Randolph Francis Palomar, a remarkable Filipino teenager based in Dubai, is celebrating his 18th birthday on July 3 with a renewed sense of gratitude and achievement.
Seven years ago, Randolph was diagnosed with brain cancer, and doctors gave him only a week to live after his second round of chemotherapy resulted in organ failure.
However, through sheer determination and the unwavering support of his parents, Randolph not only defeated cancer but also became an honors student.
Randolph's journey to recovery has been nothing short of extraordinary. After being diagnosed with a 6.8cm malignant brain tumor in 2016, his father appealed to the community for help. The response was overwhelming, with generous individuals, church groups, and organizations stepping forward to provide financial assistance.
The Good Samaritans Ministry at St Mary's Catholic Church Dubai, the Kalyan Group, United International Private School, Tristar, Sixteen10 Events, and Money Express were among those who offered their support.
Facing numerous rounds of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, Randolph encountered a major setback when an infection compromised his already weakened immune system.
His liver failed, and doctors gave him a mere week to live.
However, Randolph defied the odds and staged a remarkable comeback. Miraculously, prayers were answered, and his body began to recover. He resumed radiation therapy, and over time, his 6.8cm tumor gradually shrank to 1.6cm, ultimately leaving only a scar on an MRI scan.
While Randolph's victory over cancer came at a cost, resulting in the loss of his peripheral vision and occasional stuttering, his mental acuity and focus have remained sharp.
Recently completing Grade 5, Randolph received the Silver Academic Excellence Award for his outstanding academic performance. He excelled in various subjects, securing the first position in Science, English, Campus Journalism, Filipino, Social Studies, Technology and Livelihood Education, Music, Physical Education and Health.
He ranked second in Math and Information Technology and third in Arts and Christian Values.
Randolph expressed his gratitude for the awards and credited his parents and the support of the community for his success.
"My life is a miracle. I survived because my parents gave me overflowing hope and encouragement to win the battle against cancer. Many people also prayed for and supported me," he was quoted as saying by Khaleej Times.
Randolph hopes that sharing his story as a brave cancer survivor will inspire others who may be facing their own challenges. He firmly believes that the beauty of life should be celebrated and cherished.