Alay sa may mga Kapansanan Association, Inc.

The Alay sa may mga Kapansanan Association, Inc. (AKAI) is a non-profit and non-stock organization registered under SEC No. A200116478.

It aimed to help people with either physical and mental disability to gain a sense of self-worth, believing PWDs ‘should be treated equally no matter how physically challenged they are.’ It had given out wheelchairs, crutches, hearing aids and other assistive devices, and had conducted free medical and dental services to PWDs in many depressed areas, institutions, and schools.

Among of AKAI’s beneficiaries are Ginito Impang, 59, of Brgy.Luz, Cebu; Joselito Alcain, 44, of Naga; and Ryan Jay Eraya, 23, of Brgy. Sagkahan, Tacloban. It would teach soap making, slipper making, basket weaving, and food preparing, as well as conduct awareness and advocacy weeks with other associations and local government units in the Philippines. It continues to seek donations to purchase assistive devices for its beneficiaries and fund its future projects.

“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up. – a quote from John Holmes that the AKAI uses on its website

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Lex Code


Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

The amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a rare disease.

So rare that only 5 out of 100,000 people worldwide can be affected by it.

There are no known risk factors; only that 1 out of 10 cases of ALS is due to a genetic defect. There is also no known cure; the medicine Riluzole (Rilutek) can only prolong survival by several months.

Riluzole can reduce the damage to motor neurons brought by the disease by decreasing the release of glutamate. Glutamate is the “major excitatory transmitter in the brain.” It is one of the 20 amino acids that make up proteins and regulates the brain. It is otherwise known as monosodium glutamate (MSG), a flavor enhancer in food.

But Riluzole could damage the liver. This first disease-specific therapy could only offer hope that ALS can be slowed down by new medications or combination of drugs someday.

Pete Frates, the 29-year-old former captain of the Boston College Baseball Team who was stricken with ALS two years ago, would just use an online virtual keyboard to type. He was the one who started the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that dares anyone to endure a bucketful of icy water over their heads or donate $100 to the ALS Association.

To date, Frates would use a ventilator to be able to breathe on his own. He would eat through a feeding tube to be able to swallow. He would “fight harder and harder” to be a husband and father to his wife Julie, who will be giving birth on September 10.

“[I] challenged President Obama to give the ALS community a stronger voice in Washington; the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies to donate $2 million for ALS research, and Bud Selig [Commissioner of Major League Baseball] to make July 4 a day to honor Lou Gehrig. You each have 24 hours to dump a bucket of ice on your head.” ~Pete Frates after he performed the Ice Bucket Challenge at the Fenway Park

Update: Last March 11, Dr. Richard Bedlack of the Duke University was able to come up with four alternative therapies to beat ALS: coconut oil ingestion, fecal transplant, cannabis consumption, and vitamin D intake. (March 16, 2015)

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Rick Laufer

Isidro Vildosola: the one-armed runner

Isidro Vildosola was 14 when he had rescued his cousin who got stuck in a rice thresher. He was able to do so but without his right arm in pain. It was amputated the very next day without anesthesia because there was none available in any hospital in Koronadal City.

But that didn’t stop Coach Sid to literally run his life. He won silver during the 2011 Paralympic Games in Australia in the 5,000-meter run and 1,500-meter run; and another during the 2010 Paralympic Games in China in the 1,500-meter run.

He also won bronze during the 2009 Paralympic Games in Malaysia, gold during the 2007 Paralympic Games in Thailand, and gold during the 2005 Paralympic Games in Manila. These are all in the 800-meter run.

In the 1,500-meter run, Coach Sid had two golds during the 2007 Paralympic Games in Thailand and the 2005 Paralympic Games in Manila. He also won bronze during the 2007 Fespic Games in Malaysia.

As of September 11, 2011, Coach Sid is ‘looking forward’ for the London Paralympics. He had to qualify, first, however, with the Frankfurt Marathon in Germany.

“Huwag silang magtago, mahiya o matakot na kantiyawan o kutyain. I challenge them to show their talents and be discovered. I know that there are a lot more in provinces. Share it to the community and don’t lose hope.” ~Coach Sid in an interview with Vincent Go

  Photo by Mario Ignacio IV for Vera Files

Foundation for These-Abled Persons Inc.

Envisioning “an inclusive society with empowered and productive persons with disabilities,” the Foundation for These-Abled Persons Inc. (FTI) decided to help the businesses in the Philippines designed to empower its persons with disabilities (PWDs).

The FTI is located in Quezon City and was registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last June 19, 2009. One of its founding members, the National Federation of Cooperatives of Persons with Disability (NFCPWD), has been developing and supporting cooperatives owned and managed by PWDs themselves since 1998. It does so by providing a “working capital,” which is pooled from the funds it had collected, from the P4-million donation of the Cristoffel Blinden Mission (CBM), and from local and international banking institutions.

It had worked. Over the past 12 years, member cooperatives of the NFCPWD have generated about P80 million, most of which was from the Department of Education (DepEd), mandated as it was to patronize the pieces of school furniture manufactured and supplied by PWDs.1

Recently, the FTI has partnered with the San Francisco Association of Differently Abled Persons Multi-Purpose Cooperative (SAFRA-ADAP)2 for a reforestation project. It has also built an alliance with other organizations of PWDs (OPDs), non-government organizations (NGOs), and government agencies to establish PWeDe [People with Disabilities for Economic Development and Empowerment].

