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Employer raises funds, gets travel escorts for comatose OFW

20 October 2020

By Daisy CL Mandap 

Candy with her 3 kids who rely on her for support (from gofundme post)

A Hong Kong employer has turned to social media to appeal for help in looking for travel escorts for her Filipina domestic worker who is comatose in hospital after suffering a stroke, but whose family wants her back home in the Philippines.

Just days after Lewin Li posted the appeal on a Facebook site, two Filipina domestic workers have reportedly volunteered to accompany the helper, Candy, on her planned flight to Manila on Oct 26, 7pm, via Cathay Pacific.

In reply to an inquiry through messenger today, Oct 19, Li said: “We don’t need (another) one as now. Just waiting for OWWA (Overseas Workers Welfare Administration) to confirm their arrangement of the Hong Kong ambulance and Cathay to formally approve our booking.”

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Li began her difficult campaign to get 37-year-old Candy back home to her three young children, shortly after the helper suffered a massive stroke on Aug 24, which left her comatose and fighting for her life at Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital.

In a post that accompanied an online funding campaign she set up for Candy on Aug 27 (https://support.gofundme.com/hc/en-us/requests/new?ticket_form_id=360000288632), Li said the helper’s children wanted to see their mother again.

“Doctors said there is over 50% chance she may be in vegetative state even if she lives,” said Li in her post.  “Her children are desperate to see their mother and hear from her again (she used to FaceTime them every night before bedtime).  We are clinging on to any hope we can find.”

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Though Candy had worked for her family for just five months, Li said the Filipina had made a tremendous impact on them because of her “big, pure and loving heart.”

Li added, “Our son adores her and misses her tremendously.  He looks for her all the time.  We really wish a miracle can happen to her and her loved ones.”

But getting Candy back home to her children proved to be an almost insurmountable task.

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With help from Candy’s cousins, Li got in touch with the Philippine Consulate, hoping to get help in transporting her back home. But in an updated post on Oct 13, Li said “the process has been very slow and unclear.”

The Consulate, said Li, believed Cathay would not agree to have Candy on board without any nurse escort.

“Such nurse escort is normally provided by the Ph Consulate but they can no longer do so due to COVID-19 and all medical frontline staff are not allowed to leave the country, and now they’re expecting us to fork out US$70,000 for it. It’s been frustrating, to say the least,” she said in her post.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang Kwentong Dream Love

Undaunted, Li contacted Cathay directly, and learned Candy could be taken on board if there were two able-bodied adults who could fly with her, and sit in the same cabin as her.

Li's heart-rending appeal for travel escorts for Candy

Li wasted no time issuing an appeal to those who could fly home with her sick helper.

In her post, Li described Candy as completely bedridden and required only tube feeding. But because of the short flight to Manila, it was unlikely she would even need to be fed.

With this challenge almost hurdled, Li turned to working on her mission to raise up to US$25,000 to provide for the helper’s future needs, as well as those of her children, aged 14, 11, and 7 years old.

As of this writing, a total of US$23,123 has already been raised through the funding platform.

Li said in her latest post that US$3,100 of the money will be used to buy a piece of land for Candy and her three children, US$6,200 to build them a 300 sq ft house, around US$1,500 in fees (legal, architecture, and transactions), and the rest (<US$10,000) will be used to purchase hospital bed, wheelchair, tube feeding equipment, medicine, and other life support equipment for Candy.

Any money left would be allocated evenly among the three children for their daily needs or education.

So far, Li said money had been withdrawn from the fund to pay for a deposit on the planned house for Candy and her children, even if doctors say it is likely the young mother will remain in coma for the rest of her life.

“Please continue to support Candy and her family,” Li appealed.

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