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Valenzuela unveils mural depicting fallen hero, Dra. Kharen Abat-Senen

VALENZUELA City officials led by District 2 Rep. Eric Martinez and Mayor Rex Gatchalian led the unveiling of a mural dedicated to their fallen hero – Dra. Kathlynne Anne ‘Kharen’ Abat-Senen – who died from COVID-19 last August 23 while serving as a frontliner at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH).

Displayed along Gen. T. de Leon Street, Bgy. Gen. T. De Leon, the mural, which depicted her, would serve as a constant reminder of Dra. Abat-Senen’s love and care to her husband and children as well as to the people not only in Valenzuela where she served as the city’s first neonatologist but to others being one of the leading PGH’s frontliners, Martinez said.

During a program held September 13, city and barangay officials as well as her family and friends paid tribute to Dra. Kharen who inspired many for her dedication as a medical frontliner who diligently served to treat Covid-19 patients unmindful of the risk until she tested positive herself for the second time and lost her own battle.

The city government was first to give tribute to her through a Sangguniang Panlunsod’s recognition aside from financial assistance to her family, according to Gatchalian who expressed his gratitude to Dra. Kharen, a long-time city resident, as well as to other frontliners who are tirelessly fighting in these trying times.

Also a consultant at the Valenzuela Medical Center being an infectious disease expert, Dra. Kharen was also one of the doctors back in 2016 that attended to ’Baby Jade,’ a newly-born infant found on a trash bin in Barangay Marulas who later died after two-week coma due oxygen deprivation. The mother, who dumped ‘Baby Jade,’ is serving a life sentence since 2017.

After being first tested positive for COVID- 19 in June and discharged later after testing negative, Dra. Kharen, used to be a member of the UPM Community and the UP Chorale, even went viral when she rendered a song to bring inspiration to many especially those battling the deadly disease.

“After being exposed to COVID-19, she became a solid reminder that a true hero can still sing despite the pain and risk by the virus. Her beautiful angelic voice that was enough to silence the nation in this glooming pandemic, captured just few days before she experienced worse symptoms, became a beacon of hope to those who were both suffering and recovering from the virus,” said Martinez who initiated the mural and tribute.

Martinez likened Dra. Kharen to the local hero, Dr. Pio, whose name was given to the city of Valenzuela, who was also a doctor.

A tribute to the fallen hero may never be enough to give thanks for her admirable service worthy of heroic recognition but this can be a reminder that a true hero may never be silenced by an unseen villain or an unclear virus, the Valenzuela lawmaker said.

“There should be a ‘Kharen’ in all of us, a ‘Kharen’ with an undying heart of a true hero and her seamless courage to provide care and to serve,” Martinez said.