Disability is a matter of perception. If you can do just one thing well, you’re needed by someone.
– Martina Navratilova
Just recently, we visited Junevieve at her hometown in Badjan, Cebu Province; a town that is about four hours drive from Cebu City. We got a chance to have a little chat together, and I got a glimpse of how her life was before she received her new leg. She shared about her heartaches and the inspiration that kept her going, making her the strong person that she has become.
Junevieve is one of nine children in the family. She has older siblings yet most of them either got married early or do not have permanent jobs. They live in a rickety hut that seems to be suitable for at the most four people, and her mother does not have a permanent job. Since she was widowed, Junevieve’s mother went to the city for a few years to work as a house helper, leaving Junevieve’s older sister to look after the younger children, just to be able to support her family. Her income however was not enough to meet the needs of the children, especially in sending them to school. Though her family’s situation is that of hardship, Junevieve still remains strong, wishing that one day, she can find a decent job to help her mother provide for the family.
During our conversation, I asked her if there was any time in her life that she felt bad about her condition. Her response came with tears in her eyes.
“When I was 15, I was still studying, but I dropped out of school because my classmates bullied me. They repeatedly ran away with my crutches so that I couldn’t walk. So there came a time when I couldn’t take it anymore, and I quit school,” Junevieve said wiping her tears.
Junevieve was a happy child, however when she was 14 years old, she suffered severe swelling of her left leg. When they brought her to the doctor for a checkup, they found out that it was a malignant tumor and her leg needed to be amputated. At first, she refused, but when she was 15 years old, she could no longer endure the pain that the tumor was causing, so she agreed to have her left leg amputated, above the knee.
“How did you manage to accept your condition,” I asked her.
“I just told myself that even if I am like this, I will have to do my best to be what I want to be and I should not let my condition or the negative things people say to me get in the way,” Junevieve replied.
“Don’t be affected of the bullies and people who say negative things about you. Don’t let anyone get in the way of your dreams! Let us not make our disability become a hindrance to fulfill our dreams”, Junevieve shared as a message to those people who have suffered or is suffering the same fate as her.
In 2013, Avelina and Mike Addison, Junevieve’s neighbors, contacted Rise Above Foundation Cebu asking us to please help give Junevieve a prosthetic leg so that she could walk again without the crutches. The team was so moved by her story that the foundation started a fundraising campaign for her prosthetic leg and received a very positive response allowing them to come up with enough funding. Junevieve got her prosthetic leg made, and after a short time of practice with a cane, began walking again without the crutches.
With her new prosthetic leg, confidence and hope was restored in Junevieve’s life. She recently received her certification of completion from High School from the Department of Education’s Alternative Learning System. Now she wants to pursue college and study Hotel and Restaurant Management in a nearby college. The challenge now is in getting money for her tuition fee for a university education. Junevieve is hopeful that people will be willing to help her achieve her dream of finishing college education and getting a decent job to support her family.
Let us help Junevieve fulfill her dreams. If you want to help Junevieve get a college education, please contact us at email@example.com or call us at (032)255-1063. We can make a difference in her and her family’s lives.
Together We Can Make a Difference!
Written by Shane De La Cruz