CALAMBA CITY — When he found out that his son Aki was suffering from a rare liver disease and needed a liver transplant, Antonio Detablan recalled being beside himself with worry about the plight of the boy, who was five months old at the time.
“Nalungkot at kinabahan ako,” Antonio said, recalling to Laguna Now the time Aki was diagnosed with biliary atresia last December. Aki, now eight months old, is suffering from the rare congenital disease of the liver and bile ducts that affects mainly infants.
It took a while for Antonio and his wife Jabee to figure out what to do but when he decided on it, it made sense: He will bake banana cakes and sell these to raise money for Aki’s liver transplant. Antonio, who has three children (Anexi Jazz, eight; Arkhin Jazz, four; and Aquiro Jazz or Aki), has been making a living as a baker since 2005.
Since then, he has been selling banana cakes in his bakery in barangay San Juan for Php120 each loaf. One day, a friend of Jabee’s took a picture of Antonio and Aki in front of the bakery and posted it on Facebook. That started the stream of donations.
The post had over 100,000 shares but is no longer available to view as of this writing. Aki now has a quarter of the estimated Php1.6 million needed for the transplant. He must undergo the procedure before June in order to survive, as infants suffering from biliary atresia need to undergo such operation before they reach one year old.
Because the post went viral on social media, the public was spurred into action to help Aki. The city government of Calamba and members of the Calambataan Youth Commission extended assistance by holding a fund-raising event in Calamba Banga over the weekend.
Various groups like Suzuki Smash Club and other individuals have donated as well to the family during the fund-raising last Sunday. Other bakeries such as Fat Cat, Sweet Dust Patisserie, and Love Desserts donated bakery products.
Jabee herself also helps by selling other products like shirts. She is also become a member of Litro (Liver Transplant Operation) Babies Philippines Inc., an organization that spreads awareness and assists children suffering from biliary atresia.
Salvacion Galindes, Aki’s grandmother, is thankful to those who supported their cause. “Maraming, maraming salamat po kasi hindi namin inaasahan ito, kasi ang alam namin kami lang ang magtitinda,” she said.
Antonio’s family friends are positive that the family will raise enough funds for the child. “Lakasan lang nila yung loob. Kumapit lang sila sa itaas,” said Girlie, a friend of Jabee’s who has volunteered to help sell banana cakes.
Those who would like to help may drop by Antonio’s store in 170 Barangay San Juan, Calamba City, or send their donations through bank deposit (savings account number 005910516001) in BDO under Aki’s full name, Aquiro Jazz Detablan. (Laguna Now)