Not his sickness can stop nine-year-old cancer patient Aedan Pio Malvar from reaching out to medical frontliners during the pandemic.
Pio has been suffering from chordoma, a rare kind of cancer of the bone, since he was three years old.
Just as he was about to take his proton beam therapy in India, COVID-19 broke out.
Pio's mother, Gem Malvar, related to Summit Media in this interview that they thought of selling the boy's artworks in 2015 to raise funds for his surgeries and other treatments.
A year after, they began paying it forward to charities and institutions.
Gem recalled, "Fundraising siya, at first for himself lang 'tapos nung Christmas ng year na iyon, nag-start siya mag-give back...
"Noong 2016, hindi maganda iyong prognosis niya. Parang sabi sa amin noon, anything na gusto namin gawin for Pio, gawin na namin kasi they don't know.
"So doon na siya nag-start na mag-sell ng paintings and share ng proceeds niya."
Instead of worrying about his illness, Pio, as young as he is, has found comfort in painting galaxies and using this gift to help others.
Gem continued, "Ngayon, iyong frontliners ang napili niya primarily kasi concerned siya, naririnig niya sa news na may mga doctors na namamatay kasi kulang sa PPE...
"Ang una, Charity Pediatric Ward ng PGH [Philippine General Hospital].
"Nagbigay [ang donors] ng donation kits tapos pag may extra siyang donation na cash, binibigay niya doon sa PGH foundation..."
Video: Kim Justine Gan / Summit Media Video Team
PIO THE STELLAR ARTIST
Pio's artistic skills began to show at about the same time he was diagnosed with cancer five years ago.
Gem discovered it when Pio, typical of a toddler, was toying with her set of make-up and brushes.
She recalled, "Noong three siya... siyempre mommy [ako], may mga make-up, may mga palette, pagkauwi ko na lang sa bahay kalat-kalat na iyon.
"'Tapos iyon make-up brush iyon na iyong ginagamit niyang parang pang-paint... so naisip ko noon baka interesado siya mag-paint.
"So binilhan ko siya ng mga finger paint, mga poster color and nag-enjoy naman siya.
"Ang sunod na binili ko na is watercolor with brush."
Encouraged by his mom, Pio is fast developing into an amazing artist fascinating people with his paintings of the galaxy in canvases, postcards, and even in passport cases.
According to Gem, it is his son's dream to become an astronaut someday.
HOW TO HELP
Gem said simple acts of kindness go a long way, "As patients ourselves, ang isa sa na-appreciate namin is if someone asks, 'Ano puwedeng magawa namin, or bring you food, or may errands ka bang kailangang gawin?'
"Hindi naman necessarily monetary. Malaking bagay iyon, Kahit sa frontliners puwede iyong gawin... any help will go a long way.
"Kung hindi man, kunwari, bumili sila ng painting ni Pio, kahit mag-share lang about the story, simple acts of kindness, right?
"Kasi ngayon nag-pause ang treatment ng halos maraming may sakit. So maybe, extend a helping hand sa iba ring may sakit."