In Pursuit of “a Normal” Life

Published by: Jerico Canlas

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“With my given condition, who would hire me anyway?”

At first look, I am normally mistaken to be a typical city boy in perfect health. People don’t see the rigors of life in my face or feel the roughness of hard labor in my hands. What they see is the already concealed version of me after my painful recurrent bleedings. 

I have hemophilia. I am a severe Hemophilia A patient and I have my condition since I was born. But among the members of my family, I am the only one who has this condition. 

I am the second born, sandwiched with two wonderful sisters but none of them has hemophilia. 

The condition I have is the reason why I can’t be the person I wanted to be because basically, I could not do the things regular people do. I have a lot of restrictions. My body bleeds with rigorous or even with simple physical activities this is why I opt to lock myself in the corners of our home as frequently as possible. 

My parents tried to give me a normal life as much as they could but they just couldn’t give me that. But they tried anyway. They even sent me to a regular school in elementary just so I could live on and forget momentarily the difficulties I was going through. But even then, the situation became harder for me. I’d have frequent bleeding attacks. 

So in high school, I decided to quit school and stayed at home since commuting would cause my bleeding. 

Thoughts of discouragements like, “with my given condition, who would hire me anyway?” painted my walls of hope. I stopped dreaming and stopped planning for my future. I figured to live day after day as if life was a fight to survival. 

I stayed at the corners of our home until a cousin introduced me to an organization which eventually visited me at my place. It’s the Hemophilia Advocates Philippines (HAP). I instantly became a part of the community and found the sense of belongingness I was yearning for during the years that I thought I was alone in my battle. 

I gained connections and developed genuine friendships. Hope throve again. I took part in the activities and loved to be part of something again after a long time of not caring about the things of this world. 

It was through HAP that I was connected to Virtualahan, the organization HAP has been in partnership with in creating better opportunities for PWDS. I joined the 19th batch of virtual assistant trainees and expanded my circle of friends.

Six months after the training, I was hired by the company (Virtualahan) to be part of their technical group. And there I ended up with my first job ever! 

The feeling was empowering because it gave me the confidence that somehow I can find a job, earn a living and do things regular people do. 

Working and earning on my own helped me to finally put something on the table and be financially independent from my parents who are also striving to make a living for our family. 

Now, I am at the pursuit of living a normal life. 

There are others out there like me who are stranded at their doorsteps waiting for the time when the world would be a much better place for us. 

We are waiting for the time that treatment would be available and accessible then the pursuit of living a normal life wouldn’t be as difficult as it is now. 

JERICO CANLAS
Batch 19

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NBSB

…had I known then what I know now, I would have been really proud to shout out loud… NBSB- No Boyfriend Since

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