This is a translation of the testimony given by Karleen B. La Fuente at the Prayer Rally held in Pagadian City on Oct 24, 2009. Karleen is a beneficiary of Hangop Kabataan founded by Fr. Mick Sinnott who was abducted October 11, 2009 in his Columban House in Pagadian City. (The original version is written in the Visayan language.)
My name is Karleen B. La Fuente. I am 14 years old and am a second year high school student and one of the beneficiaries of Hangop Kabataan Foundation founded and headed by Father Mick Sinnott.
I was born a Special Child. My two legs are deformed. From one year old until I reached five, I’m using my knees in order to walk. I was so glad to be enrolled in Hangop Kabataan Foundation. My classmates who are deaf are the ones who will carry me from our house to our school bus, and carry me again until we reached our room. They brought me home after class.
They do that each time my sister, who is also my caretaker, is not available.
I am very very thankful to Fr. Mick Sinnott. If not for him – maybe until now – I still would be walking on my knees. It was Fr. Mick who facilitated my Medical check-up in an Orthopedic Center in Davao City. He wanted me to have artificial legs or prosthesis. The doctors’ recommended having an orthopedic operation to gain equal height for my legs. Fr. Mick unreservedly agreed with the advice and immediately, together with the staff of the foundation, facilitated again for the expenses of operation on my legs. For three months, I stayed at Davao General Hospital and another three months at Davao Jubilee Rehabilitation Hospital who made my prosthesis or my artificial legs.
Fr. Mick helped me without condition and without reservation, so that now I can almost walk normally wearing my artificial legs. As I grow older, my prosthesis has to be re-adjusted and repaired, and as always, Fr. Mick is always at my side, helping me with whatever is needed. My thankfulness to Fr. Mick is very immense. I am very very thankful to Fr. Mick for helping me throughout until now.
And now, from my heart, I beg those who took Fr. Mick Sinnott – please, please have mercy on him. Have mercy on the Special Children, the deaf, the mute, the mentally and physically challenged children under his care – we are hoping that he will come back home to us. Please free Fr. Mick because we love him so much – especially because Fr. Mick is not in good health. Please have mercy on him and have mercy on us, we need him so much!Would there still be somebody like Fr. Mick Sinnott who would love and care for us Special Children? Please, I beg again, have mercy on us, free Fr. Mick Sinnott.