Photo courtesy of Anthony Taberna/Instagram

After broadcast journalist Anthony Taberna recently revealed that his 12-year-old daughter was battling leukemia, he and his wife, Rossel Velasco, have opened up about dealing with the disease.

“At the time that Zoey was diagnosed, I was still in denial. We were shocked,” Roselle Velasco told Jessica Soho in an interview.

Though the couple knew their daughter had leukemia in Dec. 2019, they did not immediately tell her. “We always say that it’s bone marrow disease,” she said. “We could not say the c-word to her, of course leukemia, because she might get scared.”

Taberna recalled Zoey was rushed to the hospital complaining about unexplained pain on her legs. “I thought I wasn’t scared of anything anymore. But when I saw my child struggling, I cried a lot,” he shared. 

After several tests, it was determined that Zoey had a bone marrow disease, which later was confirmed to be leukemia. “During the current outbreak of Covid-19 here in the Philippines, we stayed for one month in the hospital, and she experienced a lot of difficulties,” Velasco said. “Zoey lost a lot of weight and she didn’t eat solid food for one month. She also had shallow wounds in her mouth, making eating and talking uncomfortable, so we only gave her ice cubes.”

Velasco also said that Zoey cried when she finally learned about her diagnosis. But she and her husband assured her that her type of leukemia is curable. “So when we were going home in the car, she kept crying, asking why we did not tell her,” she said. 

The couple also said they are proud of their child’s courage. Both opened up about her condition after Zoey posted a photo of her after getting her head shaved. 

“It was her initiative to have her head shaved. Every time she woke up in the hospital, her hair kept falling so she told us she wanted to do it,” Velasco said. “She said, ‘I’m ready. I’m not afraid anymore.’ We were proud when she detailed her struggles with leukemia on social media.”

Source: Manila Bulletin (