We had 5 children lined up for our Spread Good Squad to visit once we arrived in the Philippines on April 8th, 2019; Xander, Christian, Jhehanie, Vinz, and Khandise. Unfortunately just hours after landing in Manila, we received a devastating phone call. At just one and a half years old, Khandise had passed away after a year long fight with cancer. We were all so saddened and completely blindsided by this news.
Once our Philippines Spread Good Squad member Josh translated the news, we assumed that we would no longer be making a visit to Khandise’s family, but we couldn’t be further from the truth. Not only did Khandise’s family want us to still come and visit; they also wanted to prepare a traditional meal for us at their home. We were so honored that they’d still be open to having us come over.
The initial plan curated by our local team members Josh and Earl, were to purchase her family a juicer, which was a big need since Khandise was unable to eat solid foods. Now that they were no longer in need of a juicing system, we knew we needed to find another way to help this resilient family. It didn’t take being in the Philippines long to realize it is very different from the United States. Just from the naked eye, we could tell that our US dollar could go a lot further, so we asked Khandise’s mom Florenda how we could help. She explained that they could really use some financial support with the costs of Khandise’s wake. There was a coffin that needed to be purchased, registration for the cemetery site, as well as the papers for her burial. We couldn’t imagine the pain and despair Khandise’s whole family was going through, so having a financial burden on top of all of this was the last thing we wanted them to have on their plate , so we let her know that we would like to pay for all of it. Seeing Florenda’s face when we shared the news with her was priceless. After spending the afternoon eating home made pancit and getting to know Khandise’s family, they also invited us to Khandise’s wake.
A few days later, our team caravanned over to the small cemetery, that was nothing like we had ever seen in California. The cemetery was actually an outdoor building, where they buried the deceased into the walls. Once we arrived to Khandise’s burial slot, we noticed that every slot surrounding it looked different. Some had flowers, some had custom tiles, and some just had a name carved into the cement. We asked Florenda about this and she let us know that having a custom site costs more money. It was when we saw them carving Khandise’s name into the cement that our team realized we needed to do more to help this family remember Khandise in the best way possible. After the ceremony while we were saying our goodbyes, we let them know that we would like to pay for the custom tiles for Khandise’s site as well. That exchange between our team and Khandise’s family held so much gratitude, perspective, and love.
Although our US team never got to actually meet Khandise, Josh and Earl did, just a few days before we arrived. We are so happy that a couple of our Spread Good Sqaud members had the opportunity to meet her and initiate the quickly strong relationship with her family. For them to be so open to having us over right after the passing of their daughter without even knowing us is truly something special. This is really what it’s all about. The love, the trust, the support; it’s all so overwhelming and so real. We are looking forward to staying in touch with Khandise’s family and spreading more good in the Philippines.
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