I’M going for the first time to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Friday (October 9), to cover the Asia Pacific Hemophilia Camp 2009.
The trip is sponsored by pharmaceutical firm Bayer Schering Pharma Asia Pacific. This means they are forking over the cost of my plane ride, stay in the hotel (Pullman Putrajaya Lakeside: www.pullmanputrajaya.com), and my ride to and from where I stay and the airports of Manila and KL.
I and another journalist from the Philippines will meet, according to the welcome letter from Bayer, the 20 "Hemophilia Heroes" across Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand who won the “Design-Your-Own-Hemophilia-Heroes” cartoon/video contest.
I was told local journalists will also be covering the 2-day event where “hematology experts will speak on the standard of care of hemophilia in Asia Pacific.”
The camp is expected to identify how this standard could be further improved “so that young people with the lifelong bleeding disorder can manage their conditions and grow up to lead normal and fulfilling lives.”
“Patient and parents support group dialogues/forums are also scheduled to discuss the standard of care of hemophilia in Asia Pacific and what is being done to deal with the situation, all in the hope of improving the physical, emotional and psychological well-being of children and young people with the disease.”
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services website, hemophilia (heem-o-FILL-ee-ah) "is a rare bleeding disorder" usually inherited -passed from parents to children through the genes, and "occurs only in males (with very rare exceptions)." [http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/hemophilia/hemophilia_what.html]
According to the briefing letter, the Asia Pacific Hemophilia Camp is themed ‘Love.Learn.Live.’”
It has “fun-filled with activities intended to raise emotional quotient and deal with negativities (‘Love.’); inventions and entrepreneurship (‘Learn.’); health and nutrition (‘Live.’); as well as an ‘Amazing Race’ challenge (‘Love.Learn.Live.’).”
I will try to write from KL beginning tomorrow night, if I still have the energy since the program says we go back to our rooms 9pm after a day's worth of activitis. The time in the Philippines and Malaysia is the same, to note.
But I think I'll be staying up all night because, as I always experience whenever I travel overseas, I'll miss my wife and daughters Katha and Laya.
It won't help that I'll be with young people always searching in themselves the strongest will to remain victorioua over their illness.
This is a coverage that I hope can dispel the cynicism that tries to embrace journalists in their search for the next story.
As they would say in Malay: Jumpa lagi (see you again).