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Posted 2/2/09 , edited 2/2/09
Hey friends! I am appealing to your gracious and kind hearts to hear out the story of a former classmate, a friend, Iggy Villanueva. Please, please, take time to read the story and please help in anyway you can. You may repost this in your blogs, or add this facebook account http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/group.php?gid=120983525436&ref=nf, or check this page out http://iggyvillanueva.wordpress.com/ . Spread the word, spread the love.



Ian Gabriel Villanueva or "Iggy" as we call him is a 2nd Year student of College of St. Benilde and a graduate of University of St. La Salle - Integrated School, Bacolod, batch 2007. He was my classmate from grade 5 up until 4th year high school and though we are not the best of friends he is one of those persons who make someone feel at ease even if you are not that close with each other.



This is Iggy spending his 20th birthday at the hospital with some friends last Jan. 14, 2009


Iggy's Story; a letter from his mom


20 January 2009

OUR DEAREST FRIENDS…

I am so embarrassed to do this yet, I am humbling myself to ask…please read on…

January 6, 2009 was the worst day of my family’s life…our eldest son, IAN GABRIEL PICART VILLANUEVA, was initially diagnosed to have ACUTE MYELOGENEOUS LEUKEMIA. It is already the 20th of January, and after a 2nd and even a 3rd opinion from different doctors, the diagnosis, sadly is still the same: ACUTE MYELOGENEOUS LEUKEMIA. To aggravate things even, he even has pneumonia. Thus, chemotherapy cannot start just yet. Untreated, he just has 4 months to live…

Treatment plan for Iggy includes at least 3 rounds of chemotherapy and bone marrow transplant! To date, we have already moved from 3 hospitals. Currently we are at National Kidney & Transplant Institute to save on cost.

Though we may belong to a middle income family, the medical expenses that have and are to be incurred is so staggering! The amount needed is about 5 Million …thinking of how many zeroes the figure has makes me want to give up...But I know I wont and I cant! I will do anything or everything to save my son to the best that I could. Sad but true, I have nothing…Whatever is left of our meager savings has all been used up. Time is essential. The bone marrow transplant will be performed 2-3 weeks from now, and I need funds to deposit before any treatment can be done.

I am literally alone…It’s just Iggy & myself in the hospital. Friends & relatives come to visit but I cannot compel them to do more. I am a one woman army. Thank God that I have the laptop and my mind as a weapon…

Iggy, is a well rounded individual who I can say is an achiever. From grade school to college he is very athletic: red belter in taekwondo, track & field and basketball. An honor student from pre-school to college, a leader in his own ways.

As a mother, it breaks my heart that such potential should go into waste…He is so young…IT IS MY MOST FERVENT PRAYER THAT YOU BECOME PART OF THE CYCLE OF HEALING…IN ANY WAY POSSIBLE. I HOPE I AM NOT ASKING TOO MUCH. HUMBLY I AM ASKING ANY HELP THAT YOU CAN EXTEND MY FAMILY. WHATEVER MEANS WOULD BE MOST WELCOME. I may not be able to repay your kindness and generosity in this lifetime…but I am confident that God knows…

I am realistic enough to understand how difficult life is today. I am not asking for total dole-out. If at all, any of you are willing to loan me…I would forever be grateful. I promise to pay, although little by little, with interest even. Please…This is already a desperate cry for help… I just cant imagine what is to be…

May I also request continued PRAYERS THAT IGGY NOT GIVE UP, HOLD ON AND BE STEADFAST IN HIS WILL TO LIVE. Likewise, prayers THANKING FATHER GOD FOR THE HEALING.

Thank you very much for taking time out to read this letter. I know in my heart that you will be able to help me and my family one way or the other. May the Good Lord always bless you and your loved ones.

Respectfully,

VIVIEN ‘BENG’VILLANUEVA
Mother
09176201969



Iggy's Story; Alex Gamboa's plea

Hey guys.

