An article I wrote and published by The News Today on 2/6/2006. A woman who simply love. I am sharing her story again and may you also learn lessons as I have.
To my dearest Angel Dorita (tita lola),
Thank you for giving me the privilege to share your story for the world and in believing I can. You are my biggest fan as I am also yours. I miss you…Smile for me always from up there:-)
Dorita Urrata: A lifetime commitment
It is innate to man that he continuously finds meaning in his life. Thus, there are times when he asks questions like: What am I here for, why am I living in bounty when others die of hunger, what have I done for those who are in need, how am I going to live my life, and many more. Questions after the other that seek meaning for his existence. And when these are answered, he becomes contented and joyful regardless of his situation (rich or poor). People such as Mother Teresa of Calcutta, the Dalailama of Burma, doctors, teachers and others.
A Jewish Austrian Psychiatrist once said: “What matters is not the meaning of life in general but the specific meaning of a person’s life at a given moment. Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life to carry out a concrete assignment which demands fulfillment. Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather he must recognize that it is he who is asked. Each man is questioned by life and can only answer to life by answering for his own life, by being responsible. Responsibleness is the essence of human existence.” Like the saying, one ordinary woman found her mission in making the world a better place by saving the lives of children is Mrs. Dorita Holland Urrata. At 66, she has facilitated in bringing medical care for children suffering from various ailments globally. Every year, she brings an average of 50 children all over the world to the best medical practitioners for prosthetics, surgery and other medical treatment needed.
An Act of Love
People says charity will only give you headache. It will frustrate you when what you believe won’t happen. Or that it won’t guarantee you happiness but she proved it wrong. Her life as a philanthropist evolved in a belief that everything in life may not be perfect as it should be, but we can make a difference. That we can build dreams and make them real if we act on it. And these should be the force behind what we do. Our deep love for others. Dr. Viktor Frankl in his book ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ affirmed the same belief when he said: “The salvation of man is through love and in love.” And love as a driving force for her strength made her an epitome of a hero. Love as the greatest of all virtues have sustained her in her work. “I will continue my work as long as I’m alive.” she says with a smile.
Dorita is the founder of and executive director of CHILDREN’s CHANCE, a non-government foundation for children based in Connecticut, USA. Through the foundation she has reached out to thousands of children all over the world. These children maybe orphaned, war victims and the like. Its address is at 45 Proctor Street, Waterbury Connecticut 06706. In the Philippines, the foundation could be reached through PAL Foundation.
PAL Foundation (PALF) was founded in 1992. It is the community relations arm of Asia’s First Airline and an accredited disaster relief, crisis intervention and welfare organization. PAL Medical Travel Grants are PALF’s main program for humanitarian and social development assistance. These enable indigent Filipinos to go for medical treatment as charity or service patients for serious health conditions.
The PAL Foundation has a preferential option for the poorest and the weakest members of society — the children, the differently abled and the elderly. It is a service organization that values people over profits. PALF is headed by Ms. Menchu Sarmiento as the Executive Director. Menchu is also a board of the Children’s Chance.
As of the record, the successful operation of the Conjoined Aguirre Twins was one of their (Children’s Chance and PAL Foundation) most high profile case. Dorita works through the PAL Foundation to help Filipino children like Ariel Sambo who has phocomilia– a congenital defect where he was born with no arms and legs. Since Ariel’s father is also disabled, Dorita helps them to pay for their Habitat for Humanity home in Rotaryville, Binangonan, Rizal. She traveled back to the United States last February 4 with Roberto “Romie” Mal-ang. Romie is a 14 year-old boy with multiple congenital anomalies referred to Children’s Chance CT by the PAL Foundation. He will be treated for free at Yale Medical Center in New Haven, CT for serious disorders such as patent urachus (urinates through navel), ambiguous genitalia, diffuse liver disease, hyperplasia and renal failure.
A heart for the Filipinos
It is true that what happened in the past may affect the future. For Dorita, her learnings as a young girl brought up by her Irish parents has been part of her endeavors. Also with the memory were her experiences as an intern at the University of Sto. Tomas during the WW II. As a survivor from prison, she confessed that the Philippines has a special place in her heart. “My ‘ama’ (yaya) Ana, a Filipino used to give us (family) food without the Japanese knowing about it. I never get to have her last name but it’s because of her kindness that I’m inspired and know I have an obligation to help Filipinos.”
Her experiences in prison became a start off for her love for service especially the war victim children. And with her story most regained hope. Even if her name wasn’t documented, it’s in the hearts of those whom she has made a difference in their lives. Her advocacy has moved the hearts of people from all walks. Her simplicity has challenged those who have more. Her past has inspired the suffering and the able. She challenges us to help rebuild our world. She also invites us to contact her if we knew of a child who is in great need of medical care. “I believe we are our brother’s keeper and we have a responsibility for each other”, Mrs. Urratta said with conviction.
Mrs. Urrata was blessed with three children Jim(50), Sylvia (48), Robert (42) and three grandchildren and one great grandson son. She died on April 8, 2014 at Yale New Haven Hospital.