Joel I. Castillo’s Ultimate Battle

10435679_676654962425381_3578113711131257785_n

We are all born not knowing and not thinking we are immortal. But by some divine plan, many come to know and to think they are immortal. Yet, many also learn to think they are only mortal and that there is nothing more to life than what is visible. Any hopes or wishes to prolong the joys, and less so the pains of life, fall in the realm of imagination.  Blessed, however, are those who live and eventually face death knowing and thinking they are, in truth, immortal.

Yes, there is some irony in the last statement. Death seems to close all arguments against immortality or eternal life. But that is true only for those who never heard of a resurrection. Christians stand unique in the whole of human history as people who rejoice and even suffer because of that assurance.

For unless we come face to face with our own mortality, we will not try to hold on to the possibility or the certainty of eternal life. Seeing how some people face their own mortality inspires others to live life with greater courage and hope.

This is the great lesson one derives from having known Joel Castillo, whose struggle with cancer, brought about changes not only in his own life but also among those who knew him so well. A few months before learning he had cancer, he was still happily going about his role as father, as husband and as partner to Rose Tuazon- Castillo in their thriving LGO Company and social-outreach projects. One can sense the driving enthusiasm he had for adventure and fellowship with his beloved children, close siblings and intimate friends.

It seemed Joel had not enough time to savor the joy of living as well as the opportunity to spread that joy around to as many people as he could. Yet, he also had his missteps, as is always the case when we go about walking among many people. We all live in the middle of everything else; and whether we like it or not, we have to find the balance and strive to preserve our own identity.

Joel did achieve his own identity. Having gone through the difficult phase of proving who he was and what he could do, he eventually showed the kind of heart he had. Take, for instance, a time when some parents of their IROG scholarship program beneficiaries were complaining about not receiving what they expected beyond what had been promised. He said in frustration, “Some people are simply not satisfied with a little blessing and even expect you to give them more; and if you don’t, they get angry. But that is nothing compared to the joy of helping people in general.”

Indeed, such petty issues did not faze Joel and Rose from pursuing their noble task of blessing others through their good hearts. In the end, they found a way of spreading cheer and material assistance to many more people.

Yet, the time would come when the challenge of proving one’s identity goes beyond what you can do in life and into what life does to you. In Joel’s case, it was his ultimate battle with sickness. The many therapies and blood transfusions took their toll on his battered body. Yet, in spite of it all, his spirit remained indomitable. He put up a good fight. His ever-warm smile and firm voice never failed to prove it was the same old Joel who was in control of his path to his own destiny.

And so, even in his own departure from among our midst, he left behind his wishes for his family, for his friends and for himself – wishes which those of us who remain now have the opportunity to accomplish not just for him but also for those he treasured in life.

And so, when we bade farewell to Joel, the moment was made less tragic as heaven itself commiserated and poured both refreshing rain and renewing sunshine to celebrate his life with us. For such is mortal life: light and shadow, joy and pain, triumph and failure, life and death. But in the end, immortal life will prevail because faith in Jesus Christ gives us the victory.

From what we heard about his last moments, Joel made his peace with His Lord and humbly surrendered his fate into His hands. Young as he was in his short journey upon this Earth, his exemplary influence upon those who knew him well will remain and live on as his lasting legacy to the future generation.

Rose Tuazon-Castillo, the bereaved wife of Joel, extends her deep gratitude to those who had provided support for Joel’s financial, medical and emotional needs during his treatment. Knowing there were many people who joined them during the campaign for Joel’s recovery made the pain and anguish much more bearable.

And even now, for Rose, Jared, Jansen and Justin and Joel’s extended family, the loss of a beloved is greatly assuaged by the many souls who expressed how they were touched by Joel’s life.

Farewell, Joel: Till we meet again in that perfect place in our perfect form – spirit and body.

Advertisements

The Power of the True Meaning of Giving

help a leukemia patient

NKTI’s very jolly Dr. Tan with Joel. Taken second week of June 2014.

When a true friend is in need, we go a long way to help that friend through a crisis. Especially when it concerns health, we rouse up the whole neighbourhood or town to come to our aid on behalf of our friend or relative. We give of our time, our resources and our talents to raise as much help as we can to alleviate the financial and emotional burden that we feel and share with that person in distress.

Such is the love and sacrifice of real friends at LogicGateOne and Charterbase Solutions have for a precious relationship. This is the clear picture we see among the friends, relatives and associates of Joel Castillo who is presently undergoing medical treatment for acute myeloid leukemia, a form of cancer affecting the blood.

Being a member of the Alpha Phi Omega Fraternity, Joel’s frat brothers here and abroad have pitched in to provide his medical needs. The inspiring expression of concern warms the heart of Joel’s wife, Rose Castillo, to realize there are numerous people, known and unknown to them, who have come out to answer the call for help.

