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Hike for 11-yr-old kidney patient

08 October 2018

By Vir B. Lumicao

The 3.l5 kilometer hike to Nam Long Shan, or Brick Hill, on Sept 23 may have been easy and leisurely, but it was the purpose behind the activity that powered the participants up the scenic hill in Aberdeen.

Some 50 OFWs from various parts of Hong Kong gathered on a bright and sunny day at Wong Chuk Hang MTR station, the rendezvous for the two-hour trek up Nam Long Shan Road, to the brick circular helipad atop the hill that is partly straddled by Ocean Park.

They had responded to a call from Marites Palma, founding president of Roxas Group of Migrants, for a trek of love for 11-year-old Charlene Kate Ponce Lariosa, who is suffering from chronic kidney disease Stage 5. Helping Palma organize the hike was Jessie Quevedo, another OFW.

Charlene, from Matusalem, Roxas, Isabela, will undergo a kidney transplant next month with her mother, Jhona Ponce Lariosa, a housewife, as the donor. She has a younger sister, Nathalie Keith, 5.

Participants gather at the MTR station for a final briefing.
Charlene’s father, Jayson Lariosa, a seafarer who is in the high seas at the moment, does not make enough to afford the cost of three-times-a-day dialysis that the girl requires, in addition to the family’s daily sustenance.

Palma, a kind-hearted and nosy OFW and member of The Sun Writers Club, said she first heard about Charlene’s plight when an aunt of the patient asked her to buy a ticket for a charity cause. The aunt told her the fundraising was for Jhona’s daughter.

“Naisipan kong magbenta din ng ticket noong una, pero parang kakaunti ang bumibili kaya naisipan kong mag-organize ng charity walk,” Palma said. She said she contacted Quevedo because she knew he had experience organizing charity walks.

Soon, the event “Hike for a Cause for Charlene Kate Ponce Lariosa” was calendared on Facebook and gained promises of support from the Filipino community in Hong Kong.

Before the hike got started, the participants had shelled out various amounts that, combined with donations by various individuals, totaled $5,000.

Palma said in peso terms, she had collected PhP34,400, which augmented PhP5,821 in ticket sale proceeds that she had remitted in August to Charlene Kate’s mother.

Among those who made cash or check donation were Rosabelle Woolf of AFreight, Merlinda Mercado of Metro Bank, Card HK Trainors, Fate Team, DOMO HK, Korean employer Rebuga Kang and hike co-organizer Quevedo.

Those who could not join the 50 hikers sent their financial contribution by fund transfer to a TNG account set up for the cause.

“Lubos na nagpapasalamat po ang pamilya ni Charlene Kate sa napakalaking tulong pinansiyal
na naipaabot ng mga manggagawang Pilipino dito sa Hong Kong,” Palma said, adding that the girl’s mother was so touched she could not hold back tears on receiving the remittance.

The hikers who heeded the charity call were members of Card HK, friends from Kapihan ng Paoay Association, Isabela Federation and United San Manuel Association, workers from Roxas, Isabela, and friends of Palma on Facebook.

Those who would like to donate to Charlene Kate’s fund may contact Marites Palma through The SUN Hong Kong or on her Facebook account.

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