While reporting in front of the class, Jade Lagrada felt like something wasn’t right. It was then he realized that he was experiencing a seizure. It was one of the many seizures he experienced as days went by. 20-year-old Jade, a graduating student, was unaware that it was one of the symptoms of brain tumor.
Jade later on began having difficulty walking. He would always lose his balance. In the blink of an eye, everything went different. His condition became worse. He started vomiting blood. Even his teachers already noticed that something was off because he had trouble catching up with their lessons.
At first, the doctors weren’t able to detect what his condition was, which made Jade scared and anxious of what was ahead. He was sent to Manila and there he found out that he had a brain tumor. He was diagnosed with medulloblastoma. According to Mayo Clinic, medulloblastoma is a type of cancerous tumor that starts in the lower back part of the brain and tends to spread to other areas around the brain and spinal cord.
The doctors then predicted that Jade had very little chance of surviving. It was a hard battle to fight for Jade since he was a graduating student at that time. Not only was it hard for him to cope with his studies, the cost of his operation was so much more than what he and his family could afford. The doctors told him that he would be needing P500,000 for surgery. When he got back to Manila, he found out that the P500,000 was only for the equipment to be used during the surgery and the payment for the doctors, anesthesiologists and his medicines were not yet included.
He knew right then that everything was going downhill for him. He was losing hope. He was about to give up. But a spark of hope came knocking on his door. He met someone who encouraged him to attend a Christian church. It paved way for him to know God. He was then determined to pull through.
To cover the cost of his operation, Jade asked for financial help from everyone he thought was willing to help. They asked for help from government and non-government organizations. His cousin in Germany also helped by singing at different restaurants to raise enough money for his operation. The doctors also gave him a big discount; they let Jade pay half the price.
On September 2012, the surgery to remove the tumor in his brain was done. It wouldn’t have been a success without the people who extended their help and support for him.
A year after his operation, he continued studying while he was recovering. While being homeschooled, one of his teachers would visit his house every day to discuss and explain lessons to help him catch up with the lessons in class. This helped him keep his head above water. Jade did everything he could to finish his studies. And he did!
Today, Jade Lagrada is a 27-year-old Petroleum Engineering graduate and is currently taking up Master of Arts in Education – Mathematics, while working at the ETEEAP Office at Palawan State University. He is expecting to finish his master’s degree this year and is planning to pursue a doctorate degree in Environmental Science.
He now has a metal inside his head and a “straw” from his head to his stomach called a shunt. He’s had chemo and radiation therapies and until know, he is continually checked through MRI. For him, the MRI results are a declaration that God has healed him.
What he went through was never a barrier for him to achieve his ambition in life. Instead, he used it as an encouragement and motivation to be the best that he can be. His faith in God strengthened him and gave him courage in facing life’s reality. “Sabi ng mga doctor, after 10 years pa raw made-declare na survivor ako. Pero para sa akin, I survived,” Jade said.
He sees himself as something more than just a guy who went through the dreadful case of medulloblastoma. He is a living testimony of a fighter. He is an overcomer. He is a survivor.