An outstanding government doctor from Mabinay, Negros Oriental, who won the hearts of rural folk because of her concern for the poor people of her province, has died after a nine-month battle with a rare disease.
Dr. Chelsa Cacaldo, 53, succumbed to anaplastic thyroid cancer on January 2 at the Health Sciences Center, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, where she was brought in July for medical care.
Cacaldo, supervisor of six community primary hospitals in the hinterlands of Negros Oriental, chose to live closer to her poor patients in the mountains, shunning a comfortable career in big hospitals.
The feisty lady doctor, with a Masters in Business Administration degree from the Asian Institute of Management, was also a lay preacher of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines.
She was instrumental in the establishment of the Inapoy Community Hospital in Mabinay during the early 1990s.
For her dedication and hard work, she was awarded the Exemplary Individual Award by the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. in 2009.
Cacaldo also received the Golden Leadership national award in 2002 from the Manila-based United Group of Charities and Human Development Inc., as well as a GalingPook and Health and Management Information System or Hamis Award from the Department of Health.
Despite getting top medical care in Canada, Cacaldo gradually gave in to her illness. While in and out of consciousness, she surprised her loved ones December 17 by writing on the whiteboard by her bedside: “Dear praying friends, classmates, love ones and relatives, I am on my final preparations in meeting the Lord Jesus Christ!! Looking forward to healing my stomach and trachea. Again, see you in heaven”
Cacaldo’s remains are scheduled for cremation on Monday, and her ashes will be brought back to Negros Oriental in April.*