A SEO company in Subic Bay Philippines, LogicGateOne Corporation has done this by simply re-sharing and spreading a fundraising campaign for Joel via Facebook. The campaign involves selling t-shirts to those who are interested to give assistance to a frat brother in need.

Giving is the only activity that makes a person truly feel content about what he or she has. Often, we feel down when we think we do not have enough, not realizing that having a family, friends and the essential necessities in life can be real abundance in a world where many less fortunate people languish in poverty and dire need. Once we let go of something we feel is valuable, we suddenly realize we have been made stewards of such possessions for a while in order to make the lives of others more tolerable and even wonderful. From such an experience, true and lasting happiness arises.

help a leukemia patient1

Dr. Claire Rosario trying to explain what all the counts mean!

We need not give one half or a third of our possessions in order to please God or to show we truly have compassion and generosity. Many give their entire wealth and even their life but do not have genuine love within them, as the good book points out. We must give of ourselves first before we can truly give anything of value. And once we have the understanding and the will to sacrifice our material wealth and our precious time to reach out to others, there is great value and power in what we truly own in life and giving to others will seem as natural as if we were genuine philanthropists sharing a tiny surplus of our enormous possessions. Besides, in giving there is nothing tiny or negligible. What you give — even two pesos — if that is all that you have, is worth more than the wealth of others.

help a leukemia patient2

Joel’s 2d Echo test. Echocardiography is also called an echo test. This test generates moving pictures of the heart using sound waves.  An Echocardiogram helps evaluate various problems with the heart and its function. It gives information about the heart’s structure and blood flow non-invasively.

The heart is where all our treasures lie. Everything else is shareable for a heart that truly loves. Those who have not learned this lesson on giving remain holding on to their wealth, not realizing they will eventually give away their entire wealth to others when the time comes for them to depart from this life. We know we cannot bring anything with us except the good deeds we have done.

And so, giving is the only way we can truly say we are rich. But more than that, giving is the only way we can claim that we have made others rich as well for we allowed them to share in our wealth. In this world, there is no wealth greater than that kind of wealth. For eventually, giving will end in our receiving the promise of God that “those who are merciful shall receive mercy”, not only in this world but in the one to come.

Give – you are richer than you think you really are!

Fundraising Drive for a Cancer Patient and Save a Life (All about heroes who give of their best)

Another campaign on behalf of Joel Castillo who is undergoing bone-marrow transplant for his acute myeloid leukemia, a form of cancer affecting the blood, is spearheaded by the Isabelita-Rosueta Organization (IROG). Through the kindness and help of Kevin Hamdorf, a close friend and former colleague, anyone can buy fine-art prints and share the proceeds to Joel’s medical needs. So, apart from the t-shirts you can buy as fundraising campaign for Joel’s treatment, you can also acquire beautiful prints to decorate your home or your office. (Please check out this link for the details: http://www.isabelitarosueta.org/joel.php and https://www.facebook.com/HelpSaveACancerPatient)

10440895_10201211431168176_6614985536166978045_n

In connection with the ongoing fundraising campaigns, we would like to express their appreciation for Diorella Printing Shop for donating 2,500 posters of Joel’s AB+ blood solicitation drive for his transfusion needs. Likewise, their appreciation and thanks go to Remus Printing Shop of Olongapo City for donating Castillo-Family-Picture Thank-You postcards for those who have purchased t-shirts.

10403717_10201183263263996_7142547695264926077_n

And, finally, the Castillo Family would like to express their thanks and appreciation for the Subic Bay Chamber of Commerce for spreading the campaign en-masse to its members.

A giga thanks to all these wonderful heroes who have selflessly made time to help a respected family of Sto. Tomas. For the information of all, Joel and Rose Castillo put up a company to employ many young and dynamic IT professionals in Subic and eventually launched a foundation (IROG) to provide scholarships to the youth in Sto. Tomas, Subic. Please check out this site Isabelita Rosueta Organization (IROG).

As fate would have it, Joel’s condition has turned the table around and the Castillo Family now needs the assistance of others. The outpouring of help so far only shows that a good deed does come around and return to those who have given plenty of it to others. Seeing the joy and enthusiasm of Isabelita Rosueta Organization beneficiaries during their Christmas and many yearly activities is only half of the picture as the faces of those people who compose IROG likewise show the deep joy and sincere love of those who give.

So, whether you are in need or you are in a position to give, the joy is one and the same because we all share in the wonderful blessing of life from Heaven. We have received the best from our Maker; let us then share our best to others as much as we can. Only then can we say that we have and we know true love.

God truly provides through individuals and people to whom He has given abundantly.

 

 

Miracle happens everyday!

