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3 Personalities Who Overcame Challenges With the Help of Charity

Anybody—including those who appear to have it all—could use our help, after all!

Engaging in charity work doesn’t just benefit your recipient; those who give generously of their time, effort, and resources have as much to gain as the people who humbly receive their help. Community service, says an article by Western State Connecticut State University, broadens your social circle and improves your relationship skills. It increases your self-confidence, helps counter depression, and brings fun and fulfillment to your life.  

International Day of Charity, recognized by the United Nations in 2012, “serves to increase and enhance social responsibility across the entire world.” The annual event is held every September 5, in commemoration of the passing of St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who dedicated her life to helping others. “Give until it hurts,” she once famously said. (Read: A Life of Devotion: St. Thérèse and Her ‘Little Ways’ of Loving)

And make your style of charity work “unmerited, unconditional, and gratuitous,” as Pope Francis once urged. After all, everybody—including the people who appear to have it all—could use our help. 

Dick Israel

Photos from Damay Kamay Facebook page

Ricardo Vizcarra Michaca in real life, Dick Israel was the ultimate kontrabida in his prime, appearing opposite big stars like Fernando Poe Jr. (Kalibre .45), Sharon Cuneta (Kung Kailangan Mo Ako), John Lloyd Cruz (Maging Sino Ka Man), and with Hollywood actor Michael Madsen in the B-film Water Wars

With his success came a string of misfortunes. In 2010, he suffered a stroke, and in July 2016, his ramshackle home in Caloocan was one of 12 razed in a fire. Fans barely recognized the tough guy of Philippine movies when his story turned up in the news. Sporting long white hair and a beard, he couldn’t move without the aid of a cane or wheelchair. (Read: Vatican Launches Campaign to Promote Appreciation for the Elderly)

Support poured in from the likes of Damay Kamay, an organization founded by concerned artists in the entertainment industry to provide assistance for fellow artists during medical emergencies, as well as network giant ABS-CBN and its Lingkod Kapamilya. Grateful as he was, the actor stressed in an interview that all he wanted to do was get back on his feet and help his family. 

Sadly, tragedy struck again. Dick Israel passed away three months later. 

Chickoy Pura

Photos from Bernard Testa / Interaksyon and ‘Awit para kay Chickoy’ Facebook Event

Cancer is a curse—or a blessing, as in the case of Alfredo “Chickoy” Pura Jr., who was diagnosed in 2019 with the rare form of cancer, T-cell lymphoma.  Admired by fans and fellow musicians as the frontman of the iconic ‘70s OPM band The Jerks, Chickoy is the voice behind socially relevant hits “Reklamo ng Reklamo,” “Sayaw sa Bubog,” and “Rage.”

So concerned were friends and followers for Chickoy that the rock star was the beneficiary of not one but three fund-raising concerts last year: “One for Chikoy” on August 17, “Awit Para Kay Chickoy” a week later, and “Shine for Chickoy” on September 27. (Read: Pinoy Celebs Hold Donation Drives to Help in the COVID-19 Crisis)

Chickoy, who chose alternative treatments over chemotherapy, isn’t about to hang up his guitar anytime soon. “The bright side of this struggle is the overwhelming goodwill from a lot of people,” he said in an interview. “It is so humbling and strengthening. It is keeping me strong in facing this challenge.” 

Fatima Soriano

Photos from Discogs and ABS-CBN News

Hers is the angelic voice of inspirational songs “(My Suffering Is) My Offering,” “Kung Pwede Lang,” and “The More You Worry,” the opening theme to Brother Jun Banaag’s hugely popular radio show, Dr. Love Radio Show.

But the purity and innocence in that voice belie her true struggles. Blind at 5 months old, Fatima Soriano was diagnosed with kidney failure at 9, a condition that required her to undergo dialysis. Despite her health challenges, Fatima remains a ray of sunshine, endearing listeners with her optimism and girlish giggles as the former host and anchor of the DZMM Teleradyo show “Light Moments” with Fr. Jerome Marquez. (Read: Iya Villania on Being ‘Kinder, More Patient’ With Her Mom Body)

Small wonder then that Fatima managed to get a kidney transplant in 2004 through a text brigade that raised P1.2 million!  “Gratitude is the best attitude,” says the US-based Fatima who underwent a successful second kidney transplant two years ago.

“I always choose to be thankful for everything and everyone, anything, and anyone that comes. Success or setbacks, fulfillment or failures…when you are in a constant state of gratefulness, nothing can or will really shake you that much anymore, because you are aware of the fact that there is something greater than you.” 

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