Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hannah's Hundred

The gift of life is the most precious gift of all.

If you would like to pay it forward by giving a little girl a shot at life, please read on...

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my three birthday wishes. Today, I write about the fourth one. About a month ago, I came across the story of Hannah Ysabelle Cordoviz through my friend Rapa Lopa's Facebook site. Hannah is a one year old girl afflicted with Congenital Central Hypoventilation Syndrome (CCHS) - a condition wherein the nerve center that allows Hannah to breathe while sleeping does not function. The syndrome occurs in 1 out of every 1M newborn babies. In the Philippines, there are only three known cases of CCHS, the eldest is now three years old. CCHS patients are expected to lead long and productive lives provided they get the care and necessary medical equipment required for their day to day existence.

A ventilator is CRUCIAL to Hannah's survival. Her parents, Carlo and Joann are so steeped in debt that everything they make now, all go into paying the hospital bills they incurred while Hannah was in the hospital for eight months this year. They have also had to quit both their jobs to care for her 24/7. A portable ventilator costs 750,000 pesos. You can read more about their story in Hannah's Bassinet.

When I first blogged about Hannah, my blogmate and friend Tessa Mendoza Cruz, a physical therapist based in Atlanta, was so moved, that on her own, she circulated the letter to several ventilator suppliers in the United States. We had been praying for someone to either donate a unit or sell it to us at a substantial discount. And God answered our prayers!

An offer came through an email, for us to purchase the ventilator at an amazingly discounted cost! The offer was too good to be true and far beyond our wildest dreams and expectations. But isn't that the way the Lord works?

Between the three of us - Tessa, Rapa and myself - we decided to split the expected cost and create our own fundraising efforts.

And this is mine...

"Hannah's Hundred" is a 5K race that I plan to run on November 23, 2008. It is a race sponsored by UNICEF, aptly titled "Walk On The Child's Side". Now, I am no true-blue runner and this will be a major challenge for me. As of this writing, I have only ran a measly 3K and at a very slow pace :) I hope and pray that you will help me run this race for Hannah. I do not expect to win the race, only to complete it with Hannah as my motivation to run it to the best of my ability.

How does it work?

I am looking for at least 100 kind individuals who will pledge at 1,000 pesos each for the race I will run. Roughly, that is 200 pesos/kilometer. I am entering the 5K category. Each person who donates 1,000 pesos to the cause will be entitled to a raffle ticket.

What do you win?

Aside from being able to contribute and give the gift of breath and life to Hannah, you can win a very special prize. My good friend, the highly talented and very generous architect and visual artist Joven Ignacio has so graciously donated a watercolor painting of his which he titled "Hannah". Every 1000 pesos you donate to Hannah's Hundred will get you one chance to win Joven's beautiful watercolor painting (17 x 23). This precious artwork is of considerable value and blessed be the person who will take it home :)

Currently, I already have pledges from 5 people and I am looking for 95 more kind and generous souls. We all know that times are very difficult but one lesson I have learned time and again is that when we find the courage to go beyond ourselves, when we step out of the shadow of our own sadness, it is then that we feel braver, blessed and more optimistic about our circumstances. Somehow it has always been in giving that we become more fulfilled. It takes many kind hearts to give one child a better chance at life.

Will you run the race with me and be a part of HANNAH'S HUNDRED?

If you would like to make a pledge, or a deposit, please leave me a message here or email me at and I will acknowledge your pledge/deposit via email. If you know of others who may want to help Hannah out, please send this post to them. Any funds collected in excess of 100K will be donated to Hannah's parents to help defray her medical expenses. The raffle will be held after the race, in the first week of December. By God's grace, Hannah will get her ventilator, and a blessed donor will bring home the "Hannah" painting in time for Christmas.

Thank you very much!

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