SAN FRANCISCO — After a long flight from the Philippines, seven-year-old Ronald Tejam and his mother Paz Tejam received this warm welcome by over a dozen of Filipino Shriners at San Francisco International Airport.
The boy received some toys and got the Hollywood treatment, posing for pictures with the shriners.
Ronald is the second child from the Philippines that the Shriners are sponsoring to receive full medical treatment, after suffering third degree burns to his backside.
“His whole back is burned and his butt is fused together, and now the Shriners will take care of him to see if we could do something to get him back to normal,” said Nel Pacis.
Originally from Binmahloui, Pangasinan — in 20,15 then 5-year-old Ronald accidentally sat in a huge pan of boiling oil. He has undergone two operations, including colostomy. His family lacks the financial means to cover all the expenses.
The Shriner’s Hospital for Children in Sacramento, California is home to arguably the best burn units in the country, and Ronald’s treatments will be entirely paid for by the Shriners until he is 18-years-old.
“It gives us so much pleasure it doing this, because that’s what the Shriners is all about. It’s to take care of children who are hurt and the parents cannot afford to have them taken care of, and we here from the Shriners both of the Philippines and California to take care of Ronald.”
Ronald’s mother Paz admits that she has some anxiety about the process.
“I’m nervous for him because this is his first operation for his butt.”
The Shriners are ensuring her that Ronald is in the best hands, and they use the example of baby Cloe — who was their burn patient last year, and is now recuperating well back in the Philippines.
Nel Pacis was even able to visit baby Cloe when he returned to the Philippines a few months ago.
“I was so happy to see her jumping around, playing around, singing like a very normal kid — but we know she will be back here again in the United States, in California to have her other surgeries.”
Paz says she is very humbled and grateful that the Shriners and other people care so much about her son.
“I want to thank all of everyone who’s help, especially those in the Philippines who’s been helping him from the beginning.”
Ronald will have his first appointment with the burn center’s medical team this Saturday at the Shriner’s Hospital for Children.