A commercial released by Coca-Cola entitled “Where Will Happiness Strike Next: The OFW Project” recently went viral, leaving those who viewed it in tears. The commercial featured three Filipinos working abroad who had not had not been able to see their family in quite some time. TV personality, designer, and blogger Daphne Oseña-Paez was one of those who stirred by this commercial. “We all cried buckets… over and over again,” she writes in a blog entry on Daphne.PH.
The story of Iloilo native Joe Marie Ballon, an OFW based in Saudi Arabia who wanted to go home before his father, Juan Ballon, lost his eyesight, moved Daphne so much that she decided to help the elder Mr. Ballon get free eye surgery. She had recently hosted the launch of the American Eye Center’s new laser machine for cataract removal, and she was impressed by the demonstration that had been done. “I figured, if Mr. Ballon’s eye problem was cataract-related, then there was no reason for him to go blind.”
Daphne used her blog, Facebook page, and Twitter account to ask everyone to help her make this dream come true. She got in touch with the American Eye Center to ask for their help. And it wasn't long before Coca-Cola got in touch with her as a result of her shoutouts. As it turned out, the AEC had already contacted the Ballons to offer their assistance. Juan was taken to the AEC on Friday morning, December 16, where, after undergoing a few exams, he underwent laser surgery to have the cataracts in his eyes removed.
When Juan Ballon first opened his eyes after his surgery, Daphne blogs that he pointed toward the glass windows where his family waited for him and said in Ilonggo, “Claro na! Kita ko na asawa ko! Ang laki na ng apo ko. (Everything’s clear! I can see my wife now! My grandson has really grown.”
Once Juan got out of surgery, he had a tearful reunion with his family. Although his son, Joe Marie, had already returned to Saudi Arabia and had previously expressed his gratitude for the help Daphne and the doctors of AEC offered through Coca-Cola, he received the good news about his father’s restored vision over the phone.
To get the full story, plus images from Juan Ballon’s cataract treatment at the AEC, visit Daphne.PH.
Scroll down to watch the Coca-Cola commercial that inspired its viewers to get help for Juan:
(Image above screencapped from YouTube, courtesy of Coca-Cola)