By Bert Eljera
LAS VEGAS – In what is the largest contribution so far, Borongan folks in the East Coast and their friends have collected about $1,500 from an Atlantic City bus tour for the Bert Eljera Kidney Transplant Fund.
Organized by the husband-and-wife teams of Noel and Irma Baquilod, and Blas and Sucil Balano, the group spent Saturday to sample the food and play a little in the slots in a show of compassion for a fellow Boronganon.
“I gathered 21 people and Padi Blas had 23 in a group that included non-Boronganons,” said Noel. “It was a great turn-out.”
With participants from Ay Borongan, the Borongan association now preparing for the town fiesta, and HANDS International, the U.S.-based charity that assist the most needy Filipinos with emergencies, the bus tour was the second fund-raiser initiated by BCS-SJC Class ’68, my high school classmates.
My classmates from Manila sent $200, and others in the U.S. sent personal contributions. Some have called in to make pledges, making this circle of friends, the highest giver so far.
BCS-SJC Class ’70, with Irma Baquilod and Christie Anacta, assisted in this fund-raising effort.
Part of the money raised came at a meeting of Ay Borongan two weeks ago at the Long Island residence of Mano Nalding and Mana Edith Raagas. A hat was passed around and several Boronganons decided to donate, but did not join the Atlantic City trip.
“Asya gad iton it magsarangkay, nagbuburubligay,” Irma Baquilod said.
The fund-raising is closing in on $10,000 total contribution, and nearer the $15,000 goal we need to raise for the four-year, post-transplant medications that the University of Southern Nevada Medical Center requires.
The plan is to have the money in by the end of September to have the transplant process in full swing by December.
I’m relying on a couple of groups – the sportswriters and a Las Vegas charity – to provide the final push. The final third – $5,000 – do not seem to be a very daunting amount, and with your help, I’m pretty sure we will make it.