Finding joy in sharing
I AGREE with Ramon Farolan’s view that there is a wonderful world for the senior citizen. (Inquirer, 4/4/11)
This world was made more wonderful when the United Bayanihan Foundation, an organization of Unilab retirees, launched a medical mission for senior citizens on May 12, 2011 in Antipolo, Rizal.
The scene that greeted the UBF group upon arrival at Ynares Stadium was a big crowd of elderly persons seated on monobloc chairs holding on to their registration forms and IDs. Some wore brightly colored vests in blue, red, yellow, etc. They came from far-flung barangays of the towns of Morong, Cardona, Teresa, Taytay and Baras. Five coordinators were checking the attendance and giving last-minute instructions. An 88-year-old former school teacher was busily checking one group of seniors sitting meekly at the back. I was told that she was the president of the Senior Citizens of Barangay San Jose in Morong. Although many couldn’t come for lack of funds for transportation and food expenses, still there were more than 600 seniors who attended.
After the checking of vital signs and blood screening the seniors were ushered into two important areas—the lecture rooms. RA 9994, the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 and its pertinent provisions as regards government assistance, benefits and other special privileges were explained. The lecture about Diabetes and Hypertension aroused particular interest and attention. Many if not most of the listeners were walking along “diabetic and hypertensive grounds.”
The biggest area/room was for medical consultation where retired doctors from UBF worked hand in hand with doctors from Health First and nearby hospitals. Diagnosis was common for all: hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, arthritis, rheumatism and various body aches and pains that characterize aging. A woman in her 70s, wearing a red vest, went in and out of the room and insisting to see a midwife, not a doctor!
Nurses, retiree members and other Unilab volunteers were kept on their toes as wave after wave of senior citizens came to avail themselves of the free medicine.
It is often said that people find joy in living by giving of themselves. A heartening word, a gracious act can transform the day for the one who receives it.
The United Bayanihan Foundation transformed the lives of many who came that day—the invaluable knowledge gained from the brief but meaningful lectures, the free consultations and medicines, the discounted anti-pneumonia vaccines, the free snacks, etc. It also highlighted the fact that indeed there is a wonderful world for the elderly if only they find time to seek each other, organize and bond for a worthy cause.
This medical mission was planned to serve the needs of as many indigent senior citizens as possible. The Rizal government is to be commended for the full support it extended through Rifosca (Rizal Federation of Senior Citizens Association) and the PSWD (Provincial Social Welfare Development).
The legacy of Jose Y. Campos, founder of Bayanihan, lives on in selfless undertakings such as this. God willing, this legacy will live on forever.
Vilma Regidor Taroy retired from the Division of City Schools, Manila in 2001.
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