She was the youngest in the family-an adventurer, who wanted to explore the world and work abroad for a brighter future. She was already thinking of stepping into the unknown until something stopped her in her tracks. Klea Marie "Kleng" Hofileña, loved so much by her family and friends in the Philippines, was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 27. Two years later, on Oct 22, 2015, Kleng passed away.
It was a difficult and painful journey indeed, but Kleng's brother, Christian Hofileña, told migme that Kleng's positive outlook gave them strength through it all.
"Kleng was such a strong and brave lady. Her courage, strength, and faith made it easy for us to see hope and cure. We were her support group, we had no right to complain when she herself did not. She surrendered and trusted everything to the Almighty. Who were we to show and feel weakness, when the patient herself was so brave despite the circumstances?," he shared.
When Kleng was still a child, Christian revealed that she was the jolly kid who listened to the elders-she was never a brat, even though she's the baby in the family. Growing up, Kleng kept her happy disposition and her brother saw that inner glow. "She had that ready smile for everyone in the room. She made things light and made people comfortable around her," he said.
Kleng was also the curious type. "She would always try local dishes, even exotic ones… She was an explorer in her own ways. With Kleng, you expect the unexpected," said Christian.
Kleng's cancer symptoms
It was after New Year 2013, in January or February, when Kleng noticed something unusual.
"She told our older sister, Kristine, about a lump she felt while bathing. She did not pay much attention to it hoping it would go away and she was scared to go to the doctor to have it checked," Christian revealed.
Things escalated quickly and Kleng's battle with the Big C began.
Here's an excerpt:
"I was just a regular tech support person for a mobile phone company-I clock in at 9 and leave at 6, resolve a few issues in between, and then I go about working on other things: Friends, family, some hobbies. Truth be told, I lived an ordinary life. I had no noble pursuit, except maybe to help my family, and I was pretty much okay circling around a consistent orbit, until I suddenly got kicked out of it in June 2014.
That month after several nerve-wracking trips to the doctor, I found out that I had stage 3 breast cancer. It was the shock of my life-I went from okay to just plain devastated. A month after, I started eight cycles of chemotherapy and by December, I already had a left breast mastectomy. During those times I just thought of doing all the things I ever wanted to do, and how it was probably too late to try them. And how, I missed all the chances because I was too comfortable with routine."
Love, messages of support poured out for Kleng
On various social media platforms, family and friends joined forces to extend a helping hand for Kleng, including elementary schoolmate lokiheart.
Still, Kleng's cancer was proving difficult to defeat.
Letting go of Kleng
Kleng's final wish was to be surrounded by the love of her family. "Few weeks before she passed away, she requested for our dad to cook some of her favourite meals. The last request we got from her was 'kami (me and my older sister) na daw bahala sa kanya (I entrust everything to you)', that was before she was intubated the day before she died."
Kleng was cremated on 28 October. In her memory, the family is willing to join support groups to raise awareness about the disease. Even if it's very painful to lose a loved one, the Hofileña family gets strength from their unshakable faith.
"It is alright to cry, to feel down, to grieve. Have faith because everything has a purpose. God is in control. We are only humans, we feel pain and suffering but we must surrender everything to Him," Christian said.