My Organization’s Christmas Party Overflowed with Hope and Gratitude

Jared Formalejo avatar

by Jared Formalejo |

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Photo Captured by Malou Formalejo - Our HAPLOS Community

With Christmas only a few weeks away, Hemophilia Association of the Philippines for Love and Service (HAPLOS) threw its annual Christmas party. It’s a modest event, but seeing people gather, spread cheer, and enjoy one another’s company is heartwarming. The party is also a time to express gratitude to sponsors who help our community.

Christmas can have a wonderful effect on people. People with hemophilia can feel genuinely unburdened by illness at Christmas. It’s admirable to watch people with hemophilia see the lighter side of bleeding and even laugh at the issues we face.

Our usual set of games and activities catered to the interests of both the young and old. The organizers designed this year’s program so patients and caregivers could play and laugh together. A Christmas party that caters to Filipino interests must include a flurry of games, singing, and dancing. It’s a tribute to our love of variety shows that leave us on the edge of our seats.

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The dance number of HAPLOS moms. (Courtesy of Malou Formalejo)

Our youth team also held an art therapy session that sparked a little creativity. Calligraphy has risen in popularity in recent years, and we wanted to share it with our members, especially the children. We invested time in our members and let them pen their first strokes. They wrote the words “faith,” “hope,” “fight,” and “love.” The activity was intended for the kids, but it proved a surprise hit with our senior members.

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HAPLOS members engaging in a guided calligraphy lesson. (Courtesy of Malou Formalejo)

I was surprised that many members, some I don’t even know, had such artistic and musical talent. What’s more impressive was their resolve to go on stage and share their talent. What left me awestruck, however, was the gentle confidence of a girl not more than 3 or 4 years old. Without any fear of the world, she braved an entire song and received a standing ovation.

That little girl inspired me. It’s Christmas, so I woke my inner child and failed horribly in singing “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” with my wife, Cza. I may have been an enormous failure, but hey, it’s a party. It doesn’t hurt to laugh at yourself. At least you tried.

It was inspiring to see HAPLOS give hope to young people with hemophilia. I see that little girl and the hope in her eyes for better things. I look at myself and my colleagues and see individuals beaten by chronic issues caused by hemophilia. I want to look at our new, younger members with the hope that they don’t have to go through the challenges we faced. I’d like to believe that, with the resources provided by HAPLOS, they will get proper care so they can have truly normal lives.

I’m glad that HAPLOS focuses on the holistic development of these young people. I can’t think of a better gift than giving a struggling individual a chance to heal.


Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.


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