To date, the FTI has a P7.3-million budget. It plans to construct a 2-storey building in Don Mariano, Cainta, Rizal for office space and venue for trainings. It still needs, however, financial support from the Filipino populace. “We will be launching our fund raising,” shared Lolita Gelle, executive director of FTI, in an email. “We are requesting the public to donate school chairs and desk to public schools and at the same time help in the employment of PWDs since they would be the ones to manufacture the chairs and desk. Our cooperatives of PWDs also have airline ticketing and tour packages as one of the services.”

“We are a catalyst of change to enable organizations of PWDs to be economically self-sufficient and meaningfully participate in an inclusive and supportive environment.”~FTI Mission

1 Since 1998, the Department of Education (DepEd) has been mandated to reserve 10% of its annual purchases of school furniture to be manufactured and supplied by cooperatives of PWDs.

2 The San Francisco Association of Differently Abled Persons Multi-Purpose Cooperative (SAFRA-ADAP) is in Agusan del Sur.

Photos courtesy of the FTI


Throw a bucketful of icy water over your head or donate $100.

This was what Peter Frates, 29, had in mind when he posted a video of himself being doused with ice water while sitting on a wheelchair. A former captain of the Boston College Baseball Team, Frates was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in 2012. Completing his challenge within a day will save you $90.

ALS is a disease of the nerve cells in the brain and in the spinal column. One out of its 10 cases is due to a genetic defect; the cause of the rest is unknown. It is also referred to as the motor neuron disease (MND) in the United Kingdom, or the Lou Gehrig’s disease.

ALS happens when the nerve cells can no longer function. It usually develops until after 50 when the body’s muscles could weaken and twitch. Other symptoms include difficulty in breathing, difficulty in swallowing, muscle cramps, fasciculation, paralysis, abnormal speech pattern, voice changes, and weight loss.

It could lead eventually to lung failure, pneumonia, pressure sores, weight loss, and aspiration. As such, people with ALS will one day or another be unable to care for themselves. They could die after three to five years they were diagnosed.

But the ice water challenge could lead to a vagal response. Vagal response or vasovagal syncope could lead the heart to decelerate and cause the blood pressure to fall. “For somebody who’s on blood pressure medications, or any medications that can slow their heart rate down, they can pass out,” Dr. Brian O’Neill of the Detroit Medical Center was reported saying.

“Be reasonable. I think…the problem is everyone is gonna do it better and bigger and badder.” ~ Dr. Brian O’Neill

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Tube Test

Clinical Depression

Worldwide, clinical depression is the most common disability.

Clinical depression (also called major depression) is a psychiatric disorder that “saps” an individual’s ability and desire to do what he or she used to. They would feel extreme sadness, guilt, helplessness, hopelessness, and even thoughts of death. They would also be unable to concentrate, sleep sufficiently, eat right, and feel pleasure.

To treat it, technology has resulted in some actual medications. Tricyclic antidepressants were formulated in the 1960s till the 1980s. There were also the monoamine oxidase inhibitors, such as the phenelzine (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate), and isocarboxazid (Marplan).

In the past decade, there have been selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), fluvoxamine (Luvox), paroxetine (Paxil), citalopram (Celexa), venlafaxine (Effexor), and nefazadone (Serzone). The guideline in taking these kinds of antidepressants remain the same over the years, though: Medications–prescribed, over-the-counter, or herbal supplements—should never be mixed without a doctor’s advice; nor be borrowed from another person.

There is also a safer and more effective treatment for clinical depression now. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) enables a small amount of electric current to pass through the brain and cause a seizure to control mood, appetite, and sleep. Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) also functions the same but is only opted if the clinical depression (1) has lasted for two years or more, (2) is severe or recurrent, or (3) is not alleviated after four treatments.

Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), on the other hand, uses a magnet instead of an electrical current to activate the brain. It was developed in 1985 and was approved last October 2008 by the Food and Drug Administration of the United States.

“The Internet has made it possible to deliver telemedicine care economically to areas and populations with limited access to specialist or culturally and linguistically congruent care.” ~National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of the FSU College of Medicine

Bahay Mapagmahal

A “loving home” in English, Bahay Mapagmahal is a dormitory for  crippled children located at the back of the Philippine Orthopedic Center (POC). It was established in 1973 and currently houses 22 persons with disabilities (PWDs).

These PWDs were able to study elementary and high school at the National Orthopedic Hospital School for Crippled Children (NOH-SSC) for free. They were also able to learn how to play musical instruments at parties, hotels, and concerts. They had actually formed a group that enabled Bahay Mapagmahal to extend the assistance given to them to bless other PWDs.

Dubbed “Rondalla on Wheels,” the group had generated funds for the Caring Hands to Inspire and Link with Differently Abled Children (CHILD), a project of the Great Physician Rehabilitation Foundation, Inc. (GPRehab). Rondalla on Wheels was established by Sr. Roos Catry, ICM, a Belgian missionary, and Prof. Antonio Tallada, a former band officer of the University of the Philippines (UP) in 1978 .

As of now, Bahay Mapagmahal can no longer accommodate PWDs because of limited space. It is still maintained, however, by the Philippine Society for Crippled Children, Inc. (PSCC), Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), Philippine Orthopedic Hospital (POC), and some civic-minded residents of Quezon City.

“They were able to raise the awareness of the community about the capabilities of persons with disabilities like them. One great lesson that the group was able to permeate to the public was the realization that even if they may have some physical disability, they are imbued with hope and enthusiasm, not to mention the joy they radiate within and among themselves.” ~Cecile Genove

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Mr1988000