Caring for Grandma, Fighting Cancer


40-year-old Kana from the Philippines, with her distinctive short haircut, lively big eyes, and a sweet smile, speaks fluent Chinese: "I used to have long hair and regularly treated it with ion perms. But after getting sick, I don't care about that anymore. Health is the most important."

Kana has been working in Taiwan for 14 years. In 2005, her first contract was in an aluminum factory, and after returning to the Philippines for two years, she came back to Taiwan to work as a caregiver in Yunlin, taking care of grandparents. She had a deep bond with them until her grandmother fell seriously ill. Kana began frequenting hospitals, and during this time, she discovered a lump in her right breast. However, due to the heavy caregiving responsibilities, such as suctioning phlegm and tube feeding, she was always busy and didn't have time to use her health insurance card to see a doctor.

After discovering the lump, five months passed. Kana's grandmother passed away, and after helping her grandfather with a series of funeral matters, she finally went to the hospital to check her own body. To her surprise, the doctor diagnosed her with stage III breast cancer, with a tumor of five centimeters that had spread to the lymph nodes.

She will never forget December 10th, the day she received the critical diagnosis. The urgency of her condition left her with little time for self-pity. In just 25 days, after listening to the doctor's explanation of the follow-up treatment plan and explaining her cancer diagnosis to her grandfather, she began three weeks of chemotherapy.

From January to June, Kana lost her hair, and her body became even more frail. Fortunately, Kana's employer, her grandfather, and her boyfriend provided her with a lot of support. Instead of sending her back to the Philippines, her grandfather encouraged her to stay in Taiwan and focus on recovering from cancer. He even allowed Kana's boyfriend to stay with her at home during her chemotherapy week to take care of her.

Kana will never forget the day a few days after the first round of chemotherapy ended. She looked at herself in the mirror, attempting to comb her hair, and her once beautiful hair fell out in handfuls. She was frightened. Her boyfriend comforted her and personally shaved off her hair. However, that night, she secretly saw her boyfriend crying in a corner. Kana's boyfriend is also a Filipino migrant worker, and they have been in a relationship for many years. They had planned to get married in the Philippines next year, but fate led them to face a life-or-death crisis first.

Now Kana has completed her chemotherapy and had the tumor removed. In the future, she will need to return for regular check-ups for a year. She understands that she needs more time to rest, so she came to a shelter to recuperate. After her body recovers, she plans to return to work and continue taking care of her grandfather. Shelters like this one provide daily living arrangements, nutritional supplements, accompany workers to medical appointments, and provide translation services for migrant workers like Kana who are battling cancer, giving them a place to rest and recover, and restart their lives.

Kana expressed her gratitude for the help of the shelter. She has met many fellow Filipinos here and heard many sad stories. Some, like her, have cancer in a foreign land; others have lost fingers in factory accidents. But she believes that everyone who comes to the shelter, like her, with our companionship and assistance, can protect their rightful rights and return to the workplace. We also wish Kana success in her fight against cancer and hope that each of your efforts can support our shelter in continuing to accompany every migrant worker through difficult times.