In celebration of International Women’s Day yesterday, local groups organized an event to help raise funds to assist with the medical fees of a non-resident worker suffering from two kidney failures.
Organizations including ManaVida and Rawlicious commemorated the annual global event, which featured activities including art, music, and lucky draws.
The event’s aim was to raise funds for a migrant worker, Marisse Santos, who is suffering from stage 5 chronic kidney disease.
Santos arrived in the city in 2014 and has been undergoing kidney dialysis treatment at Hospital Conde S. Januário three times a week.
“We [tried] to do this event to raise some funds for her and her surgery and also for the surgery of the person who is donating the kidney to help a bit the community that we live in,” said Cintia Martins, co-founder of Mana Vida.
“Women’s Day is a good occasion to help a specific group of women,” she added.
One of the organizers, Monica Mill, echoed that the event is only one of the initiatives aimed at further informing the community about Santos’ case.
“We really wanted to make a difference to somebody, one that we knew, and one that we knew would really change their [life], instead of giving as much money as we could to a big organization, we want to know where our money went,” she said.
Meanwhile, Santos expressed her gratitude for having the support of her fellow church mates and the community.
The migrant worker expressed that she has not been feeling well during the past few days, but noted that the support of the community, whom she considers family, has been an encouragement to her.
“God has allowed me to be here to personally thank the people who organized this and I’m just blessed to be here,” said Santos, who is a mother of five.
Since she suffers from an advanced stage of kidney disease, Santos has stopped working and has plans to go back to her hometown later this month.
It was in 2015 when the Filipino migrant was diagnosed with Berger’s disease and started dialysis in April 2017.
“I have not been able to work recently. I usually go to work after my dialysis, which starts at 8:30 a.m. until around 1:30 p.m., then I go to work from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.,” she explained.
“But since I haven’t been feeling well, I just go straight home,” Santos added.
Santos spends MOP10,000 per month in medical expenses as she undergoes a series of dialyses – an ongoing procedure she cannot stop until a compatible donor is confirmed.
Although Santos has found a donor in the Philippines, the migrant worker expressed her worries, as she, along with the donor, will have to undergo a series of medical exams to check their compatibility.
Meanwhile, there are other initiatives under the “Help Marisse” campaign, including the “Donate Your Time” initiative, which allows residents to work part-time as a food and beverage server, where money they would have been paid goes to Santos’ surgery.
The organizations have opened a Facebook page named “Help Marisse – Ajudar a Marisse,” where netizens can be updated on relevant events.
In April, ManaVida is also set to hold a series of activities that will raise funds for Santos.