I watch as he pause for a moment midway his speech. I was standing close on the side taking his photo and saw his face, suddenly overcame with shadow, I noticed he swallowed deep, trying to keep steady in front of a crowd of 30 plus people, trying to hide what he was feeling at that moment. For what looked like he was having a hard time reading his speech, little did people know he was grimacing in pain. In just a few seconds he got his composure back, smiling, while he deliver his speech as if nothing happened.
Such is the man named, Winston Maxino, a family man at his late forties, who is literally in constant pain after being diagnosed with a rare genetic disease, Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS). But despite his condition, he chose to show his sunny disposition and inspire others to be happy.
Winston narrated how as an asthmatic child, he was regularly an outcast but his persistence on trying to belong despite his condition still paid off. His scout master saw his other skills like excelling in knots or other non-physical aspects. Being diagnosed as an AS didn’t stop him from being happy, aside from wallowing in self-pity, he chose to accept his condition. But his trials didn’t end there, he received another blow in his life when his daughter was diagnosed with down syndrome. But his daughter’s frequent declaration of loving her life and the future made him realize that he has a lot to be grateful for no matter his life condition is. His body may be broken but that wouldn’t stop him from being happy as it is the choice he made. He enjoys making children laugh with his balloon knotting talents and tricks. He is also involved in helping the down syndrome society of the Philippines.