A MAN undergoing treatment for cancer has travelled to the typhoon-hit Philippines to visit the girl he has been sponsoring for more than a decade.
Alan Campbell, from Ullswater, travelled 6,000 miles with wife, Sylvia, to meet 17-year-old Anamie in her home village of Masbate, following 12 years of corresponding and sending her money.
“The diagnosis made us think about the things we wanted to do in life,” explained Mr Campbell, 64.
“After 12 years of exchanging letters with Anamie via Plan UK, we really wanted to meet her and see first-hand how our sponsorship was helping her and her community.”
The trip came about after his diagnosis with prostate cancer last year.
Retired fire officer Mr Campbell, who is now undergoing radiotherapy, explained that the determined couple battled bad weather, cancelled flights and choppy ferry journeys to reach Masbate, eventually arriving four days later than planned.
“That’s where we finally met Anamie,” continued Mr Campbell.
“We recognised her smiling face instantly.
“Anamie welcomed us in to her home, where we spotted some of the photos we’d sent her over the years proudly displayed on the walls.”
Mr and Mrs Campbell, 63, visited the Philippines just two months after the deadly Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in the country, affecting 16.8 million people.
Anamie’s village was not in the immediate path of the typhoon, but four years previously another typhoon had destroyed her home.
“The family said they had to replace their old thatched bamboo hut with a sturdier concrete block structure and corrugated iron roof,” continued Mr Campbell.
Mrs Campbell added: “As an ex-midwife, I was pleased to see a new birthing clinic was due to open at the local health centre - and to see a boat ambulance which will be used for expectant mothers and other emergencies.”
Now the couple are urging others to sponsor a child through Plan UK, explaining that a donation of £15 per month will help provide clean water, healthcare and education in communities across Africa, Asia and Latin America.
“Sponsoring a child is a wonderful experience in itself,” added Mr Campbell. “But meeting Anamie and her family has left us feeling enriched and privileged.”