By now most Puerto Princesa residents have heard about the fire that razed several homes in Barangay San Miguel last Friday, April 19. Many families lost their homes but one particular family, the Tesico family, was especially affected by this tragedy. Single mother Myrna Tesico died while trying to protect her younger daughters Kirzteen Joan Angeli (age 12) and Keilah Joanna Angelene (age 9). Her daughters survived the fire, but are in critical condition at the Burn Unit of Palawan Adventist Hospital. Their 22-year old sister, Kate, is now responsible for raising funds to pay for her mother’s burial, her sisters’ ever-mounting hospital bills, and to move her family forward. Not surprisingly, she is in utter despair. Her facebook posts asking why this happened and asking how this could be part of God’s good plan have left many heartbroken.

When I read the first article about the fire and learned that Myrna had died trying to save her daughters, I was moved to tears. I think every single parent who heard about this felt a connection with Myrna and could understand her fierce love and determination to save her daughters even if it meant she suffered the most. That this happened on Good Friday when I was reflecting on Jesus’ great sacrifice for us, made her actions all the more poignant.

One of my colleagues at work knew Myrna and told me that her body was covered in burns, except for her midsection where she’d been clutching her girls and trying to shield them from the fire. While the girls survived the fire, they’re now battling second degree burns and will have very long, difficult, painful, and expensive roads ahead. These kinds of burns usually require multiple surgeries and leave lifelong injuries and scars.

I’ve been moved by the outpouring of support for the sisters, but can’t help but feel frustration that the funeral home and the hospital haven’t waived their fees. I understand that they are businesses and need to charge for their services, but if there was ever a time to reduce fees, this would be it. I hope that Adventist Hospital will waive as many of the fees as possible, and that their attending doctors will waive or reduce their professional fees.

It is wonderful that so many have already donated but the family still needs much more support. The sisters in the hospital will likely be there for weeks or months more, and Kate has to rebuild their lives. Long after all of us will have moved forward, they will still be living this tragedy. So please give to them today. If you already gave, please consider giving again. I cannot imagine the hell they are now living through but hope that our collective support can help move them forward.

You can donate in the following ways:

Give to the family directly. They are accepting donations at Palawan Adventist Hospital – you can ask the front desk for where to find their representative

Pay support directly to Adventist Hospital. You can specify your contribution amount and they will remove this from the Tesico bill and issue you a receipt for your payment

Deposit funds into Kate’s BDO account: 008300093961. Account name: Kathreen Joy Angelica B. Tesico

Send money through Palawan Pawnshop:  Kathreen Joy Angelica B. Tesico, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan 09175208818

Kate has not specified in-kind donations but as she faces rebuilding their lives, she will need support in the form of clothes, beds, furniture, cooking and eating utensils, etc. If you have new or gently-used items that you think would be useful, please set them aside and stand by to find out where to drop these off once they start asking for these things.

Thank you for your generosity.

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