left in  it so Jinky has been working on getting additional funds.  However,  additional funding cannot be considered by PCSO until the expiration of the  first guarantee letter on July 4 and the subsequent accounting & payment  done between PCMC and PCSO. 
In the meantime, we have asked Jinky to also  explore the possibility of  obtaining funds from the office of Senator Loi  Ejercito who is known to be partial to medical causes.

We have completed setting up the Metrobank  Savings account for the handling of Dave’s fund here in Manila.  Please course  subsequent Manila donations to this new account. 

The account details are as  follows:              
Acct name:  Maria Estrella dela Cruz Tolentino
Acct number:  198-3-19815664-8
Branch:  West Avenue


For US Based donations, please e-mail me at pinaynewyorker@gmail.com for details.

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Ang Balikbayan Box

My mom and I have started packing the balikbayan boxes we will be sending via sea cargo ahead of her departure towards the end of this month. She will still arrive in Manila before the boxes do, but that means that she won’t have to give up precious pasalubongs (both old and new) because of the weight restriction by the airlines limiting her check-in luggage to 2 pieces at 50 lbs each.

Mom is bringing home practically a box full of old but gently used clothes (mostly from Angel) which she will distribute to her poor kababayans in Bgy. San Vicente in Bulan, Sorsogon. She has her more than 2 dozen Ralph Lauren and Disney towels which we bought during the weekend’s Memorial Day sales. She had painstakingly set aside the plastic trays that the catering delis provide to bring home to the province where she would hold a party for the kids serving spaghetti and orange juice.

I’m trying to “sequester” some space and hope to send some of “my padalas” in at least one box. I have books to send to my niece and nephew which their Dad, my brother, would patiently read to them. I bought my then 6-year-old niece this tome-like “Disney’s Princess Treasury” which had to be left behind the last time because we were packed to the limit, even as we went home with baggage allowance good for 5 passengers. (Now that I think about it, we brought home a lot!)

I like the way that a balikbayan box holds so much. I like it even beeter that despite the longer transit time when the box is sent as sea cargo, there is practically no limit to the weight of the box once packed. I was told that it was not going to be charged a weight surcharge for as long as the box can be sealed close without a problem, and that it could be lifted by one person even if done so with effort.

I had hoped to write some letters and pack away the odds and ends I had picked up in the last 12 months. I have bags of different shapes and sizes, picked up through the various end-of-season sales. I have books I bought to give away and share with friends who share my love of reading — all acquired in the past year… I have several “gift with purchase” make up I send to my sister and sister-in-law. There’s the flavored herbal tea I pick up when they go on sale.

That balikbayan box brings home so much love both to family and strangers back home. Its long journey truly a trip worthwhile.

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