Saturday, February 13, 2010


It's not that he doesn't want to, in fact every day is hearts day for this man. But on Valentines Day this Marine Officer wishes he could give his wife more than just kisses, flowers and chocolates.

What Major Stephen Cabanlet, a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy Class 96 wishes he could give her is the assurance of a longer and fuller life ahead and while he accepts that life is a gift from God that can just go away in a snap, he is hoping and praying that while he still can, he would do anything to add more years to the life of his beloved wife, Ella.

And by anything includes, this public appeal on behalf of his wife, 36 years old and mother of three still very young children.

In September 19 of 2009, Cabanlet’s wife was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML), a condition that is described as a “cancer of the myeloid line of blood cells, characterized bya rapid growth of abnormal while blood cells that accumulate in the bone marrow and interfere in the production of normal blood cells.” AML is the most common acute leukemia affecting adults.

In the Philippines, many succumbed to the disease not being able to survive because of the costly procedure of chemotherapy.

“It was as unexpected as a typhoon in summer as she never had any signs that she was harboring these killer cells while doing service around the mountains of Cordillera with the mental health team from the hospital. It was a shock as she was very athletic, easy going and has a very positive outlook in life," Cabanlet told this reporter in an exclusive interview.

Ella has already undergone a series of chemotherapy, the first one in October last year, the most painful as she succumbed to sepsis and bleeding.

“I witnessed all of Ella’s strength zapped away by the drugs that supposed to kill the cancer cells. I was told that 80% of those who succumbed to sepsis and bleeding ended up dead but by God’s grace and mercy, she came out of it only after 10-days of being in and out of her wits” Cabanlet said.

The second cycle of chemotherapy yielded encouraging results and Ella got her determination back. The next treatment also yielded positive results that doctors said now she’s ready for Bone Marrow Transplant.

Mentally and emotionally, the promise of the procedure giving her the best chance to live longer revived all the determination and will-power in Ella to fight and survive. There’s one major obstacle though, the costly procedure, one that a soldier’s salary, a Major like him cannot afford: P4,208,100.00 to be exact, as quoted by the Head, blood and marrow transplant center of the St. Lukes Medical Center under Dr. Honorata G. Baylon, M.D.

“With her renewed and closer relationship to our Maker and the promise of the Bone Marrow Transplant she became more determined to fight back. I now hear her talk about the future again, “ Cabanlet said.

As a Marine Officer, Cabanlet survived many battles in Central and Southern Mindanao, against the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILG) but even his lessons in the Art of Warfare in the military academy did not prepare him for what he refers to as the real battle of his life--a battle for family, a battle for love.

Thus, from a soldier fighting for the love of his life, he airs this public appeal for anyone who wishes to help them financially in shouldering the costly procedure of Bone Marrow Transplant. “With all humility, I am making this appeal. Please help me keep the hope burning in my wife’s heart. I need your help. My phone numbers are: 09236505499 and 09088649468.”

Cabanlet’s devotion to his wife may not be the greatest love story ever told, but this one certainly touches the heart, for it is very real and true, selfless and unconditional love. (end)