FANOGCS Medical Mission 2023

FANOGCS Medical Mission 2023

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Making a Difference

The Filipino-American Nurses Organization of Grand Canyon State (FANOGCS) conducted their medical-dental-vision mission last October 20 -23 at Laoag, City, Ilocos Norte, Philippines. It was a successful event where 1,700 patients were seen. Most patients went to avail of a combination of medical, dental and vision services resulting in a total of approximately 3,400 services rendered. 

There were 20 FANOGCS members who participated.

The FANOGCS member-volunteers were: Melody Orillo, Maila Gee, Alain de la Cruz, Donnabella Maglalang, Ricky Maglalang, Ajay Manabat, Amy Laxamana, Billie Sparenga, Emee Olivares, Genevieve Crabajales, Armida Ranjo, Marissa Gregorio, Susan Araneta, Elda Lippke, MeAnn Damaso, Shalimar Salas, Billie Sparenga, Marivic Guanson, Gloria Leyesa and Flordeliza de Peralta

Some came with their friends and families who also served as volunteers.

1,700 Patients were helped during our medical mission.

The mission was in partnership with the City of Laoag , San Lorenzo Charity Clinic and the Diocese of Laoag. Upon completion of the mission, there was a surplus of supplies so we were able to give dressing supplies to a local school nurse in Isabela, dental supplies to a local school dentist, pediatric medicines and school supplies to White Cross Orphanage in San Juan and Grace to be Born Orphanage in Pasig, Manila. We received a warm welcome from Laoag City Mayor Michael Marcos Keon who hosted us for dinner at Amici Resort Hotel in Barangay Balacad. Then Vice Mayor Carlos Farinas treated the group for an evening of fun at a local night spot with live bands and open bar.

Diocesan Bishop Renato Mayugba had a delicious lunch prepared for us and for local volunteers after a Sunday mass at St. Mary’s Seminary in Laoag City.

All in all, there were a combined total of 140 US-based and local volunteers. Prior to the nurses’ arrival, 17 balikbayan boxes filled with supplies were shipped from Arizona to Laoag.

Our thanks to Emee Olivares for the safekeeping of those boxes. Most of the items needed for the mission were provided by the organization. Additional medicines were purchased in the Philippines using organization funds.

During the mission, different sections were set up which included the medical department where a team of local doctors generously gave their time and expertise for patient consultations; the dental department had about 10 local and US-based dentists providing extraction services to a large number of patients. Under the dental department, a team of dedicated volunteers handled the sterilization of dental instruments that kept the dental procedures flowing smoothly. The vision department team checked the vision of patients and distributed reading glasses to the needy people of the city. We observed there was such a great need for eyeglasses among the local residents. The medical intake team was responsible for making sure all patients were registered and in obtaining their medical history. The patients received color-coded arm bands to identify whether they needed medical or dental or vision or a combination of services. Most
patients received multiple arm bands.

Local volunteers were very helpful in taking care of logistics that included having a suitable place for the general assemblies and a place for volunteers to rest. The logistics team also took care of meals and snacks for the volunteers;
they handled purchases to replenish medications; made sure that workers had bottled water and provided security and crowd control at the entrance and exit sites.

Lastly, the financial department kept up-to-date accounting for all disbursements and expenses. Overall, it was beautiful to realize that everything just fell into place. We left behind 2 new portable dental chairs for the City of Laoag Rural Hospital and San Lorenzo Charity Clinic. The donation helped to cement the friendships established in this wonderful collaborative mission work.

The FANOGCS team also visited Balacad Elementary School in Laoag City to distribute backpacks and school supplies to the delight of over 100 children. It was heartwarming that the school visit turned out to be a fundraising event for the school. Many volunteer nurses from Arizona were inspired to give towards the purchase of much needed school equipment and supplies. Melody Orillo was asked when she was there, why was Laoag City, Ilocos Norte chosen. She said, “That as the president representing the organization, I needed a solid foundation and connection with the local people that I can be comfortable with in order to successfully implement this big and noble task. I felt confident that the necessary local preparation could be done by my best friends Ricky and Maila Gee and Emee Pascua Olivares who are all from Laoag. They are my key people who can connect with the local resources. According to our contacts in Laoag, there is a need for medical and dental assistance in the community. They mentioned that there are approximately 80 barangays in Laoag that will truly benefit from the medical-dental- vision mission. FANOGCCS wants to reach out to as many vulnerable
people in the community.”

FANOCGS expresses our deepest gratitude to our Platinum Sponsors -Dignity Health and Prism Hospice; Silver Sponsors – Gold Kidney Health Plan, Grand Canyon University, Dolce Aesthetic, Amy Laxamana, Maria Ruby Agudo and Julie Veto who also joined us for the mission. We cannot forget the generosity of all who purchased ads for our souvenir program last June 2023, the private donors, those who attended our Zumbathon and those who supported our cause through other means. We are very grateful to all of them. We are true to our medical mission mantra, “Tayo tayo, Tulong tulong Together “(All of us helping together.) As we combined our efforts in this collaborative mission work, the result was miraculous. Let us not grow weary in doing good whether in small or large measure because what we do ripples on for the betterment of many others.


Melody Orillo

FANOGCS President 2022-2024

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