VIRAL: Cancer survivor is now a doctor
MANILA, Philippines – In a fortunate twist of fate, 30-year-old cancer survivor Albien Emmanuel Gacias is now a doctor.
On Thursday, March 14, Gacias' Facebook post caught the attention of netizens. He shared his photo in 2008 when he was diagnosed with lung cancer at the age of 20. Beside it was his recent photo wearing a white coat after passing the board exam last March 3. (READ: RESULTS: March 2019 Physician Licensure Exam)
Gacias dedicated his success to his mother who died due to pancreatic cancer in 2006, and to his brother who passed away due to an accident in the same year.
In an interview with Rappler, Gacias shared how worried he was when he was diagnosed with cancer. He is the eldest in the family and takes care of his 4 siblings while his father works abroad.
With the help of their relatives, Gacias underwent chemotherapy. "Ang naisip ko lang is, ang magagawa ko that time ay magpaka-strong," Gacias said. (The only thing I thought I can do that time is to be strong.)
He recounted the words of another cancer patient who visited the hospital after stopping undergoing the treatment: "Bahala na lang kung anong mangyari sa akin. Wala na akong pera pampagamot eh." (I leave it up to fate. I no longer have money for treatment.)
Gacias felt bad that the cancer patient has the will to live, but because of financial problems, he was unable to continue his treatment.
Making a difference
When his mother was diagnosed with cancer and he heard stories of cancer survivors who cannot afford medical treatment, Gacias dreamt of becoming a physician.
As a medical student, it was a challenge for him to study every day. However, Gacias always put in mind that his hard work will pay off someday.
Gacias did not expect that netizens will be inspired by his story. From there, he realized that through one's own little ways, anyone can make a difference. (READ: Biker to ride 2,200 km for kids with cancer, other chronic illnesses)
When asked for his message to fellow cancer survivors, he said: "Kahit gaano pa kahirap ang mga pinagdaraanan natin, just keep going. And if ever you feel sad, puwede kang umiyak. If napapagod ka, just pause and rest. Basta 'wag kang susuko at tuloy ang laban. Magtiwala tayo sa plan ni God para sa 'tin."
(Whatever it is you're going through, just keep going. If ever you feel sad, you can cry. If you feel tired, just pause and rest. Do not surrender and just keep going. Let us trust in God's plan for us.)
Gacias also reminded future physicians to study well. (READ: Why I went to serve in the barrio)
"Lahat ng sacrifices mo sa med school will all be worth it lalo na kapag nakita nating nakakatulong tayo sa mga future patients natin," he said. (All of your sacrifices in medical school will be worth it, especially when you see that you are helping your future patients.) – Rappler.com
Nicole Anne del Rosario is a Rappler Intern. She is a 4th year AB Communication student of De La Salle University-Dasmariñas.