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Cancer-stricken Filipina goes home with $45.5k donation

05 February 2022

 By Daisy CL Mandap 

Cyril is the picture of happiness as she hugs her youngest daughter on her return home

She was a picture of both sadness and excitement as she took her final trip home from Hong Kong on Friday, Feb. 4.

Cyril S. Galvez, a former domestic worker who is suffering from late-stage cervical cancer, was taken straight from Queen Elizabeth Hospital by ambulance to the airport, where she took the 4pm Cathay Pacific flight to Manila.

She spent one night at a five-star hotel in Manila before being flown on Saturday afternoon to Iloilo City, where she was met at the airport by her family, including her two young daughters and her partner.


Cyril asked to be brought home directly so she could spend time with her family instead of checking in at the Western Visayas Medical Centre where she was referred to by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration office in Hong Kong.

Before leaving Hong Kong, the visibly emaciated but excited Cyril took time to send a video message to everyone in the city who comforted her, and gave generously to help provide for her medical needs when she gets back to the Philippines.

Maraming salamat po sa mga nagbigay ng financial na suporta at prayers para ako lumakas,” she said. (Thank you very much to all who gave financial support and offered prayers so I will regain strength).


Nandito ako ngayon sa airport at excited na akong makarating sa Pilipinas at makita ko na ang pamilya ko,” Cyril said. (I am now at the airport and I am very excited to go home to the Philippines so I can see my family).

OWWA nurse Josz takes a selfie with the group that sent Cyril off in HK

Two of her older sisters, Mary Grace Latorilla and Ma. Theresa Galvez, who are both domestic workers as well, were on hand to see her off, along with a friend.

According to Grace, a total donation of $45,526 was raised for Cyril in just six days, after the story of her plight was published in The SUN’s website and Facebook page.

One of the biggest donors was employer Vivian Wong who promptly gave $10,000 after her Filipina helper showed her the story on Cyril. A group of workers from their hometown of Calinog, Iloilo, also raised $6,640, after an appeal was issued by their leader, Joy Casiple.

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Grace’s own employer gave $2,000 while the group Social Justice for Migrant Workers led by Marites Palma gave $1,500. Another donor was a volleyball team which gave $600 and various friends who gave cash totaling $650.

But the bulk of the donations came from migrant workers who sent their donations to two Alipay accounts in the name of Grace and Theresa. The first had a total of $13,434 paid in, while the second had $10,702.

Grace kept tab of the donations to Cyril

One of the groups that sent its donation to Grace’s account was Global Filipinos in HK headed by another fellow Ilonggo, Leo Selomenio.

Also at Hong Kong Airport to assist Cyril was OWWA staff and nurse Joszoa Villa, who arranged for her ambulance transfer and escorted her through HK Immigration. A fellow migrant worker arranged by OWWA to accompany Cyril flew with her on the plane.

Cyril, who is due to celebrate her 36th birthday on Feb 26, was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in October, just a month after starting work with a new employer.

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Grace said her sister first learned she had stage 2 cervical cancer in March last year, and with the help and support of her former employer, she underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Thinking that she was well enough to continue working and providing for her two daughters aged 9 and 11, Cyril signed up with a new employer in September last year.

Grace tells her younger sister they'll see each other in Iloilo soon

Grace said Cyril suffered from so much stress adjusting to her new job that just a month later, she was told her cancer had returned.

Cyril struggled to get treated at the hospital while working, but only three months later, her employer decided to terminate their contract. Cyril was paid $7,000 and booked on a return trip to Manila and Iloilo on Jan. 16.


But three days before her scheduled trip home, Cyril suffered severe stomach ache while in a boarding house, and was rushed to Queen Elizabeth Hospital. She was immediately operated on due to kidney malfunction.

She learned then that her cancer had worsened and had spread to other parts of her body. She was also told she needed to be discharged although she did not have any place to stay.

With OWWA’s help, Cyril was allowed to remain at the hospital until her flight home. The employment agency that placed her with her last employer was also asked to buy a new air ticket for Cyril, and for the escort who accompanied her on the flight home.


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