Thessie (2nd from right) and Danilo Valdez (rightmost) join Outreach Ireland’s Vanda Brady (4th from right) and Raymond Garrett (5th from right) during an interview with Miriam O’Callaghan (center). Photo courtesy of Outreach Ireland
03 September 2018 LONDON—Thessie and Danilo Valdez, parents of murdered Filipina student Jastine Valdez, received a substantial sum from the memorial fund raised by Outreach Ireland through crowdfunding platform GoFundMe. Over 4,650 people contributed to the fund, which was setup in Jastine’s name. In addition to the donations sent by the public, a private trust donated €2,500 to the family. All subsequent donations will be transferred straight to the parents’ bank account.
“Like any other person who lit that candle, uttered a prayer, donated that Euro or simply closed their eyes and thought of Jastine and her family, I was drawn to give anything I can to help her family during this difficult time,” said Vanda Brady, a representative of Outreach Ireland. “We are truly grateful for the overwhelming response to the fundraiser from people in Ireland and all over the world. Our help to the family has always been genuine and our love and support for them is for life, not just when the cameras are on. This has pushed us even more to continue helping the community, or change someone’s life for the better in whatever way we can.”
Outreach Ireland, the non-profit organisation that raised the money, presented a detailed report of the initiative to the Philippine Embassy in London. They continue to assist the Valdez couple who are back in Ireland to start anew.
“We would like to take this opportunity to express our appreciation and gratitude for your donations in Jastine’s name,” the Valdez couple stated in handwritten letter for Outreach Ireland and all those who offered assistance. “Saying ‘Thank you’ is not enough compared to what you have done to help us. We will always feel indebted and can never repay your kindness.”
The couple requested Outreach Ireland to accompany them in an interview on RTE Radio 1’s Today with Miriam O’Callaghan on 28 August. During the interview, the couple shared the ordeal they went through following their daughter’s grisly murder. They requested the public to respect their privacy in light of their struggle to rebuild their lives.
“The Embassy commends the efforts of Outreach Ireland in rallying public support for the Valdez family,” said Ambassador Antonio Manuel Lagdameo. “Outreach Ireland’s efforts is a touching manifestation of the Philippine spirit of bayanihan and malasakit. The Embassy will continue to support Outreach Ireland in this initiative. We also continue to include the Valdez family in our prayers.”
The Valdez family hail from Aritao, Nueva Vizcaya. Thessie and Danilo have lived and worked in Ireland for the past 17 years. Jastine joined her parents in 2015 in her desire for their family to be together again. She was 24 when she was murdered.
The Jastine Valdez Memorial Fund GoFundMe page is still open to receive donations. After the interview was aired, more people have poured in their support through the page.
Those who are interested to contribute to the Jastine Valdez Memorial Fund may do so through https://ie.gofundme.com/jastine-valdez-memorial while those who have job or housing leads for Thessie and Danny may contact Outreach Ireland at firstname.lastname@example.org.