This is gonna sound totally random if you dont know what's been up lately but i'm running out of options and i'm just doing everything i can in my power. I am humbling myself no matter how embarrassing this is.

I know you get emails like these a lot that circulate on the web but please read on.

This month, a very very dear person in my life went on to battle for his own. I'm talking about Ian Gabriel Villanueva. He has been diagnosed with ACUTE MYOLOGEOUS LEUKEMIA last January 6. We've seeked three doctors' opinions in Bacolod and Manila. You may look up the definition of this kind of leukemia in wikipedia, there are lots of articles on it. To make things worse, he also acquired pneumonia, and is having a hard time getting it out of his system because the leukemia has greatly weakened his immune system. Just today, we got the news that some of his medications had to be stopped because he's turning yellow, indicating that his liver is failing from too much medication.

We're currently waiting for his pneumonia to pass so that chemotherapy can start. But with his liver's situation and weak immune system, we are not sure how that would be possible. He is awaiting a bone marrow donor for his transplant which will be done 3-4 weeks from now. His sister did not pass the compatability test to be a donor so now they're counting on his brother. Results will come out in 2 days.

Iggy, as his friends and family call him, is an amazing person. He has occupied a huge chunk in my life and in my heart. I have known him since I was in grade 2, and was my boyfriend for two years up until last year. To say that he has taught me so much, helped me a lot in the crucial years of my adolescent life and developed me into who I am today (and continues to watch out for me up to the present) does not even cover the entirety of how much he has touched my life. He remains one of my closest friends and one of the most special people in my life. I cannot begin to explain how important he is to me, and to all of us, his closest friends. He has such a wonderful and kind heart, is very down-to-earth despite all that he has achieved, and has so much potential in him. We call him superman because he is an amazing athlete, a very intelligent student, a student leader, a great friend and an amazing and pretty popular person all at the same time. When he wasnt around, our tight-knit group of close friends would sometimes sit down if we were bored and think of what he couldnt do. im serious, he's THAT well-rounded. He was the captain of the high school basketball team and won numerous athletic awards like Most Valuable Player in inter-school tournaments and was usually part of the Mythical Five. He was also specifically chosen to participate in the Nike Elite Camp in Manila along with three other players as representatives for Negros. He was part of the student council for two years; PRO when he was a junior and treasurer when he was a senior. He graduated with honors, leadership and athletic awards in high school, and he received a full academic scholarship from the College of Saint Benilde where he is also part of the varsity basketball team.

I am asking you guys to PLEASE, primarily, pray your hardest and strongest that a miracle will happen. We also thank God because we believe He is healing Iggy despite these trials. And also if you CAN, just can, give any amount at all, it will be greatly appreciated. Right now, the reflected cost of this whole ordeal is 5 million pesos. That includes the chemo and the bone marrow transplant, medications, hospital and doctor's fees, etc. His family's saving are close to being exhausted and, realistically and honestly, we cannot raise 5 million pesos alone. A downpayment is expected from them before the chemo or transplant can be executed. I do not know how much the downpayment is but i'm pretty sure it's expensive. If Iggy is left untreated, doctors say he has four months to live.

It is so sad to imagine that at such a young age and with so much potential, he has to battle this ugly disease. I am asking humbly for any help in any form that you may give. And if you could also pass on this email, it would be of great help too.Your kind donations may be deposited in this account: Vivien Villanueva's (Iggy's Mother), Banco De Oro or BDO, s/a 3010063053, Bacolod shopping branch. Prayers are just as important too so please do continue to include him in yours.


May God bless you.


Love and Thanks, Alex


***Thank you so much for reading this. I hope you will help me and my friends and batchmates save his life.
God bless you. Joanne
Citizen
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Posted 2/2/09
We are having fundraisers for him, we are selling ballers and shirts here in Bacolod and also in Manila.
Holy God Emperor
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Posted 2/2/09 , edited 2/2/09
I want to buy a T-shirt but I live in the US. >.<
Citizen
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Posted 2/2/09
aww! I'll think of something... thanks for the help and approval to post this. hope i get prayers, suggestions on fundraisers and even donations for him.
Citizen
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Posted 2/2/09
You may also send donations through Paypal at [email protected] thank you for the help!
Citizen
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Posted 2/2/09
aww...

