Seeking help: Gil Mercid Mercedita and Gil Gapdula are appealing for help for their son 11-year-old Gil Mercid who suffers from congenital heart disease Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/ Xpress

Dubai: Gill Mercid is 10, but unlike other boys his age he stays huddled in his room in Satwa for most of the day.

He appears normal, but the minute he stands or starts walking, he collapses. “He invariably keeps his legs folded and we have to carry him around. Otherwise, there is no flow of oxygen,” said his mother Mercedita.

Gill suffers from a congenital heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot which leads to low oxygenation of blood. He is very weak, his skin is wrinkled and posture drooping. He barely walks a few steps before he faints.

His condition has deteriorated so badly over the years that he can no longer go to school.

“He has been at home since last September 1. He has attended school back home in the Philippines till Grade 4 and is very frustrated because he cannot be with other children. But I cannot risk sending him out of the house even to play, let alone school, as I am afraid he will collapse.

“He wants to go to the park and the mall. But the last time I took him to the park was in September when he fainted and I had to rush him back.”

Open-heart surgery

A desperate mother, whose husband is currently unemployed, Mercedita said Gill’s condition can be corrected through open heart surgery but she cannot afford it. A copy of a medical report from a hospital in Cebu, Philippines, confirmed Mercedita’s claims.

“I urgently require financial help. There is no time to lose, but I do not have money for the surgery. Our family income is too small to bear the huge cost,” said the mother of three who works as a teaching assistant.

She said she had consulted doctors both in the UAE and in the Philippines and has been told that the operation is possible, but it costs around Dh70,000 here and 800,000 pesos back home.

She said she had knocked on several doors for financial assistance to sustain Gill’s medical treatment so far.

Extending support

Several volunteers at St Mary’s Church under the guidance of parish Priest Rev Father Tomasito have extended support to Gill, but Mercedita is desperate to raise funds for the surgery. “Gill’s condition is rapidly deteriorating and the surgery needs to be done immediately. Please help us save his life.”

Confined to his room which accommodates three bunk beds, Gill said: “I want to be like other boys. My mother says I have to be operated. The first thing I want to do when I am okay is run.”

“Please give him a chance,” pleaded his mother.

If you wish to help Gill, write to: editor@xpress4me.com

You could also contact Daniel on 0097150 450 2642