(Excerpts of this blog entry came from the Chicago Tribune article “Local doctor, nurse among medical mission group killed in Philippines van crash” January 22, 2018)
On October 2014, Aurora Gagni was part of the “Adorables,” a successful fundraiser benefiting the Bayanihan Foundation Worldwide that raised funds for a waiting area for indigent patients in Calamba, Laguna. Unfortunately, on January 21, 2018, Aurora and seven other passengers were killed when the driver of their tour van in Cebu, Philippines fell asleep on the wheel. Local police said, and informed investigators that the van driver had slept only one hour the previous night. Aurora was part of a group of about 100 Filipino-American medical staff who had traveled to the Philippines for a three-day medical mission.
The Bayanihan Foundation and the Filipino American community in Chicago will miss Aurora Gagni tremendously for her generosity and big heart in helping others. In 2014, Aurora joined a group of dedicated women that called themselves “Adorables” with Eva Torres, Dr. Dorothy Anoina, and Carminda B. Aldeza. They successfully raised thousands of dollars that the foundation directed to build two hospital lobby areas in Calamba, Laguna.
Aurora and the group of doctors and nurses were traveling to the Philippines at their own expense to help the less fortunate in need of medical care. The group was traveling to the popular Kawasan Falls before medical mission work was to begin, police and family members said. Tragically, the tour van crashed in the town of Alegria in Cebu province. Seven passengers in the van including Aurora Gagni were pronounced dead upon arrival at area hospitals. Three others were listed in serious condition. Photos the police posted online show the crumpled front of the tour van smashed against the tree. The driver of the van survived and was taken into custody.
Friend Carminda Aldeza said, “Aurora loved the mission work. She just really enjoyed it. She’s just that type of person.” The Bayanihan Foundation and the Filipino American community in Chicago will sorely miss Aurora Gagni for her big heart in helping others.