Abu Dhabi, UAE: He has been battling cancer for nearly four years, and Larry Castro still has fight left in him. But a life-saving surgery seems just out of reach for the 35-year-old Filipino.
“This is my third relapse into cancer, and I am determined to beat it. But I must appeal to the generosity of UAE residents to help me avail of an urgent bone marrow transplant. It is my only hope for survival,” Castro told Gulf News.
The Filipino resident needs to raise nearly Dh320,000 for the surgery, which has been recommended at the earliest possible opportunity.
“I have already undergone three years of chemotherapy, and my cancer has returned time and time again. Now I need to get the transplant if I want to get better,” he explained.
Castro, who used to work as a supermarket staffer in Dubai, was first diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia, one of the most common forms of fatal blood cancer, in 2011. A first round of chemotherapy seemed successful, but he relapsed in 2013. Further chemotherapy was provided, but to no avail. He is now admitted at Dubai Hospital.
“It is a painful process to have cancer treated, and I have lost my hair and much of my vitality. But perhaps the worst part is that I have not been able to return to the Philippines in all this time to see my 60-year-old mother and 12-year-old daughter,” Castro said.
His mother now hopes to be the donor for her son, and the surgery could be scheduled for next month. But first Castro needs to make a deposit of at least Dh80,000 towards the surgery cost to the hospital in Manila.
“Through the efforts of my friends and well-wishers, I have received Dh24,000. And another charity has promised to grant me Dh30,000. But I still don’t have access to the full Dh80,000, and I am far from covering the full cost,” he explained.
The cancer patient added that he also hopes to get well so that he can support his ageing mother and growing daughter.
“I lost my job in 2013 after the cancer relapsed the first time. Since then, I have been surviving on the kindness of people here, but have not been able to take care of my family back home,” he said.
As the time for the surgery nears, Castro’s friends are appealing for funds to save him.
Melanie Ramos, another supermarket staffer from the Philippines, said Castro deserves the chance to live.
“He may be sick and admitted at the hospital, but he goes around visiting other patients and cheering them up. His patience and fortitude are remarkable, and I would urge everyone to help his cause,” she said.
© Gulf NewsNov 2015