After surviving the pangs of colon cancer, Geronimo Pablo stands boldy above the clouds, embracing life and reaching out to young cancer warriors. A father would wage his life for his son, in the name of love. And he is a father to them.
He barely saw the tough steep ahead as the scorching sun blocked his view. His dark shirt was soaked with sweat, but the bold print on it still caught the eye of his fellow mountaineers, “Cancer Kissed my Ass.” He is silent, focused on the prize, and then he briskly ran to the summit of Mt. Romelo.
He set himself apart, put his pants a little down below his butt and spread his arms widely, standing proudly at the edge of the mountain peak. He inhaled and exhaled, while his arms were opened up to the air as if he was offering – especially his butt to the earth.
Geronimo Pablo, explained that he has been doing this ritual ever since he survived the clutch of colon cancer. This sacred habit in mountaintops is an act of professing his gratitude as a survivor and also to promote his advocacy to help other young cancer patients.
“Kasi 10 years ago nagka-cancer din ako. Naka survive naman awa ng Diyos. After nun, Bumalik ako sa pag-climb. Dati kasi nagka-climb na ako then pahinga lang ng konti kasi nag-gamutan tapos yun bumalik ako. Kaya lang medyo iba na. Siyempre may advocacy na ako, ” he said.
The scenery and the peace of the surrounding overwhelmed him and the rest of the climbers, as they reached their goal. As soon as the cheered died down, they compressed together in silence and offered a prayer of comfort to cancer patients who passed away. Pleading God and the angels, Geronimo raised his hopes as well for the healing of other patients who are still fighting.
A FATHER TO A SON, A FATHER TO OTHER CHILDREN
Geronimo, fondly called as GP, was joined by his family in this climb for a cause in Mt. Romelo in Siniloan, Laguna. His wife, Bea, shows all out support to him while his seven-year-old son, Moymoy wants to continue the legacy of his father.
More than just a father to his son, GP is like a father to young patients as well, saying that he chose to share his life with these children, “I treat them like my son or daughter. Iba yung may kadamay sila na ibang tao bukod sa parents nila,” he said.
He was a father to these kids, and like a real father, he supports them, provides for them, comforts them, and strengthens them, and just like every other parents, he wins and loses battles with them. “Hardest part, yung tuwing may mawawala sa kanila. Tinuturing ko kasi sila bilang parang anak ko na rin. Kaya masakit sa dibdib kapag bumibigay na sila,” he said.
“I find ways din para mapasaya sila, na maramdaman nila na bata rin cla na may karapatan maglaro at maging masaya sa kabila ng lahat.”
After all, his unconditional love for the children was rewarded by happiness, with having an extended family as a bonus. “Yung mga pamilya nila na naiwan, we continue as friends. Also I guess dumadami na ang angels ko sa heaven,” he added.
GP was diagnosed with colon cancer stage 3 at 24 years old. At that time, only few people knew about his sickness, including his girlfriend who is his wife now. “Hindi ko sinabi sa Mama ko kasi kagagaling lang niya sa stroke. Nalaman lang niya nung nabasa na niya sa magazine, cancer survivor ka pala,” he said.
His appreciation to life was reinforced after he braved his greatest obstacle. He felt a bigger purpose other than just being a simple mountaineer. “At first ano lang, parang umakyat lang ako pinapakita ko sakanila na kaya ko na. Noong tumagal naisip ko na bakit di ko gawing fund raising na rin siya para mas makatulong ako.”
For five years, GP holds his “Climb for a Cause” advocacy, where people may join a climb and contribute funds for the patients. For him, helping the families in their medical bills is the urgent aid to help them win the battle.
Moreover, every summer, they organize an event called “Go Bald” where they invite friends to join the cancer patients in being bald and donate their hair. GP narrated that he get this idea after visiting Francine, a patient, ”Tinutukso daw siya na kalbo siya. Kasi nalagas ang buhok niya dahil sa chemo. Sabi ko ang buhok lalago din yan pero ang ganda ng mukha di basta basta tutubo yan. Maganda ka kahit kalbo ka.” (Dada Grifon)
(If you want to be a part of his advocacy and help the young cancer warriors, you may reach him at 0906-143-3871)