What can be worse than the feeling of helplessness we get when a family member needs us but we’re hundreds or thousands of miles away in a foreign country? Brothers Arnold and Mark Gil Buenviaje are living that helplessness every day as they work here to take care of their distant family.
In January 2014 their father passed away from lung complications. For the last eight years he had been giving everything he had to take care of Alvin; one of his sons who needs constant attention and treatment due to a car accident he was a victim of.
Mark and Arnold have been working here in Shenzhen to help out their family financially; saving and sending back about 2,000 RMB each month. “My father gave everything he had to help support and take care of my brother Alvin. When dad died the responsibility is now on us,” says Mark when I met with him and Arnold at McCawley’s in Sea World. “One of my biggest regrets is choosing to come to China to make money to help support my family instead of just staying home so I could be there with them. But we can’t make enough money there.”
The family story is tragic, three brothers and one sister had already died of cancer and another one of health complications. Things were looking up though, as the family received news that Arnold and Mark’s sister Marilou was expecting a baby. Happiness had returned to the Buenviaje househoud.
Unfortunately, the happiness was shortlived. On August 16, 2014 her husband Danilo Espiritu died of a head injury received at his construction job; less than four months before the birth of Danielle Jhune Buenviaje Espiritu (nickname Jezb) on October 12, 2014. To make matters even worse, poor Jezb was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy within a few months of being born. “It’s incurable and is something she’s going to have to live with the rest of her life. It’s so sad, she suffers so much,” says Arnold as he’s showing me pictures of Jezb undergoing treatments after a late night attack.
“She’s going through so much. We just want to help any way that we can. We both play drums and so we thought maybe we can get some friends together to play and try to raise a little money to send back to my sister.”
This comment from Arnold was the spark that launched a fundraiser. Within a few days he signed up 10 bands to play at McCawley’s (Sea World) on May 22nd from 3pm to 10pm to help raise money for his sister. Drink sponsors have agreed to provide drinks as well so that people who come support them (by buying a 50 RMB ticket) can also get a free drink.
“We hope that people will enjoy the event. We love music, our friends love music, and we want to give what we can.”
If you can’t make it to the Fundraiser at McCawley’s but would still like to help, you can send Arnold and Mark your donations via bank transfer or via WeChat by scanning the QR code below. Any amount is appreciated:
Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased directly from the brothers Arnold and Mark. Contact them via wechat at ID: arnoldjc or ID: markbutchoy.