All I can do is add him in my prayers, and share something...
Do you believe in miracles? Because I do...
Last 3 years ago, my brother suffered from a disease much worse than a leukemia, it's called Thalassemia. (my brother was 9 years old then) His doctors said that it was a lifetime disease, or people who suffered from this disease at a young age would never reach his/her teenage years. In addition to it, only 2 out of 10 people suffered from this disease.
My parents don't know what to do. My brother also must undergo series of tests, and a Bone Marrow transplant. But the doctors said, he must undergo first a blood transfusion and if it did not go well, he must undergo a Bone Marrow transplant. And yes, it is very expensive, it costs a million or more than a million. Our family is not rich. We only belong to a middle class section. That very night, the night he was brought to the hospital, the doctors said that from the mean time, he must undergo first a blood transfusion. And so he did undergo a blood transfusion. That news was spread in his present school and in his previous schools. They prayed for him. And after the result was released, his doctors said that he can now go home, though he is not still well, but Thank God, he will no longer undergo a Bone Marrow transplant. He had many medicines. He had to have a check-up at least every month.
----to make this short----
My brother had only 2 blood transfusions. And after that, the doctors said that we should forget about that thalassemia thingy. My brother is now well.


THE SECRET:
PRAYERS...PRAYERS...AND PRAYERS...
AMPALAYA JUICE...yes very yucky...but he have to sacrifice to heal himself...
PATIENCE...
then...
PRAYERS...PRAYERS...AND PRAYERS...




I hope I'd help...

*just PRAY...
Citizen
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Posted 2/3/09 , edited 3/3/09
thank you for that. Iggy is getting millions of prayers and support. All of us back in our school here in Bacolod and the other guys in Manila are doing everything to raise funds for him. And yes I also believe in miracles, especially in the miracle of prayer.
Citizen
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Posted 2/3/09
aw aw aw :((
Citizen
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Posted 2/7/09
A letter from Iggy's Mom

First and foremost I would like to THANK YOU for the UNCONDITIONAL LOVE that you have enveloped our whole family but most especially our dear Iggy.

Support in all forms came pouring in and never seems to stop…prayers, encouragement, food, favors, money, medicines, blood, friendship… you name it, we got it.

I just finished talking with our doctor, Dra. Honorata Baylon. I just want to share with you the timeline of the when and the what regarding Iggy’s treatment course.

Today, February 7, 2009 is our 8th day post chemotherapy. So we have to wait a full 28 days to find out if Iggy has gone into remission and is ready for the bone marrow transplant. So that will be on February 27, 2009. At this point, I would like to apologize for telling you that the transplant was to be performed 2-3 weeks from when the 1st letter was written. The chemotherapy was delayed a good 2 weeks because of Iggy’s lung and liver complications. Normally, one does not undergo chemotherapy when one has an infection of any kind in the body as chemo will make the individual immune compromised thus, is prone to more infections.

On February 27, 2009 another Bone Marrow Aspiration will be done to assess his status. My daily updates will still continue to share what is happening. There is nothing certain even on a day to day basis. We may have good days, but we may also have bad days. The full effect of his chemo will be evident in the next days to come…mouth sores, nausea, loss of appetite, hair loss, diarrhea, fever, nosebleeding, etc.

I know though, that before it can be said that he will be in remission, a LOT of blood transfusions will still be done. Favor, please schedule blood letting on different dates so that I know that blood will always be available for our beloved Iggy.

Its more of the side effects that can affect Iggy’s spirit. I’m helpless on this part. How I wish that I can get the physical discomforts away from him. The best that I can do during this time is just be there for him and urge him not to give up.

