He was supposedly given by doctors just 1 year to live but terminally ill Rodel Clariño, Sr. continues to sell balloons so he could earn money to feed his family, especially because he has two disabled children.
Tatay Rodel’s plight went viral on social media after his story was shared by Rogelen Legson.
In a post on Facebook, Rogelen had narrated how she and her friend met the old vendor while they were crossing towards a mall one day. She noticed that he was just eating a small portion of bread from a plastic bag, something that hinted he does not have a lot of food to get by.
So, Rogelen and her friend bought some cupcakes and water for the old man before going back to give him Php20 ($0.40). They also bought some balloons just so he wouldn’t feel that they had mistaken him for a beggar.
While chatting with the 63-year-old Tatay Rodel, Rogelen learned that he lives in the squatter’s area near Muzon SJDM, Bulacan with his wife and five children. His eldest child is still in Grade 11 while two of his children have disability.
The old man also admitted that he was diagnosed with a medical condition that dissolved his gallbladder, leading doctors to give him just 1 year to live. But while others with a terminal condition might seek cure or find some ways to ease their suffering, Tatay Rodel had no choice but to continue selling the balloons.
Rogelen said that Tatay Rodel only earns Php7 ($0.14) per balloon he sold.
Taking pity on Tatay Rodel, Rogelen asked permission to post his photos on social media so that he and his family can find help from kindhearted netizens. At first he felt ashamed because his old friends might see how sick and poor he is now (he claimed to come from a well-to-do family before facing challenges that led to his life now) but later conceded after realizing this would bring help to the family.
True enough, some days later, Rogelen and her friend went back to give Tatay Rodel a tricycle and some goods he can sell while he’s selling the balloons. Let’s just hope he gets help for his medical condition as well as his family’s well-being before it is too late…