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Our bartender needs our help, 2010

Submitted by Nomads Sports Club on Friday, September 10, 2010, 3:42 pm

In 1979, on invitation of a friend, a young salesman for Jocson Shoes based in Avenida Rizal walked into Nomad Sports Club in Paranaque to apply for the job of a bartender. He had no background or any exposure in bartending, but because the job guaranteed a good monthly income, he took up the challenge. It was under Mr. Neville Creany that Antonio S. Leonardo Jr., Mang Jun to most club members and guests, began his three decades of love affair with Nomad Sports Club, serving drinks to the mainly expatriate members of the club.

As with any bartending job, Mang Jun’s involved being witness to the events unfolding at the club, its successes and failures, and the frivolities of pub talk. His 31 years of service at Nomads gave him glimpses of intra-club politics brewing, relationships growing, marriages falling apart, and a generation of children growing into adults.

But Mang Jun saw nothing and heard nothing unless it was a shout for a drink or two.  He chose to keep his ears closed and his lips sealed when matters other than those that concerned his work arose. He stood pat on his mantra: “Mahirap nang mag-salita” (“it is hard to speak”) and persevered to just keep the members and guests happy by serving their drinks and food promptly and always with a smile—nothing more, nothing less.

SUDDEN RETIREMENT

Mang Jun, the “constant” image of the club, retired last month because of an illness.

Early this year, club members noticed his loss of weight, pallor and lethargy. Dr. Villar, a hematologist at the Paranaque Doctors Hospital, diagnosed him with myelodysplastic syndrome or MDS (formerly known as "preleukemia"), which required him to take Eprex (a drug produced by Janssen Pharmaceutica that costs between PHP 4,000 and 5,000 per dose) twice a week.

His constant complaint though was difficulty swallowing, which prompted him to consult an ENT specialist who recommended that he undergo a battery of lab tests. A tracheotomy (also known as laryngotomy), which “requires an incision on the anterior aspect of the neck and opening a direct airway through an incision in the trachea” was done by the ENT specialist, Dr. Somera, also at Paranaque Doctors Hospital.

A few weeks after that, a biopsy followed and Dr. Edwin Tan, an oncologist based at the Metropolitan Hospital, diagnosed him with stage-3 cancer of the larynx.

The first treatment option was removal of the larynx if scans of his bone, lungs, and abdomen turned out clear. His lungs and abdomen were clear, but a bone metastasis was seen in the hips.

This meant that before he could undergo surgery, he needed to go through three cycles of chemotherapy followed by radiotherapy. And depending on the results, surgery may be performed to remove the cancerous larynx.

WHAT HE WILL GO THROUGH DURING CHEMOTHERAPY

On Monday, September 13, Mang Jun will go through his first cycle of chemotherapy at the Chinese General Hospital where he will be confined. How Jun will react to the chemotherapy, we don’t know. But we do know that one has to be healthy and ready to battle this brutal treatment option.

The most common side effects that he is expected to experience are fatigue, nausea and vomiting, depression, anxiety, anemia, hair loss, and appetite changes, among others. CINV—chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting—is probably the hardest one to bear as it causes a lot of patients to stop treatment.

The good news is that Jun wants to beat cancer and is raring to start the treatment.

So it is for this reason that the Nomads Board of Directors is appealing to members to help Jun go through this very painful process—physically, emotionally, spiritually and financially.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

  1. Our initial action is an assessment fee of PHP 200 which will be levied on each member for the October billing to augment Jun’s personal funds and enable him to complete treatment. We hope that no objections are made. This is not compulsory – and you can write a letter to Nomads if you do not wish to donate.
  2. If you wish to add more, feel free to donate any amount through a cheque payable to Nomad Sports Club. The club will handle the funds, list all names of donors and their donations, and pay the hospital directly for amounts not covered by I-CARE. Naturally, a full disclosure will be made as to the status of this fund-raising.
  3. Some of us have more time to give – and because Mang Jun will require proper nutrition in the course of his treatment, you may want to send him home-cooked food.

Jun’s retirement pay which he got first week of September will not be enough to cover his treatment.

The tennis section was able to raise PHP 150,000 last week which is a tremendous effort. We encourage all sections to organise fund raising activities.

All funds raised will go into a separate section account to be used for Jun’s medical bills only. Many thanks to Kamal for his assistance with generic drugs over the past months.

But most of all, Jun needs our moral support and prayers to help him surpass the greatest challenge he has ever faced in his life. Let us all give him these.


1 Comments

Janice Sunday, September 26, 2010, 6:27 pm
We are praying for his recovery....
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