Since October this year, Ethel Gabaton has made the University dorm at the Ateneo her second home. After her eldest daughter Abby was diagnosed with end stage renal disease in September this year, mother and daughter have been sharing a room at the dorm. Ethel had to move in after Abby’s nephrologist, Dr. Romina Danguilan, said that Abby would require 24/7 company and supervision.
The disease came all too suddenly. One day, Abby came home feeling weak and nauseous. It took several trips to several hospitals and visits to countless doctors before the Gabatons found out what was ailing Abby. After a 10-day confinement at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI), where her creatinine level went through the roof, a battery of tests revealed that she had end-stage renal disease and would require a kidney transplant at the soonest possible time to prevent further complications.
I first read about Abby through a FundMe page where an appeal was made to raise the money necessary for her kidney transplant. The full amount required, according to the NKTI, would be close to P2 million for both the transplant and her post-operation expenses. Her father will be donating his other kidney to Abby. The family hopes to be able to raise the amount by January.
Abby is a full scholar at the Ateneo, where she is a double major in two of the university’s toughest courses—Management Engineering, and the Economics Honors program. A consistent dean’s lister, she also graduated as class valedictorian in elementary and high school at Pasig Catholic College. An Ateneo merit scholar, she was among the Top 40 students who aced the Ateneo College Entrance Test three years ago.
Clearly, Abby has a very bright future ahead of her, but to get her to that future requires that she first undergo the crucial kidney transplant she badly needs in January. God willing, the new year will also bring Abby a new lease on life.
Right now, Abby undergoes dialysis twice a week at the NKTI. After school, together with her mom, they commute to the hospital in the late evening and she undergoes dialysis between the hours of 11 p.m., and 2 a.m. Afterwards, they head back to the dorm, where Abby sleeps for a few hours, and then by noon is back to her classes.
I had the privilege of meeting Abby and her mom one afternoon at the Ateneo where I sought her out for this story. A wisp of a girl, she left me in awe of her determination and tenacity to get well. Blessed not only with a sharp mind, she has a big heart, too. When she was still healthy, Abby would devote a portion of her time each week to teaching public school children. Only 19 years old, this young person has her whole life ahead of her; she can contribute much to our country, and perhaps to the world.
Abby’s Christmas wish and prayer is that she gets her new kidney soon so that she can get back to her strong self, help her parents and her three younger siblings, and be fully active in school and the organizations she is part of once more.
Kindness and generosity are always the best antidote to sadness and despair. In this season of giving, may your heart be moved to help save this young life. If you would like to help Abby, you may donate to her account: Gabrielle Anne U. Gabaton, BPI Family Savings Bank S/A 6866-1476-61, or call her mother, Ethel, at 09325202688.
E-mail the columnist at firstname.lastname@example.org.