Ella Shandria P. Pagsanjan, or simply Ella, as those close to her call her, looks like a regular playful three-year-old girl. Friendly and loves posing for the cameras, she can easily enamor everyone she meets. Everything seems normal, except for the tracheostomy tube holder placed around her neck.
Ella, the youngest child of Robert and Maycel Pagsanjan, was diagnosed with the congenital heart condition, Tetralogy of Fallot, soon after she was born. It is a condition that combines four heart defects and compromises the organ’s structure which, in turn, affects the flow of oxygen in the blood stream. Ella needed corrective surgery fast. Maycel left her job to focus full-time on taking care of her child. Ella had special feeding needs that came with specific and crucial instructions, such as using suction paraphernalia to aid in breathing while eating.
The cost of multiple surgeries has taken a toll on the Pagsanjans, who are now a single-income family. Ella had to be admitted to the Intensive Care Unit as her condition was not improving. Soon, only tubes and machines kept her alive. It deeply pained the parents to see her like that.
Robert was deeply torn between keeping his beloved Ella and freeing her from her pain. Praying in silence, he asked God for a specific sign, which is for Ella to raise one of her legs, so that he would know what to do. As he made his way to see Ella through the glass window, he was filled with joy when he saw one of Ella’s legs popping up. With this miracle, the family was even more determined to fight on … no matter what.
Ella’s three-month stay in the hospital cost about PHP 1.8 million. As Maycel took care of Ella, Robert worked as a regular mechanic to finance the hefty bill. He also moved from different government and non-government funding offices to seek assistance.
Ella is not yet out of the woods. The recanalization and removal of tracheostomy tube has been postponed multiple times – as Ella’s health needs to be in perfect shape – a challenging feat in itself as her immune system is already compromised. She is currently waiting patiently at home for the green light from the doctors to proceed with the procedure so that, finally, she can breathe without assistance. She has regular check-ups which are not very cheap and the monthly maintenance costs are also increasing.
We are sure Ella and her family are fighters, but supporting them goes a long way to keep their spirits up. Let us help Ella get the quality of life she’s meant to have – a life that allows her to share the sound of her laughter without hindrance, a life that allows her to enamor and inspire more people.
In January 2019, the Camillian Philanthropic & Health Development Office (CPHDO), through their Care for the Vulnerable advocacy, committed to shoulder Baby Ella’s maintenance and nutritional expenses for the entire year of 2019.
To help her through this journey you may contact CPHDO or simply donate to our Care for the Sick Fund.