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A prominent group of Filipino doctors and civic leaders gathered today, January 17, 2010 at Dr. Benito Calderon’s West Charleston Medical Clinic to discuss how they can further help Z “the Dream” Gorres secure a better future for him and his family after he recuperates from brain surgery.

The soft spoken and mild mannered Dr. Calderon, who is the current president of the Philippine Medical Association in Las Vegas, took upon himself and his colleagues the humane responsibility of ensuring that Z Gorres has something to live on with decency for his wife and four children whose ages are 7, 5, 3 and 6 months old.

Ms. Cielo Martinez, the former Philippine Honorary Consul General in New Orleans, whom President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo thanked as the contact person in the gulf region during the typhoon Katrina devastation before being displaced themselves, was also on board for the Z Gorres project along with her husband Dr. Roberto Martinez who is the current vice-president of the Philippine Medical Association. Ms. Martinez worked in the area of immigration policies and procedures and international business development and educator for the Philippines when she was still the Honorary Consul General in New Orleans, Louisiana. Ms. Martinez who was a known philantrophist and voted one of the top 100 most influential Filipina women in America by the Filipina Women’s Network (FNW) in 2009 showed genuine concern for Gorres’ plight that she volunteered to work the details of the fundraising with the help of Sophie, Dr. Calderon’s wife.

Ms. Cielo Martinez also was impressed by Tony Martin’s appeal for Manny Pacquiao’s assistance when he was interviewed at ABS-CBN. “I like the way you said it, it was direct to the point.”

It was agreed that a fundraising will be held at Salu-Salo Restaurant located on Jones Blvd. between Twain and Spring Mountain on Saturday, January 30, 2010 at around 6:00 in the evening. The public is invited to attend and give a donation of whatever their hearts dictate. An entertainment will be provided and other Filipino boxers might be in attendance. The group is hoping that Manny Pacquiao will find the time to attend and show his much needed concern for Z Gorres.

Top photo: Z Gorres is being surrounded by members of the planning committee for his fund raising.

Z Gorres with wife Datches and Frank Slaughter, UNLV'S Boxing Trainer, and wife.

Z Gorres gestures while Ms. Cielo Martinez and Sofie Calderon (far left), Dr. Benito Calderon (seated) and Dr. Roberto Martinez (standing) listen.

Dr. Calderon mentioned that Ronnie Nathanielsz informed him over the phone that Manny Pacquiao is planning to host a dinner fundraising with Bob Arum of Top Rank Promotions.

Z Gorres’ coming home is tentatively moved to 15th of February instead of the 4th of February to provide him sufficient time to recuperate and gain strength. “I am making sure that he is healthy and more functional when he goes home,” Dr. Calderon said. “He will begin comprehensive rehabilitation on Wednesday, January 20 under the supervision of Dr. Rica Gaerlan whose clinic is not far from mine and whose service is also free.”

“As of now there is no danger of infection but to protect Z’s head he needs to wear a helmet when he travels home to the Philippines. I might remove the staples on his head by next week as the wounds from his second operation already healed. The left side of his body is still weak but I could say that after his rehabilitation here and before he travels home he might be able to walk with the use of a walker or a cane. But, of course, he needs the airport’s wheelchair in traveling. I will accompany Z Gorres home if nobody from our group will volunteer because there should be a doctor that will ensure his health and safety.”

Gorres said he was happy and impressed when he saw the equipments at the rehabilitation clinic. “Kuya nasa tao lang kung gusto niyang gumaling agad. Sa tingin ko isa’t kalahati o dalawang buwan lang ay gagaling na ako.” (It’s in the person if he wants to recover fast. I think it will take me only 1-1/2 or 2 months to recuperate). Gorres the forever fighter he is, said with a positive attitude. “Babalik pa ako sa pagboboxing,” (I will return to boxing) he told Zen Laluna, this writer’s colleague at Balita newspaper.

Dr. Camilo Tabora who was the former president of the Philippine Medical Assocation in Las Vegas came with his wife Dr. Maiza Tabora. Dr. Tabora emphasized that Z “The Dream” Gorres may not be able to capture his dream of a world championship but to his thousands of Filipino fans in the Philippines and in America who followed his career and to those who have been touched by his miracle in fighting for his life, in their heart he is a world champion and as such should be treated and honored as a world champion.

Dr. Calderon said that he is in constant touch with some Filipino organizations like the NAFFAA, Lions of Las Vegas and the Philippine Nurses Association for assistance. “In fact, the PNA have a gathering on February 13, 2010 and they are inviting Z Gorres and Datches to drop in for few minutes,” Dr. Calderon mentioned.

Also present in the planning meeting are American Frank Slaughter, UNLV’s boxing trainer and his Filipina wife, Cora, who initiated fundraising for Z Gorres and who are responsible for ensuring that Gorres plight is covered in the local Las Vegas media. Tony Martin and world class Filipino welterweight boxer Mark Melligen, Richard Legazpi who adopted Z Gorrez and Datches in his home and Yora Velasco are also on hand.

Dr. Calderon and his colleagues are encouraging readers of and other kind-hearted individuals and civic organizations to visit on how to donate much needed help for Z Gorres and his family. He said, “Whatever in excess of what is considered enough for them will be given to University Medical Center to cover the miscellaneous hospital expenses for the second operation that ran to around $40,000.00. The amount was agreed upon just to ensure that Z Gorres’ cosmetic surgery in replacing the bone that was removed in his first brain operation push through. Of course, we were so thankful that the surgeon and the anesthesiologist’s services were free and that was an incredible help, a big help. We are hoping that Filipinos will again show to the world that we are united especially for Z “The Dream Gorres” who is in dire needs.”

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Rod Mijares.

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