Filipino-in-Focus: Maria Kathrina Lopez Yarza

By , on January 15, 2014


Photo: Facebook Page of Kcat

If you can’t walk, can’t move your left arm and hand, can’t smile and can’t hear—maybe you would think that there is nothing significant you can do.

But for Maria Kathrina Lopez Yarza (Kcat for short), who is afflicted with Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2) or tumor of the nerves, life presents several wonderful opportunities.

Yes, despite the fact that her particular rare disorder brought into her life numerous complications, such as partial paralysis on the left extremities, difficulty in swallowing, facial numbness, deafness and more.

Turning point

Kcat was living a normal life until the devastating news came in 2004—she has NF2.

In her article titled “An Examined Life” published in Manila Bulletin, she said, “My world turned upside down, and everything changed. The world seemed to be moving so fast just because I was moving slow. I wanted time to stop and wait for me, but it wouldn’t. I needed to move with the world. Just because I’m sick doesn’t mean I need to continue being sick and just lie on my bed and stay at home. Life must go on.”

I was moved instantaneously the first time I read these lines. It is truly amazing how she managed to be so optimistic despite her plight.

A fountain of hope

Nothing can’t stop her.

Yeah, sure, she can’t hear, but she can talk. And she admits that she’s quite talkative.

She can’t walk, but she can still go out with her family and friends using her wheelchair.

She can’t smile, but she has the innate talent to paint smiles on others’ faces.

She can’t paint and draw, but she can still make graphic designs with her right hand.

Kcat said, “My condition was never a hindrance from doing the things I want to do. As long as I can, I would do it. Besides, life is never hopeless.”

Though there is still no cure for NF2, Kcat doesn’t lose hope that someday there will be.
But in the event that the cure won’t come in her lifetime, she said that she will live with this disease contentedly and happily.

Her fight continues

Twice a year cranial MRI/CT scan to monitor her brain tumors, physical therapies, maintenance medicines for her eyes and anti-seizure; and possible surgeries—these could be quite costly.

But the good news is she is not alone in this fight. A lot of people, including her family are joining hands to raise funds to help her continue her treatment.

She said: “We are all given a life, but that doesn’t mean we live just by breathing. I am so grateful that I have my family and friends on this journey. They are my blessings!”

Through her online store, Kcat is selling shirts and other items which she personally designed in order to fund her medical needs.

“Life goes on. I believe that every day is a miracle; every hour, every minute, every second and every breath. I have been given the chance to live, so I am choosing to live life to the fullest with all that I am and everything that I have. I always tell everyone that I CAN despite and in spite of everything that I’m going through. I did and I’m doing it now, and so can you? You can! Trust GOD.”

After being featured in various T.V. programs, Kcat said she has been receiving help from people she doesn’t know personally and this is another source of strength that fuels her to keep going.

As one of the founders of, the website of Persons with Disabilities, she wants to be an instrument in raising awareness for the plight of Pinoys with Disabilities.

After all, she is an ABLE DISABLE in every sense of the word.

You can visit her online store at