10440895_10201211431168176_6614985536166978045_n

Miracle happens everyday! Close to impossible but its not! – with such resourceful friends, ever supporting bros’ & sis’, and a faithful God, how hard can it be? In connection with the ongoing fundraising campaigns, we would like to express appreciation for Diorella Printing Shop Olongapo City for donating 2,500 posters of Joel’s AB+ blood solicitation drive for his transfusion needs.

Day 31.Think Positive! Stay Positive!

Day 31. The brilliant concept that the glass is neither half-empty nor half-full, like life is both – contains happiness and sadness. Happy as the cancer cells is down to 3% after the 3rd chemo, and sad as we cannot proceed with the transplant till we treat his weakening heart and rhythm disturbances first. Times like this, when life gets tough, and things will look like they’re not going to work out as planned, let’s live by hope and faith – everything’s going to be alright. This is a continuous battle – i need more CHAKRA! Think Positive! Stay Positive!

Day 31.Think Positive! Stay Positive!

For more info visit this site: isabelitarosueta.org/joel.php

Garage Sale For a Cause (A Fundraising Campaign for A Friend With Leukemia)


Garage Sale For a CauseA Fundraising Campaign for A Friend With Leukemia  – The last time I’ve seen the same group of people go on a 5-hour trip, it was for a Christmas party. The situation couldn’t have been more different this time around.

It was Saturday morning.

A roving van can be heard calling out to people to “come check out the garage sale”.

A group of friends and coworkers were busy setting up shop in the covered court of a school. They got several tables in a row with various stuff on them – clothes, books, bags and toys – priced anywhere from 10 to 800.

You can imagine then how exciting it was for customers who would eagerly plunge into each mountainous pile looking for something they like and then discover that they could have it for a mere Php 10. Sometimes, they’d haggle for a bit and then leave even more satisfied with themselves. Classic ukay-ukay.

I could not say the same for the staff who were manning the makeshift store though. It was hardly exciting: waiting around for people to come, beckoning loiterers in and chatting up those who are checking out the merchandise.

The unstable weather didn’t help much either: one minute it’s sweltering, the next it’s raining hard. So it was either the cold driving them to sleep, or the heat driving them nuts. (Thankfully, they were nothing that a bowl of noodles and a cup of coffee couldn’t solve.)

So what would make them work on their only 2 days of rest from a whole week? They were not in it for the money. (If anything, they’re actually spending their money!) They did it for someone they care about.

See, it was a special kind of garage sale. It’s for a cause.

Several weeks back, they learned that their friend’s husband has been diagnosed with leukemia. I know leukemia sounds unreal to most of us. It was one of those serious illnesses that we just know because we’ve seen it in the movies or read about in books. Just like when the TV guys need one character to die in a prolonged and dramatic sort of way. No wonder you’ll find it strange when you suddenly get confronted by it in real life and you’ll be left with a realization that, Jeez, it does happen in real life. And when it happens, sometimes mere sympathy might not be enough.

Like anything else, it’s mainly a question of money, what with the hospital bills, medication and an extremely expensive operation. And knowing that their friend obviously needs help, they came up with this cool plan to do a garage sale in order to raise funds. They opened their closets (or their relatives’ and friends’ closets), took out stuff they could sell and bargain-priced them. The garage sale (for a cause) was born.

At first, there was only a slow trickle of customers but it became a steady stream before the sale was over, and the coins kept coming in. (I suspect that was perhaps owing to the ridiculous price cuts made on some of the items — a stuffed toy priced at 150 was down to 75 without the customer even trying. The as-long-as-it-turns-to-cash strategy no doubt.) When they closed up shop that weekend, they listed almost Php 20,000 in profit and they donated all of it. Not bad for two days of operations. I guess there’s something about helping someone in need that makes usually stingy persons suddenly willing to part with their money – and feel good about it.

So, they have Php 20,000 down and Php 3 million more to go. Sounds like they need some big miracle, huh. But with such resourceful friends and a faithful God, how hard can it be?

Garage Sale For a Cause 1

Fine Arts Fundraising Campaign for leukemia patient Philippines

Please support his Fine Art Prints Fundraising Campaign and will get the following: Any one (1) of the below photo which will be printed on 24″X 16.5″ high quality 189gsm archival paper stock, using UV resistant inks (i.e. very stable and suitable for decorative purposes). In addition to being titled, dated and signed digitally on the front (bottom), Photographer Kevin Hamdorf will personally sign them on the reverse side.

Thanks to a dear friend Kevin Hamdorf for the full support!!! Please email (helpustosavelife@gmail.com), or submit the form at http://isabelitarosueta.org/joel.php to order.

Fine Arts Fundraising Campaign for leukemia patient Philippines