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Dear President Duterte: A Letter Before the SONA

From a 14-year-old cancer survivor.
IMAGE Joey Dalumpines/Presidential Photo

Seve Augusto Perez is a 14-year-old Grade 10 student at Ateneo de Manila Junior High School. He had cancer when he was only three years old, but has won the battle and has been surviving it for nine years now. In time for the President's State of the Nation Address tomorrow, he wrote President Rodrigo Duterte a letter in the hopes of making the fight against cancer one of his top priorities. Change.org was granted permission to post his letter, which reads as follows.

21 July 2017

HIS EXCELLENCY RODRIGO ROA DUTERTE
President of the Republic of the Philippines
Malacañang Palace, City of Manila
Philippines

Dear Mr. President,
 
On July 24, 2017, you will face Philippine Congress and the whole country for your second State of the Nation Address. This occasion is one of the most powerful conversations a leader can have with its people.

Because you are the most powerful man in the country, may I ask your help to make the fight against cancer one of your top priorities?
 
Eleven years ago, I was diagnosed with cancer called Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia when I was three years old. I went through two and a half years of grueling cancer treatment. I thought all children lived like me. But then I realized I was different. I was losing my hair, instead of growing it. I spent more time in hospital beds than my own bed; more time in the laboratory room for blood extractions than my classroom, a thousand injections, many scans and transfusions, always wearing a mask, and limited time for play.
 
After 30 months of treatment, I almost didn’t make it. But through prayers, an awesome team of doctors and massive support from my family, relatives, parents of my pre-school classmates, I made it to my 14th birthday and have the honor of writing you today.

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Read the rest of Seve's letter here: "A 14 year old Cancer Survivor writes to the President before the SONA"

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Mara Agner
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