‘Leukemia patient’ goes viral after raising money while on train ride

<I> Photo: Richard Alvin Diaz / FB</I>
Photo: Richard Alvin Diaz / FB

The story of a cancer patient who was able to raise money for his treatment while onboard a train has gone viral since yesterday, leaving netizens touched by the acts of kindness from strangers — even if some remain a bit dubious.

Facebook user Richard Alvin Diaz took a photo of a man who identified himself as a leukemia patient after boarding the MRT train from Taft in Manila. The man had boarded at the same station, and was wearing a face mask while carrying copies of his medical records.

“This guy who was alone and wheeled in by [an MRT security] guard has stage 3 leukemia.” Diaz wrote on Facebook post. “He was heading to GMA7 [in Kamuning] to ask for help for his medical expenses. With him are his medical documents including one from Malacañan. [sic]”

Diaz said in the same post that the patient, whose name he was unable to recall, was visibly uneasy and shifted as soon as the train started moving. He told Coconuts Manila, “It was difficult for him to walk. Even sitting down, his left leg was shaking. He moves slowly.”

One of the passengers asked the man about his condition, and the latter showed that he was diagnosed with stage three leukemia and needed money to pay for treatments.

When nearby passengers on the same train carriage overheard the conversation, they pitched in with donations, including Diaz.

“He needed PHP1,700 (about US$33) for his lab test,” Richard told Coconuts Manila. “On average, each of us contributed PHP100 (Us$1.92) each.”

He said that while he can’t recall how many people pitched in, or the exact amount the patient received, Richard claimed “the sick man had more than what he needed upon reaching the next station. Enough for laboratory fees, including transport fare and money for food.”

“[After he was given money] the other passengers said he didn’t need to go to Kamuning station anymore,” Diaz said. The passengers told the man to alight at the next station in Magallanes, so that he could take the train back to Manila Doctors Hospital, to start his treatments.

“The passengers called for a guard to help him alight and go on his way,” Diaz added.

The vast majority of netizens only had positive things to say about Diaz’s post. “Humanity,” wrote a netizen using the name Rye Stone.

“God bless you all who helped him,” wrote Marjorie Geronimo Bataan.

Richard Alvin Diaz / FB

Some, however, like Sweetzel Lopez, were wary that the incident could simply be a ploy to extort money from commuters.

“Faith in humanity.” she said. “But may God forgive. I smell something fishy here. I met the guy few months back at Sacred Heart Makati [Church] with same ‘drama’. I witnessed how much he received from churchgoers. Not exact amount [sic] but surely around the thousands.”

Richard Alvin Diaz / FB

Diaz said he was skeptical about such comments.

I did receive such messages, either comments on my posts or private messages. I’m not sure if I believe them. There are many who claim they know the person, that he lives there or there, that his name is this or that,” he said.

“What I shared was about people coming to help someone in need.”

What would you have done if you were among the passengers on the train? Tell us by leaving a comment below or tweeting to @CoconutsManila.

Read more from Coconuts Manila here

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