Need someone to help follow up the case of

This is kind of a long story. Here’s the skinny so you can choose whether to read further:

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I am leaving on a business trip and need someone to continue to follow up progress on the case of (an infant who desperately needs a liver transplant). This involves coordinating with the family in the Philippines and with the doctors and social workers of National Taiwan University Hospital who I have already presented this matter to - at least until I return to Taiwan late next week.

I expect this to involve e-mailing the Philippines, and visiting NTUH hospital once or twice to check in with the doctors, social workers and my colleagues who are aware of this matter.

[b]Essentially, it is to help the family and the hospital to decide if Taiwan is the best place for them to have the operation.

Please contact me at 0952 948975 or at gus @ - I leave Taipei tomorrow morning, I wish I could have posted this sooner.[/b]

Here’s the longer background…

Just before CNY, I received an e-mail message from the Alumni office of my high school. It was an appeal for donations to help the Gaia Bianca Pasamba, an infant diagnosed with Biliary Atresia (

With the help of colleagues at my company, I met the top liver transplant surgeon in Taipei last week to ask if Gaia Bianca could be considered on a charity basis. He took the time to check with the management committee of NTUH, and unfortunately could not accept the case as a charity.

I am grateful that they referred me to the Social Work Team of the hospital, who were on hand when the surgeon explained to me the committee’s decision. I learned that the Social Work team will assess the family’s financial need, and then communicate this to a network of charitable Organizations around the country. The Tzuchi Foundation was at the top of their list.

That was last week.

Since that time, I reported my progress (or lack of) to the family and asked them how much money they had raised to date. Yesterday, I received this message:

[quote]Hi to everyone in the ISM/American School Manila Class of Class Year: XXXX –
I’m trying to help a teacher at our school (IS Manila… or American School Manila – depending on when you attended) whose daughter needs an operation. If you can take a minute, please forward this to your batchmates.

If you can… please consider making a donation (even $25… $50… or whatever will help us reach the goal). The alumni website has a donation “button” or you can click on the following link

Thanks for taking time to read this email.

Sonny Virmani '92

PS. Please email me or if you can help.

PPS. Please read the letter below for more details.

To all ISM Alumni:

I’m writing to you about Gaia Pasamba, the beautiful and innocent eight months old daughter of one of our ISM teachers, Giorde Pasamba.

Gaia needs a liver transplant (from her mom as a “living donor”) plus the funds for that surgery – or a charitable service donation from the hospital and doctors, in the US, Singapore, Taiwan or Hong Kong. [color=red][So far, approx. $55,000 has already been raised by ISM students, parents & teachers for a procedure in Singapore costing approx. $60k to $80,000)[/color]

Baby Gaia is, literally, in a race for survival. And amidst the talent, connections, creativity, brain power, heart and wealth of the ISM alumni, we are in a unique and gifted position to help save her.

To those who’ve been helping, thank you. Let’s keep going. To those thinking of joining, welcome aboard. Let’s be creative and find a way to save Gaia.

Most of us can donate – even if it’s just $50, that’s a lot if we all do it – and everyone can setup a fundraiser… or speak with friends and colleagues… call a local hospital… speak up at their places of worship and, especially, pray for Gaia to have a chance, as most of us have had.

We need to raise money and awareness. We can do this through donations, the media, finding organizations that will bear some of the costs, finding ways to raise funds, finding ways to have the hospitals and doctors donate some or all of their services and through other means that only you can imagine and bring to reality.

One of the best gifts of our lives, if we make this happen, will be seeing her grow, year after year… a young girl, a teenager and then, a college graduate 21 years from now. We’ll see her grow into a young lady and maybe one day a mother. Each year, that is the gift you will have.

And she will have the gift of life.

Thank you for your help,

Sonny Virmani '92

ps: Donations – of any amount – are being accepted at the ISM Alumni Website (for US citizens it’s tax-deductible)[/quote]

So, it seems over NT$ 1,700,000 has already been raised by the family already! I’m double-checking with the doctors and social works today exactly how much this type of operation would cost in Taiwan. And then see what next steps the hospital and the family see fit.

Just a brief update:

The good news is that NTUH could probably do the procedure for about US$ 37,500 - much lower than the amount that has been raised to date by the family. I spoke with a nurse from the International Medical Services Center this afternoon

The bad news is that when I contacted the Pasamba family, I learned that both parents were not qualified as appropriate donors for their daughter. The family is in Singapore and they fly back to Manila tomorrow.

I offered to facilitate as much as I could the communications over email. Over the weekend, I asked doctor friends with some connections to Tzuchi who I can write to about Gaia Bianca. I believe that Tzuchi has the largest organ bank in the country, so that connection takes a more urgent meaning now