Charles Edward Aguinaldo's incredible story: Leper, cancer patient, graduate

·Senior Editor
·2 min read
Charles Edward Aguinaldo, 36, finally graduated after successfully battling leprosy and cancer. (PHOTO: Charles Edward Aguinaldo Facebook page)
Charles Edward Aguinaldo, 36, finally graduated after successfully battling leprosy and cancer. (PHOTO: Charles Edward Aguinaldo Facebook page)

Twenty years after he first enrolled at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), and after successfully battling leprosy and cancer, Charles Edward Aguinaldo has finally obtained his degree.

The 36-year-old donned the UP Sablay graduation sash during the commencement exercises in August 2022, having obtained a degree in wildlife biology, according to media reports.

Aguinaldo had suffered from leprosy for five years and was later diagnosed with Stage 4B tongue cancer in 2019. He also had to endure the loss of his father and put his studies on hold in order to provide for his family.

In 2021, Aguinaldo appealed for re-admission to UPLB so that he could complete the nine units left for him to graduate. "I wasn’t able to finish my degree then because I had to work and provide for my family because of my father’s sudden passing in a car accident in 2008. I worked in a call center in Cubao while trying to continue my studies," he wrote in his letter of appeal, which he shared on Facebook.

“I am deciding to finish my degree now, because I have already achieved my goal of being able to provide for my family,” the appeal letter continued.

"I want to be able to spend the rest of my life without the regret of not being able to present a UP Diploma to my mother," he added, saying he felt like he owed her mom a degree in college for all her sacrifices taking care of him while battling cancer.

Yung mga panahong mahina ako, talagang nag lalakas-lakasan siya… kinakaya ni mama na kahit na alam kong may sakit din siya,” he said.

(Those times when I was weak, she (mother) really got stronger... mama was able to handle it even though I knew she was sick too.)

"Now that I am in remission, I want to make sure that all the remaining time I have in this world is put to good use."

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