Pneumonia – What an Ugly word

Did you know what Pneumonia was when you were a kid? Didn’t it sound like an evil character out of a fairy tale? It is so sneaky and conniving…. It’s the devil of spelling bee vocabulary. Who put that pesky “P” in front of this word?

Worst yet – it’s a silent killer of children.

Recently, I found out one of our very own superstars in the Philippines, Jonel had pneumonia.

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Jonel at a rice distribution – September 2013
(Photo: Maria Agnes Roman)

In developing countries, and among the very old, the very young, and the chronically ill, pneumonia remains a leading cause of death.[6][7]



In 2008, pneumonia occurred in approximately 156 million children (151 million in the developing world and 5 million in the developed world).[6]


In 2010, it resulted in 1.3 million deaths.  It is the leading cause of death among children in low income countries.[6][64] 


Scary no?  Imagine how I felt when I found out Jonel was one of pneumonia’s victims.

I first learned he was admitted into a hospital in Manila in beginning of November on the way to Ukraine.

I requested photos and medical bills.  Jonel’s mother is an amazing woman who was scared to lose her son.  My thought was,

“what if that was my son?”

That’s when I realized we had to react quickly. I advised the orphanage (our partner) that we would cover all medical costs and lost pay his mother incurs from taking care of Jonel, as long as we receive updates and receipts. And that’s what we’re doing.

From Agnes:

good evening ma’am Maya, i have gone to Jonel in the hospital and I have his video and photo same with his prescribed medicines bought by his mother. Jonel has pneumonia and doctor’s advice him to get blood donor for him. He needs 2 bags of blood. unfortunately his mother can’t look for donors. I wish that we could help him. His mother is asking for financial help. He couldn’t join the Educational Trip in school because of his condition..

So far, we are keeping track of donations with Crowdrise, and hope that you can contribute.


Pneumonia affects approximately 450 million people globally per year, seven percent of population, and results in about 4 million deaths, mostly in third-world countries.


When I heard that Jonel was in the hospital, I took it seriously.  In fact, Jonel inspired:

 Emergency Medical Fund*

1) medical emergencies / surgeries

2) medicines

3) loss of salary from parent/caregiver

4) any necessities required after sickness

*This is for the sponsor children in the Philippines only.

November 12 – Jonel was still in the hospital after two blood transfusions.

But if you are wondering…  

What is Pneumonia?  

It is an inflammatory condition of the lung—affecting primarily the microscopic air sacs known as alveoli.[1][2] It is usually caused by infection with viruses or bacteria and less commonly other microorganisms, certain drugs and other conditions such as autoimmune diseases.[1][3]

Symptoms: include a cough, chest pain, fever, and difficulty breathing.[4] Diagnostic tools include x-rays and culture of the sputum. Vaccines to prevent certain types of pneumonia are available. Treatment depends on the underlying cause. Pneumonia presumed to be bacterial is treated with antibiotics. If the pneumonia is severe, the affected person is, in general, admitted to hospital.


2 hours through traffic and bumpy roads to the village in Norzagaray from Manila

November 24th, Jonel was transferred back to Norzagaray from the hospital in Manila.

He had to travel almost 2 hours.


We never want one of our children to feel hopeless. We believe in them and we know that they can fight any battle, even if it’s for their own life.

If you cannot contribute now, share this with a friend, share it with 10 friends. Hopefully, someone will see Jonel and see the child who just wasn’t born lucky enough to have access to medical care… but who will have hope knowing that others like you care that he does.

Meet the woman who will fight for Jonel…

This is his mother.

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Jonel’s strong mother

Thank you for reading this, thank you for discovering Jonel… he’s an amazing kid and just think… this kid who loves basketball has dreams just like you and me.


Special Thanks to Hemanth, Maribeth, Aviann, Joann and Anil for being the first to contribute to our fund!

Contributed by Maya Rowencak

Fact Source:

OOPS! before I forget… we’re including SOME receipts below!

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