PHILIPPINES, July 23, 2021 — “Pray, Hope and Don’t Worry.” This quote from Padre Pio is Sarah’s battlecry and motivation. Padre Pio, she told us, is one of her favorite saints and Sarah would always invoke him and ask for his intercession every time she experiences different challenges and struggles in life.
Sarah Borja, 33, is a young “online” missionary who dedicates her life serving the Lord through YouthPinoy (YP), an organization whose primary mission is to evangelize and spread the Catholic faith through digital and social media. Together with YP, Sarah organizes physical and online events that caters and teaches the young how to use social media authentically as well as to use technology as a tool to evangelize. Sarah uses her talent and knowledge as a digital marketer and analyst not only as a career but to serve the Lord.
December of 2019, Sarah found an unusual lump on her neck and noticed that it is getting bigger. After several months of consultations from a string of doctors and medical examinations, she was recommended to go under the knife to take out the lump. July 2020 when she had her first operation. It was in the middle of the COVID-19 Pandemic and medical expenses blew up. Sarah’s health card was not able to cover the expenses because the lump was found before the release of her health card.
Sarah was diagnosed with Desmoid-type Fibromatosis (DF). According to https://www.cancer.gov/, Desmoid tumors grow from the connective tissue in your body. They grow from fibroblast cells, which make up connective tissue and are also important for wound healing. Connective tissue supports and connects your bones, ligaments, and muscles, and helps hold your organs in place. Desmoid tumors are also known as aggressive fibromatosis or desmoid-type fibromatosis. For every one million people worldwide, two to four are diagnosed with a desmoid tumor per year. Desmoid tumors are benign, which means they are not cancer. While the cells of the desmoid tumor do not travel to parts the body like cancer can, they can invade nearby tissue and are often very painful. Desmoid tumors can grow slowly or very quickly. The quicker they grow the more serious they are. Desmoid tumors can be difficult to completely remove with surgery.
Months after the first operation, Sarah noticed that the tumor is getting bigger again. Another cycle of check ups and exams, she has to undergo another operation. Sarah is currently living with a fellow online missionary, away from family and she has not yet recovered financially from the first ordeal. June of 2021, almost a year after her first procedure, again, with still the pandemic going on, Sarah was admitted to the hospital for her second operation.
Now, Sarah is currently recovering from the procedure and she needs to undergo several physical therapy sessions to gain her strength again. To prevent the tumor from recurring, she has to also undergo Radiation Therapy BUT before that, she needs to have a Dental surgery because the radiation is on the head, neck and near her teeth.
With the therapy and surgery coming, medical expenses and professional fees coming up, we at the Catholic Connect Foundation are knocking and encourages your generous hearts to help support this initiative to help Sarah overcome these tough times.
The Catholic Connect Foundation’s mission is to support charitable and humanitarian work across the globe and raise awareness about important issues.