A Filipino migrant worker in Taiwan organized a music concert Sunday in Taoyuan to help raise funds to meet the medical bills of his son, who is battling cancer in the Philippines.
Choi Mallari, a 27-year old migrant worker from the province of Pampanga in the Philippines, told CNA that with the help of the Filipino community, he had organized the concert because he needed to find 100,000 pesos (US$1,924) each month for the treatment of his son.
"I found out last December that my 7-year-old son had leukemia, and in January he started chemotherapy treatment that would last three years," Mallari said. "He is now eight months into the treatment, so he has another two years and four months to go."
Ivy Aguas (Center). (CNA photo)
In an effort to raise funds to pay for the chemotherapy, Mallari began selling T-shirts with the word "Lifesavers" printed on them, which indicated that the buyers were helping to save the life of his son Gabriel.
At the suggestion of his friends, Mallari said, his next step was to organize the concert, which was held at the Southern Taoyuan Youth Activity Center.
Admission to the concert was NT$50 (US$1.62), while the "Lifesaver" T-shirts were being sold at the venue at NT$400 each.
Ivy Aguas (Front). (CNA photo)
About 200 people showed up to the see the performers, which included a mime group, a hip hop dance crew and music bands of various genres.
The Evergreen Hand Mine performers put on a show with neon lights reflecting off white gloves to portray praying for Gabriel, while the Bizrhyme Band captured the hearts of the audience with their covers of popular rock songs.
Marie Yang, a Filipino community leader and host of the concert, told CNA that when the Filipino community heard of Mallari's plight, they wanted to help.
Cindy Chien (front). (CNA photo)
"Every Sunday, there are groups of volunteers helping Mallari to sell the 'Lifesaver' T- shirts," she said.
"I think the child is undergoing chemotherapy three times a week, and you know the salary of an overseas Filipino factory worker is not enough to pay for it all," Yang said. "We have the heart to help, especially me, as I have children of my own."
She said all the bands and other artistes at Sunday's concert had performed for free.
"It's all in the spirit of helping one another," Yang said.
Meanwhile, Mallari said he was grateful for the help that he had received and he planned to continue his fundraising efforts because there was still a long road ahead for his son.