An Appeal to Support a Volunteer Advocate

Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 2:29pm

Dear Friends and Members of the Community,

Divinagracia “Divine” Benitez has dedicated her all adult life to serving others. After graduating from Ateneo de Zamboanga in 2004, she joined JVP, and as a part of Batch 25, she worked as a coalition builder among various peoples’ organizations in Compostela Valley. She went on to serve another year as a Jesuit Volunteer; as part of batch 26, she worked as a program officer at the Mangyan Heritage enter in Calapan, Oriental Mindoro. After two years of service, she returned to her alma mater and has spent the last five years serving the Ateneo de Zamboanga community and forming student servant-leaders in SACSI (Social Awareness and Community Service Involvement), while working with SACSI, she also served as the Coordinator for VOICE Zamboanga Cluster.

You may be wondering at this point why we are telling you about Divine, our friend and a volunteer advocate. The reason is simple—this person who has dedicated her adult life thus far to helping and serving others now needs our help, needs your help.

Last week, Divine was rushed to the hospital because of fluid in her lungs. This is an effect of a tumor, the size of a small pomelo, that doctors found in her lungs only recently.

Divine had been suffering a chronic cough for about four months, which she brought to the attention of doctors during a recent work-related trip to Manila. She was then given antibiotics and anti-cough medicine. However, these medicines had no effect—she even saw blood in her phlegm—which prompted her to seek another medical opinion back home in Zamboanga. There, the doctors gave her the initial diagnosis of tuberculosis, and put her on a course of anti-TB medicines. It was only recently, when the anti-TB medicines did not seem to have an effect, that the doctors found the tumor.

We have not yet received news of the results of the biopsy—the results are expected this afternoon (Thursday, 29 April) or tomorrow. But, whether the tumor is benign or malignant, Divine has to be transferred from Zamboanga to the Lung Center here in Metro Manila, and she will have to go through many difficult—and expensive—procedures in order to get well.

For those who would like to give further monetary and financial support, you can give your donations in the following ways:

The Zamboanga Local Chapter bank account for Divine:
BPI N.S. Valderosa Branch,
Zamboanga City
Acct Number: 2111-0001-42

Aside from financial support, you can help Divine in many other ways:

By referring us to friends or family members who are doctors at the Lung Center, to help facilitate Divine’s smooth transfer;

By including Divine and her healing in your prayers.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read this note, and for your support of Divine.

In gratitude,

- Jesuit Volunteers Philippines Batches 25 and 26
- VOICE Zamboanga Cluster
  (VOICE Network)

(Jesuit Volunteers Philippines is a member of VOICE Network)

You can contact VOICE thru Dindin Belgica at 09159262619 to share your contacts with us, and we will forward the information to Divine and the Zamboanga Local Community. 

Thank you again for your support.

Update: June 17, 2010

Divine is scheduled for operation on 22 June 2010. She's needing more than 12 blood type "O+" donors for this operation.  To donate, pls contact Dindin at 0915-9262619 for us to coordinate. The Lung Center Blood Bank is at the Ground Floor near the Pathology Department. Thank you


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