Morning broke with the familiar sound of tricycles plying the streets to bring the children to their schools, the men to the bus stations and the women to the church or the market place. Mario, young and energetic, cheerfully picked and greeted his usual passengers. He tirelessly joined the daily grind of tricycle drivers to earn a living for his wife and three children.

A fateful day began with the usual morning. By midday, however, Mario’s severe headache became unbearable until he lost his consciousness. His neighbors immediately rushed him for emergency treatment. The nearest hospital could not accommodate Mario because they lacked the necessary facilities to treat his condition. The next hospital did not have the specialists needed to attend to him. When Mario regained consciousness, he wanted to ask what happened to him but experienced an unusual difficulty in his speech.

At the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH), test results showed that Mario had suffered a brain hemorrhage that needed surgery. To make matters worse, Mario’s wife did not know where to get the P30,000 needed for the treatment. In due time, fortunately, assistance for medical expenses allowed Mario to go through surgery and rehabilitation. Donations from well-meaning organizations and the pockets of private doctors covered for the necessary expenses.

Mario looked forward to driving his tricycle again and picking up his regular passengers. He could not wait to feel the breeze on his face and listen to the lively talk he always enjoyed during the daily commute. Mario and his family were eager to face another chance at life.

The doctors at UP-PGH witness these episodes of real life drama every day as patients in critical conditions are brought to them, needing treatments but without the means to pay for the expenses. Donors, both corporate and individual, can wipe the tears away and bring smiles to the weary faces of these patients and their families. At such times, gratitude and relief fill the air at UP-PGH.

The joy and miracle of life is in giving.

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