After twenty heart-wrenching days, the biggest fan of Under-19 and University of the Philippines Footballer Daniel Gadia has been found alive and well.
On Wednesday night Annaliza Gadia was reunited with her husband, Bernanieto Gadia, and their three kids, including Daniel in the Makati Social Welfare department. Daniel is a sophomore midfielder with the Maroon Booters and played for the Philippines U19 squad in last year's AFC and AFF U19 qualifying tournaments.
The 44-year old Mrs. Gadia vanished near their home in Gatchalian Subdivision in Sucat, Parañaque on January 16. Mrs. Gadia had previously suffered a mild stroke that had rendered her speech slurred.
It appeared she went for a walk in the morning and got disorientated. According to Daniel, Makati Social Welfare workers found Annaliza on January 21 lying down near a drugstore in West Cembo in Makati in a dirty and disheveled state, apparently incoherent and unable to communicate. It seems she had not eaten in days.
Social Services took care of her for a few days while trying to get her to give her identity. Mrs. Gadia does not carry a cell phone and was apparently unable to give any information on who she was.
Meanwhile her family was frantically searching for her. The children posted a photo of their mother on Facebook, which was massively spread all over social media. Daniel's teammates in UP as well as his high school friends from San Beda in Rizal and U19 teammates all chipped in to spread the word in the hopes that some information might come in on their friend's mother.
A post on this blog about the disappearance ran on January 24 and was recommended on Facebook over 1,400 times.
Meanwhile a heartbroken Daniel continued to play for UP, who lie second in the UAAP table to Far Eastern. Just last Sunday Gadia played in the Maroon Booters' 2-0 win over UE that solidified their twice-to-beat status.
Daniel says that social workers tried to get Annaliza to give info about herself and where she might be living. Workers gave her several places in Metro Manila, and she reacted when Sampaloc, Manila was mentioned, where Annaliza was raised. Eventually a connection was made to the Juaning area in Sampaloc, near UST. Workers apparently visited Juaning, got in touch with her relatives, who relayed the news to the Gadia.
But on February 4, Annaliza was rushed to the Ospital ng Makati as her blood pressure spiked. She was given medicines and her condition stabilized.
Then the next day her family was finally reunited with Annaliza in a tearful, joyous moment at the Makati Social Welfare Department.
“Iyak lang kami ng iyak” said Daniel of the moment when the family finally came together again.
When Mrs. Gadia disappeared she was in poor health, with the children scrounging around for money to fund a CT scan and medicines. Mr. Gadia is a construction worker.
Mrs. Gadia is still a bit dazed and has difficulty speaking but recognized her immediately when she saw them, said Daniel. Doctors say she should not be allowed to eat rice at night since it will drive up her blood pressure.
Daniel Gadia is considered by many to be the hero of the Philippine U19 team in the 2013 AFC qualifiers in Jakarta, Indonesia. His last-gasp equalizer in the 2-2 draw to Laos in meant the Philippines avoided last place in their group, which included powerhouse South Korea. Gadia also has UFL Cup experience with Pachanga PLDT Home Fibr.
Gadia had this to say in his message of thanks on Facebook to all who helped in the search for his mom.
“Lagi na lang ako sinusubukan ng Panginoon. Wag kayo bibitaw sa hamon ng buhay. Kaya lagpasan lahat ng bagay basta nanalig ka sa Panginoon.”
(I am always being tested by the Lord. Don't give in to the challenges of life. You can hurdle anything as long as you trust in the Lord.”)
Follow Bob on Twitter @PassionateFanPH.