‘We cling to God for our last hope’

By Alex P. Vidal/ PNS

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – “Kumakapit nalang po kami ngayon sa Panginoon. Siya nalamang po ang pag asa namin (We are clinging for our last hope to God),” cried Ricelia Santiago, 56, mother of 27-year-old overseas contract worker (OFW) and cancer patient John Nino, now bed-ridden at the Vancouver General Hospital.

Santiago, a housekeeper from Marilao, Bulacan, arrived in Canada last December 12 on a temporary visa. Her husband, Alfredo, a driver in the Philippines, arrived here last October 28.

“Naniniwala pa rin kami na may miracle ang Diyos (We still believe in the miracle of God),” remarked Santiago, her voice shaking.

Husband and wife are taking care of John Nino, whose spine tumor developed into brain cancer.

John Nino, a supervisor of Dairy Queen in Merritt, British Columbia, has been in Canada since November 8, 2008.

“It all started as a headache,” narrated John Nino. “Then I had hydrocephalus or excess of fluid in my brain and I was in and out of the hospital in June (2010).”

He suffered head and back pains in June and July and in August, he had seizure.

After a series of CT scan and laboratory tests in September, he contracted tuberculosis and the infection spread in his spine.

The tumor spread and went to his brain. After a series of brain surgeries, doctors informed him his case was “malignant” and gave him one and a half year to live.

John Nino said doctors have given up on him and refused to subject him to chemotherapy and radiation in order to prevent his condition from deteriorating fast.


“Doctors explained to me chemotherapy can only cure up to 10 percent of the disease, while radiation is 50 percent but will make me weak,” John Nino said.

“When I received the bad news, I immediately went outside to eat my lunch and pray. Sabi ko kay Lord, tulungan niyo po ako. Marami pa po akong plano sa buhay. Gusto ko pa pong tulungan si mama at papa. Gusto ko pa pong mabuhay (I appealed to the Lord to help me because I still have many plans in life; I still want to help my mother and father. I still want to live).”

He said only his right leg is moving while is left leg has been paralyzed.

“Everyday, I massage his legs. I won’t give up. I want my son to live. I know he can make it,” the mother wailed hysterically.

John Nino is the youngest of the three Santiago children. His older sisters Maricel Ramiscal, 34; and Grace Monghit, 32, both married, are working in Singapore.

He is single.

John Nino, who also worked in Singapore before moving to Canada, split with his girlfriend, Cristina Moulic, in August this year when his ailment was getting worst.

He and Moulic, now working in Penang, Malaysia, had been sweethearts for one year.

“Isa pa ito sa mga nagpasakit ng ulo ko (the relationship has contributed in my headache),” John Nino disclosed.

He has three wishes for Christmas: to be able to survive and recover; to be able to stay and work in Canada; and treat his parents to a dinner with crispy pata.

“My faith is strong. I won’t give up,” he concluded.