Little Girl With 4th Stage Tumor Visits Dad in Jail
Little Erica caught my eye when she bravely stood up from her wheel chair to help decorate the donated Christmas tree I brought last Dec. 19, 2010 to Child House, the hospice she was temporarily living in. She was so intent on hanging up the bright blue and pink Christmas balls that she forced herself off her wheelchair and for a moment forgot she was fighting a brain tumor.
A deadly fourth-stage tumor in her head.
And because of her physical weakness, Ron (my hubby) had to hold her up from time to time to make sure she wouldn’t topple over.
As we got to know Erica, we found out that her mother had disappeared to marry another man while her Dad, Ricky dela Cruz was serving a life sentence in the maximum security section of Muntinglupa. He is facing murder charges which Erica’s aunt and caretaker Mimi Nobreda says were trumped up.
My heart broke as I listened to Erica’s story but thanked God that in the middle of it all, she could still smile and enjoy whatever blessings came her way. She said her wish was to see her father, perhaps for one last time.
I was so touched by the strength and joy I found in this little girl that I started working on the possibility of a Father-Daughter reunion date. The least I could do (aside from pray for a miracle healing) was make her wish come true.
Three weeks and several phone calls later, we got the go signal. My high-school classmate and now Pastor, Joseph Revereza together with Pastor Dodong Boyles (he leads the New Creation Prison Ministries) were able to secure permits from the Muntinglupa Jail for Erica and company to visit her Dad!!!
The reunion was a tearful and joyful one. Erica’s Dad had no idea she was visiting (and with food!) so it was quite a shock for him to see her being wheeled into his area in the middle of his bible study group. They had not seen each other in five years! It was a bittersweet reunion – joy at being together but sad that this may be the last time they see each other. Ricky also had no idea that his daughter’s tumor had progressed to 4th stage.
But they did not let that take the happiness away from their day together. Father and daughter cried and talked and ate and hugged and held each other for the few hours they had, thanking God for this one small blessing.
Speaking of blessings, Operation Blessing was also a major major help for stepping in last minute to provide a big, roomy vehicle and driver for Erica and her Aunt. OB Volunteers, headed by Asther, came along for assistance.
Then there was my good buddy Gino Mariano (a missions guy for Life Giver Christian Family Ministries) who kept visiting Erica at Child House and coordinating with me from that end. He is the big guy in the photos – while he may seem like a Goliath, he is one big teddy bear and Erica just loves him to pieces!
If you would like to help Erica (full name: Erica Lei dela Cruz) or any of the children at Child House, a hospice for children fighting cancer and other serious illnesses please contact 4142421 and look for Dr. Erwin or any of his assistants. Child House will be transferring to a new home this summer so if that number doesn’t work, please contact me at 0918.959.3343 and I can put you in touch with them.