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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mila's story

Look at her leg! Bent at the shin!

This is a story so dear to my heart it is hard to write it without tears coming to my eyes.

Mila was a little girl I met way back in 2001 when I was visiting the family of my friend. She lived on a very remote island in one of the poorest provinces in the Philippines. Samar.  It was a lazy hot afternoon when I was eating lunch that Mila can stumbling in the native house where we were. When I first saw her she had a huge smile on her face. It was quite dark inside the native house but her leg had caught my eye. There was something very wrong with it. Instead of the leg bending at the knee it was bending at the shin and it was the shin that was touching the ground when she walked and not her foot.

I had inquired to the family what happened to her leg and they told me that when Mila was two years old she had fallen out of her raised bahay kubo and broke her leg terribly. When I asked why did she not see a doctor I was even more saddened. I was told that Mila's mom had abandon her and her father was killed at sea as a fisherman. So Mila was left to just go from one aunt to another and basically had no family. Mila never received treatment for her leg. She had to endure the pain of a broken leg and then manage to walk on it for nearly 7 years!

I remember not being able to sleep well when I had returned to the States after meeting Mila. How could this innocent human be forced to continue this kind of life when I had the ability to help? It bothered me for several months until I made the decision to help her. 

It was because of Mila that I had made my first trip to Cebu. I went there to arrange for her to have her leg operated on by Dr. Migi Morales who at that time was a renown orthopedic surgeon. I found out about him by a referral from another surgeon who had operated on my knee in Manila earlier that year.

Painful moments on the road to recovery
It took quite a bit of logistics to get five members of her relatives and her to Cebu, rent an apartment for them and also hired a caretaker. Her medical situation was very complicated. It required two very painful operations and a technique called "Ilizorof" therapy to actually break and lengthen her leg. She had wear a cumbersome device on her leg for almost a year after the operation.

I don't know how she did it. I am so proud of her. She never complained and was so grateful for my help. She had a wonderful spirit and a unique character. She won the hearts of whomever she met. Definitely a gifted child.

I gave her the best I could. What a brave little girl!
The experience with Mila in the Hospital in Cebu led to many more opportunities to help people in desperate need there. It was such a wonderful feeling to be able to live my life knowing the meaning to the success God gave me in my business ventures. It was an incredible time in my life. The more I gave to help the poor, the more I was blessed when I went back to the States to do business. This happened year after year for many years. It got to a point where I had pre-planned how I would give away my yearly bonus before I even got it! God is really good!

Years later after my friend got married to a German gentlemen she arranged a meeting with Mila and myself in Manila. It was a great moment because my mother was visiting and was able to meet Mila too. I think there will always be a special bond between me and Mila because of our experience together. I think it would make a great movie one day.

Even now I still pray for her and wonder how she is doing. Somehow with that very special character I am sure she will be successful in whatever she does in life. Mila is a born winner!


  1. Is that Mila, she's a grown-up now!Hope and pray that she will be better, more and more with the best of health. I've just only read (today,Feb.7,2012)your story Mr.David Graham,as I knew you (way back 2002) a better philantropist and that BIG VISION of yours, to see that MIRROR of altruism. I pray that you will recover everything (that's really yours ). Your humbleness and altruistic visions are always heard by God! Keep on praying and also give you and your family... my kind prayer.
    --- Mrs.Simonette Tenido Brebenariu

    1. Hi Simonette,

      I was so surprised to hear from you after all these years! This is a giant blessing to meet up again in such a way. Yes, I continued as I did with Mila for many years in the Philippines. Some of the best years of my life.

      I understand you are in Romania. The amount of snow there now is incredible. I saw it on the news. Please take good care. We will keep you in our prayers.


  2. Yes that is true, Romania is really on that frigid climatic condition, and for me, this is the worst winter that I've experienced in my 4-year-stay in Romania. My husband told me that" Please always take good care in going to school everyday and keep a prayer while crossing the slippery-snowy road". Still, a Teacher in English in one of the public high schools here in Resita,CS,Romania. I just want to say too, Happy 48th Birthday! More health,birthdays,happiness and blessings to come!Regards to your wife,children and parents and may God give you the LIGHT of BLESSINGS and more!Give you and your kind prayer.
    ---Mrs.Simonette Tenido Brebenariu

  3. Yes, Is really true he is our hero and he survive us how many people his surviving when we need him. DAVE You have really good heart, you give us a new life and and good life. how we thankfull your help, I cant hold my tears cominf into my eyes when i read your blogs and see the pics all the people your helping, We suppurt you and god blessing you more. DAVE.