A newspaper in Xiamen, China commended Gladys O. Perey, a staff member at the Philippine Consulate General in the Fujian province, for her “unsolicited kindness” in helping a paralyzed Chinese gentleman towards recovery.
Philippine Consul General in Xiamen Emelinda Lee-Pineda described Perey’s kindness as “diplomacy at its best.”
In an article entitled “Helping, healing hands” published on its 6 December 2006 issue, the Common Talk Weekly said Perey, a foreign service staff employee III at the consulate, voluntarily began a massage therapy in August 2006 to help a neighbor, Mr. Shen Zaiwen, who suffered from hemiplegia.
The ailment paralyzed the left side of his body and after three months of Perey’s assistance, Mr. Shen was able to walk again.
Prior to the massage therapy, Mr. Shen was in the Zhongshan Hospital for a month and was diagnosed with thrombus, a condition where blood clots clogged his blood vessels.
He was discharged from the hospital in such condition “so bad he could not walk nor talk.”
He was confined to his bed and a wheelchair. His left eye was partially closed.
“Every time I passed his house I made it a point of saying ‘hi’,” remarked Perey, who lives in the same apartment complex as Shen, near the Xiamen Blood Center.
She felt compassion towards the Shen’s family who could not afford to pay a professional therapist.
“Since I can not help them financially, I volunteered to massage him, and I was glad to see him improving,” she stated.
Perey learned massage therapy at a young age from her mother, a skill passed on from the latter’s own father.
In her spare time, Perey gave head-to-toe massages for one to two hours.
Despite the language barrier, as Shen speaks Minnanhua and can only speak a little Mandarin, Perey ministered the massages, hoping to see Mr. Shen walking again.
“My heart went out to him. Hopefully once he is recovered, I can also help others,” she said.
Mr. Shen and his family saw hope for his recovery as they witnessed gradual improvements in his health, especially in his blood circulation.
Using a walking stick given by Perey, he was able to walk unaided 400 meters at a time.
“Our gratitude to Ms. Perey is beyond words. When she offered her generous help at the beginning, we were very grateful.
However, we thought she might only come here for a few times and we had never imagined a miracle like seeing my brother walk again,” Shen’s brother said.
Mr. Shen’s doctors were amazed by his fast recovery. “Gladys has really touched the family with her perseverance and generosity,” the Common Talk Weekly noted.
Perey, however, attributes the partial recovery to Shen’s strong willpower.
“If a person has the desire, belief and hope to regain his health, that can really impact the situation. I believe in God and maybe God is using me as an instrument to help him be healed,” she said.
With the sincerity and genuine concern demonstrated by the Consulate staffer, Consul General Lee-Pineda recommended Perey for a special citation by the Department of Foreign Affairs.
“To say that Miss Perey is an asset to the Foreign Service is an understatement,” the official remarked.