Dubai: Dubai-based Filipino teen Randolph Francis Palomar was only 11 when doctors said he had a week to live because of liver failure, following his second chemotherapy for brain cancer. A 6.8cm malignant tumour was lodged in the centre of his brain and he underwent several rounds of radiotherapy.
Today, he is a charming 17-year-old who recently completed his fourth grade with honours.
Though living in Dubai with his parents, he is currently enrolled as a grade five student (doing online classes) at St. Rose of Lima Catholic School in Nueva Ecija, his mother’s hometown in the Philippines.
He lost his peripheral vision due to complications but cancer did not blind his spirit to have the will to live. He stammers when he speaks but he is always clear in expressing his mind and sharing his success story as a brave cancer survivor.
Randolph told Gulf News: “I survived because of the love and support of my family and friends; and most important of all, I did not lose hope. I prayed to God unceasingly; my faith did not falter. With God nothing is impossible.”
Quoting his favourite adage, he added: “Where there is hope, there is faith. Where there is faith, miracles happen.”
“It was indeed a miracle that my son survived,” said Rodolfo, Randolph’s father. “My wife and I almost gave up hope when the doctor told us that our son only had a few days to live. It was six years ago and he just finished his second round of chemo but his body has weakened and his liver failed.”
Randolph also contracted an infection because of his low immunity.
“He was admitted to the ICU (intensive care unit) after catching pneumonia and over the next three weeks, he went through two seizures, one of which almost took his life. He stopped breathing and was not responding to oxygen. My wife could not stop shouting and crying. But from his sickbed – with different IV (intravenous) tubes attached to his body – we saw our son was still fighting and all we did was pray hard for a miracle,” Rodolfo said.
The father continued: “Our prayers were answered. We did not lose our only son. Doctors were surprised with his recovery. Third chemotherapy was no longer needed and as soon as our son garnered enough strength, radiation therapy was resumed. The 6.8cm tumour then shrunk to 1.6cm and eventually looked like just a scar on MRI scan.”
Grateful and generous
Randolph’s story was first published by Gulf News in March 2016, when the family asked for support to fund the life-saving but expensive treatment. Donations poured in from generous individuals and groups, including the Good Samaritans Ministry at St Mary’s Catholic Church in Dubai that coordinated the fundraising.
Recently, Rodolfo contacted Gulf News to say that his son is doing well in online school. He also sent photos of the family visiting Dubai Expo early this year and shared a handwritten note from Randolph, who is keen on achieving his dream of becoming an architect someday.
“His health is improving everyday but he still has to undergo regular check-ups and MRI scan annually. We felt we had to share Randolph’s story again to provide inspiration and impart strength to other people and families who are in the same situation we were in six years ago, as well as to bear witness to human faith and strength,” added Rodolfo, who first came to Dubai in 2010 to work as an office boy.
Now a porter team leader, he said, “We also would like to thank everyone who helped our family, including Friends of Cancer Patients, Cancer Patient Care Society - Rahma, St Mary’s Catholic Church, as well as generous individuals and Gulf News. Seeing our son grow and holding his hand is a gift and a daily miracle. People’s prayers and generosity helped save our son’s life.”