Kathrina Lopez Yarza (Kcat) can’t walk. She can’t see, hear, and talk clearly. She can’t even smile because of complications caused by a rare genetic disorder called neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2) that has left her partially paralyzed and unable to do a lot of things. Please click here to know more about Kcat and NF2.
Yet, the things she can do and does with zeal and determination will make many of us, who are able to use our facilities unhampered, realize that we’re not doing enough for ourselves and for others.
Despite her disabilities, Kcat designs products and sells them to raise funds for her continuing treatment. She maintains blogs to tell her story and to inspire others who may otherwise be disheartened by their own illnesses. She writes a weekly column titled “Kcat Can” in the Manila Bulletin where she shares stories about people she meets in her journey towards healing—mostly people who have various health issues and whom she wants to encourage, through her example, to be strong and not lose hope.
She is one of the founders of PWDPhil.com, an online advocacy dedicated to raising awareness for the plight of Pinoys with Disabilities.
In 2007, she started organizing an annual gift-giving project to spread cheer primarily to sick children at the charity wards of the Philippine General Hospital. The May-born Kcat hosted this year’s gift-giving on May 17. I read about it on Facebook just in time for me and my son Drei to be able to join a group of more than 100 volunteers during the event.
In her birthday wish list, Kcat particularly requested donations of new toys, toiletries, diapers, food items, among others. Monetary donations were used to buy other necessities. With the support of family, friends, and generous companies, she was able to collect enough goods to share with patients at several charity wards of PGH. They were individually packed in purple eco bags, ready for distribution. Purple, I heard, is her favorite color.
In color psychology, purple is associated with people who inspire others with their creative thinking and their ability to deal positively with adversity. A purple personality is a generous giver, expecting little or nothing more than friendship in return. This description fits Kcat perfectly—she with the perky purple hair and matching nail polish!
As she was being wheeled around the wards, I could only watch in awe. It’s true that not all superheroes wear capes. Some wear tiaras to accentuate their purple hair.
If you see one, that’s probably Kcat Yarza. 🙂