Monday, April 15, 2024
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HomeOn to the Next Mission: Former Palace officer brings in Ben and...

On to the Next Mission: Former Palace officer brings in Ben and Ben to raise money for kids with kidney problems

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  • Jasmin Egan who founded the JasAmazing Journey non profit is the first philanthropist in recent years to adopt children with kidney problems needing peritoneal dialysis for her advocacy
  • The Ben and Ben Outdoor Concert on 24 February 2024 at the Central Football Park seeks to raise funds to give families of these patients to means to earn, such as a tricycle or a sari-sari store

“It helps me sleep at night, makes me feel good,” Jasmin Egan says as she sits down with DNX on a weekend, hours away from another trip overseas with her family.

Nearby, on one of the cubicles inside her office slash warehouse slash aid center, her young daughter, Gaby, sits in front of a PC.

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Not yet 15, Gaby had just opened her first business, Jasmin says, a hint of pride in her voice as she recounts how her daughter saves her lunch money by packing homemade meals to school.

Behind her, white utility boxes with colored lids are stacked up to five high.

“It’s so we can give anything to anyone who wamts to ask for help,” she says.

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Those anything packed in these boxes run from bottles of alcohol to gloves to rice to canned goods.

Jasmin sometimes looks like a woman possessed by a spirit, one that drives her to help anyone

Regardless of how she feels, even if there would be frustrations sometimes.

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“You cannot save everyone” she says, “sometimes you get accused of not doing anything even if you did,” she adds, a trace of sadness in her voice.

Now, however Jasmin and her motley group of volunteers under JasAmazing Journey are happy to have found a new cause: helping the families of children undergoing peritoneal dialysis (read: treatment for children with kidney failure that involves filtering waste through a cavity called the peritoneum or a cavity in the abdomen where a cleansing fluid is placed, according to the Mayo Clinic).

After her stint as a Malacañang officer, Jasmin bowed out as one of awardees of the Order of Lapu Lapu (a national hero) and straight out of Malacanang, she looked for another mission.

She found it for her birthday last July while scrolling through Facebook.

There she found ‘Joyjoy,’ a child who had kidney failure and was undergoing peritoneal diamysis.

“I didn’t know kids undergo dialysis,” Jasmin said and, her interest piqued, decided to make Joyjoy Beneficiary No. 1 and peritoneal dialysis her new mission.

In no time, Jasmin and her volunteers were already looking after the needs of more than 30 children, most of whom have attending physicians at a government-run hospital in Bacolod City.

It is basically a self-financed mercy mission.

Whatever she earns from her businesses that includes a laundry shop and a water refilling station, part of which go to buying the needs of these children who mostly come from needy families.

“Their families have no money that they cannot buy the needs of their children as simple as slcohol, tissue paper or food for the day,” Jasmin recounts.

She admits not knowing anything how to organize a concert much less finance one but, to her surprise, friends and even relatives soon pitched in to help, like an uncle, Leo Ray Yanson, chief executive offiver of the Yanson Group of Bus Companies.

Asked where she got her philanthropic streak, Jasmin credits it to her Nanay Adela, her grandma on her mother’s side.

It was Nanay Adela who raised her despite extreme poverty after her parents left Jasmin and her siblings behind in Bacolod City after they migrated to Australia where her father is a national artist.

There, too, is her Wawa, Olivia Yanson or OVY, the mother of her Tito Leo Rey, who is also into philanthropic work.

But it was her Nanay Adela who planted the seed in her when she saw her lola make money by begging at the San Sebastian Cathedral yet still managing to share her money or help those that were also in need.

“If she could do it then with whatever she had, how much more for me now when I can share whatever I have,” she said.

Jasmin thought of helping than just the children-patients when she organized the Ben and Ben Concert on 24 February 2024.

This time, she is aiming to buy a tricycle, put up a sari sari store or any source of income for their families.

To someone who grew up in poverty and went through life with a lot of help from others, perhaps helping is to be expected from someone like Jasmin, like closing the karmic circle or following the universal law of giving back.

But to Jasmin Egan, helping is both an act and motive by itself.

And it helps her sleep at night.

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Julius D. Mariveles
Julius D. Mariveles
An amateur cook who has a mean version of humba, the author has recently tried to make mole negra, the Mexican sauce he learned by watching shows of master chef Rick Bayless. A journalist since 19, he has worked in the newsrooms of radio, local papers, and Manila-based news organizations. A stroke survivor, he now serves as executive editor of DNX.
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