HE KEEPS mentioning the name of Ms Debbie Sy, daughter of billionaire Henry Sy, as the main point-person in their lonely crusade to help children with hydrocephalus.
So where does Dr. Manny Cacdac stand in this noble campaign?
?I don?t even have to be mentioned,? Dr. Cacdac explains.
That?s not possible, of course.
Dr. Cacdac happens to be the main man behind the Hydrocephalus Foundation of the Philippines, Inc.
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If to a basketball team, he?s not just another point guard.
Dr. Cacdac does practically everything, like what Steve Nash does with the Phoenix Suns in the NBA.
It?s also a grim game that Dr. Cacdac, who?s based in Indiana, has been engaged in for the past four years in the Philippines.
Hydrocephalus is the accumulation of fluid in the brain, especially in young children, and results in a gory enlargement of the head.
It could also cause mental damage or handicap if not treated immediately.
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?The last patient I treated here was a record, the head measuring 93 centimeters,? he explains over seafood soup at Mario?s on Tomas Morato Avenue, Quezon City.
Dr. Cacdac reaches out for his mobile phone, which next plays out a parade of afflicted kids, their eyes distended, the hairless heads like overblown melons, lined with reddish swelling veins and taking the shape and look of painful planets.
Not too many physicians are keen on dealing with the disease.
Hydrocephalus usually afflicts poor, malnourished kids.
?It often results from the lack of proper nourishment in the mother during pregnancy,? Dr. Cacdac says.
He adds there?s one potential hydrocephalus case in every 1,000 births in the Philippines.
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Anyway, Dr. Cacdac, in a team-up with Kapwa Ko, Mahal Ko and the SM Foundation, has been coming back to the country bringing donated shunts.
He?s scheduled to fly back to the United States on June 7 where at least 100 shunts, costing $1,000 (about P46,000) each, await him.
With the help of a few local neurosurgeons, Dr. Cacdac has been performing shunting procedures on indigent hydrocephalic children.
Surgeries are done in different venues where hospital charges are adjusted to minimize expenses.
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That should not mean, though, that Dr. Cacdac?he with the dignified profile of a dusky Filipino movie hero?has always been fully armed in his fight against this unforgiving, deformative disease.
The Board of Trustees of the Hydrocephalus Foundation of the Philippines, with Dr. Cacdac as head, includes Eduardo Puno, Virgilio Raymundo, Juan David Jr., and Bernardo J. B. Mitra.
They continue to seek support from all possible sources.
But what truly bothers Dr. Cacdac is the glaring lack of public awareness about the existence of their foundation.
He swears there are many more patients in the poor countryside waiting to be helped and treated.
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He blames the discrepancy on ignorance, shame or superstition.
Affected families would not readily seek consultation or cure, he explains, while others hide the patient to avoid ridicule.
Short of pleading on his knees, Dr. Cacdac requests concerned authorities, mainly in rural areas, to contact them for immediate assistance.
?These poor kids must be helped before they get totally blind or their brains get damaged beyond repair,? he explains with urgency.
He urges those who need help to call GMA 7?s Kapwa Ko, Mahal Ko at tel. no. 4263920.
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(GOOSE OR DUCK: It?s also a water bird of the family antidae, but a duck is not a goose. My fault. A Pinoy duck produces balot, but cannot hope to lay a golden egg; contrary to what was mentioned in my last column about a duck hopefully producing a golden one for poor RP sports.)