Iggy has lost a LOT of weight. From a good 165 pounds to 126 pounds and still going down…But he is still conscious, walks to the comfort room. He is constantly tired though. Physically weak, but he is strong…I know…he can smile, laugh and be in good spirits. In fact every time anyone asks “how are you?” his answer is always “OK”…he does not dwell on self pity. I see him angry and impatient at times. A good sign, if you’d ask me.

If and when the bone marrow transplant happens, that’s approximately 40 days of confinement in a special bone marrow transplant room. I really don’t know details yet but Iggy was so worried that he would not get to see the sea of humanity that so lovingly enveloped him. It’s a good thing that his fears were unfounded. Visitors will be allowed, but with special gowns, booties, caps, masks and sanitized to the max, although limited entry. I am hoping that the room has a glass window where he can be seen by visitors.

I am so overwhelmed and amazed with the support we are receiving. Miracles happen everyday since January 6, 2009. We are living witness. I know that more miracles will happen. Goodness is all around, God is all around. Its like the story of the loves and the fishes, or the wedding wine…bottomless. Our blessings came from family, friends, and yes, total strangers.

At this point I would like to really say THANK YOU to the catalysts of what is happening – Iggy’s friends: more specifically his best friends since grade school and other members of USLS-IS batch 2007 and his girlfriend of course…It is such a humbling experience that these young pure hearted people gave their all for Iggy. As one parent put it, it has taught us, the adults the true meaning of brotherhood, selflessness, and generosity. In this times, this indeed made parents proud of their children. It was because of them that everything kept on growing….networks, friendships, support of all kinds. They are my modern day heroes. Their enthusiasm is so contagious that Iggy’s fight has reached other continents as well. I am very thankful that we live in a time that computers and cell phones are an everyday thing.

I did not expect that the first letter I wrote would have this great an impact in our lives. But by the grace of God, that letter proved to be my greatest weapon in Iggy’s fight. Our immediate circle of friends sent the letter to their other friends who sent it to their friends. It just grew….thus, even total strangers became our friends….an unending cycle…

Though we may be facing the greatest challenge of our life, we know that God Loves Us. We have surrendered everything to our Father…Thy will be done…No bitterness nor anger in our hearts…We live each day at a time…

Please pass this on…I know that these words are not enough to thank you all but this comes from the heart. God is Good!!!

God bless you all….

I love you,

Beng
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Posted 2/9/09
Posted 2/11/09
this is so sad...

go iggy !!

u can do it!!

we support u!
Citizen
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Posted 3/3/09
hi guys! thanks for your support and prayers for IGGY!

here's an update on him!

March 2, 2009

Well, we knew that there would be ups and downs in Iggy's recovery process.

Despite his promising turnaround after the 2nd chemo session, Iggy has come down with a very high fever. Since Saturday, he has been running temperatures of 38 degrees Celsius and upwards, indicating an infection.

No, it is not a side-effect of the chemo. So doctors are trying to track the source of the infection ASAP.

For those who believe in prayer, please mention Iggy in your conversations with God and ask that this complication be resolved very soon.

By early next week, Iggy will undergo a bone marrow aspiration to test if the chemo has successfully killed all the cancer cells. If successful, another aspiration will be conducted after 2 weeks to check if new "good" cells have begun to grow. Only then can Iggy have the bone marrow transplant.


IGGY ON TV

The interview with Korina Sanchez will be coming out this March, instead of the earlier announced May schedule. March is Women's month and the storyline is how Iggy's mom was able to rally thousands of people to help raise funds for Iggy. So please watch out for it... Korina's show airs Sundays on ABS-CBN.
Citizen
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Posted 3/3/09
ohh?? what date exactly?
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Posted 3/6/09
prehas pla cla ni FRANCIS MAGALONA nan sket...

hows he na po??

I'll pray for him
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Posted 3/8/09
go iggy!!!
laban lang ng laban..

kaya mo yan!!!

ala yan sa mga pinoy!! labanan mo dito lang kami sumusuporta sau!!!
hehe..
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