Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Joshua Gales, 26th February 2007 – 1st August 2011.

At World In Need we invest in the future of children, working to give them the best possible start in life, that they may grow up achieving everything they are capable of achieving.

Sadly, not every child grows up, and it is with heavy hearts that we inform you of the death of one of our children in the Philippines, Joshua Gales.

The odds were stacked against Joshua from the start. He had encephalitis, asthma and myriad other ailments. In his first year of life he endured four operations, and he had low resistance to disease, which meant he frequently needed antibiotics and painkillers. He could not walk or stand unaided, and needed full time care. Yet, as his photograph shows, he was a darling little boy with a ready smile and a lot of love within him.

At four days old, Joshua’s birth family, unable to give him the help and care he required, handed him over to former pastor, Miguel Gales and his wife Merlyn. Miguel is 60 years old and his income is unsteady, but nonetheless, he and Merlyn worked hard to provide for all of Joshua’s needs.

Had they lived in the UK, there would have been help for them – welfare benefits to assist with the burden a disability places on family finances, social services to ensure his needs were met and perhaps to give respite to the family. His medical and educational needs would have been taken care of, and both the quality and length of his life might have been increased. In the Philippines, there was none of this. The Gales family were on their own.

World In Need’s child sponsorship programme can literally mean the difference between life and death for a boy like Joshua. By providing enough to cover his basic needs, such as medication, a sponsor relieves the family of stress and worry and enables them all to enjoy the best life possible in their circumstances.

Joshua was a special little boy who meant a lot to the World In Need teams both in the Philippines and at head office in England. We all feel saddened and diminished by his loss. We pray for his family at this sad time, and will continue to give them our prayer support and love for as long as they need us.

We also pray that in future, through our Child Sponsorship programme, we can ensure other children like Joshua have the best chance possible.

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