Dubai: In March 2016, Gulf News carried a story about a Dubai student who was fighting for his life in a hospital in Manila, Philippines, as a result of a 6cm tumour in the centre of his brain.
Parents of the 10-year-old Filipino student, Randolph Palomer, were in urgent need of funds for life-saving treatment that would help the child vanquish the disease and return to Dubai to get on with his life.
Four cycles of chemotherapy followed by radiation at a cost of over Dh55,000 were required to give Randolph a new lease of life, an amount the family could not afford, the father, who doesn’t earn much, had told Gulf News.
Mounting hospital bills were also another challenge facing the family.
When the story was carried, donations came pouring in to help with the treatment, Rodolph Palomer said. The exact amount of funds needed were then collected in just a few days through the Samaritans Ministry of St Mary’s Catholic Church, who was helping with the fundraising.
Randolph is now back in Dubai, with almost no trace of the tumour in his brain, after completing his treatment, and is recovering slowly. His father said they are hoping for his fast recovery so he can join school again.
“It was a long journey since March, there were many ups and many downs as Randolph began his treatment. By the second cycle of chemotherapy, Randolph was facing complications in his liver and was admitted to the ICU. His condition was very serious and he could’ve entered a coma. We thought we would lose him,” said the emotional father, who works as a porter at Dubai airport.
As they continued to pray for him, a few days later in August, they were surprised with the miracle of his recovery, he said. “The doctor could not believe that my son had recovered in just three days. The 6.8cm tumour had shrunk to 1.6cm. He did not need the third cycle of treatment, but required 25 cycles of radiation therapy. He later began the radiation.”
The family’s happiness was short-lived when they later found that Randolph had contracted an infection because of his low immunity. “He was admitted again to the ICU after catching pneumonia and for three weeks he went through two seizures, one which almost took his life. He stopped breathing and was not responding to oxygen. My wife could not stop shouting and crying. But Randolph was strong and he survived.”
The hospital bills began mounting again after his entry twice to the ICU, but the community extended its support once more.
“Randolph was discharged from the hospital after recovering from the infection and a CT scan showed that his tumour had shrunk to 0.6cm. This is the best news we had heard, and we considered this another miracle.”
He says he was beyond thankful to all the generous people who took the initiative to help his son recover.
“After this journey we have learnt to be stronger as parents. It was a trial that came with many lessons, but we are grateful for everything, and to God. We also learnt to stand by others and be of help when they need us. We hope our story will inspire others who are going through any ordeal to always have hope.”
Rodolph said even though Randolph has partial blindness and speech difficulties now as a result of the treatment, they will do everything it takes to support him. Oral therapy is the next step, he added, but they currently won’t be able to afford it.
“After his full recovery, and as per the doctor’s instructions, we want to send him back to school. He is overjoyed to be back in Dubai to see his friends and is eager to join school again to complete his fourth grade.”