You got this Boss Bill Velasco!

Word spread a couple of days ago that a good friend and former co-worker Bill Velasco was shockingly in the hospital.

It was on Tuesday, March 19, when I suddenly thought of checking in on Bill through a common friend, Nissi Icasiano. To my surprise, he immediately responded by saying that the veteran broadcaster was in the hospital.

Bill Velasco with media colleagues Sev Sarmenta, Sid Ventura, Rey Joble, Atty. Charlie Cuna, Brian Yalung, Jay Mercado, Claudia Perrine and Aristotle Garcia at the Toyota Comets reunion on September 2023.
Bill Velasco with media colleagues Sev Sarmenta, Sid Ventura, Rey Joble, Atty. Charlie Cuna, Brian Yalung, Jay Mercado, Claudia Perrine and Aristotle Garcia at the Toyota Comets reunion on September 2023.

Shocked, I immediately called up Nissi to find out what was going on. It was here when I learned that Bill had difficulty breathing since Sunday, March 17, and it was only on that same day that the 59-year-old decided to bring himself to the emergency room of a hospital in Manila.

Knowing Bill was tough as nails, I tried to call Bill. When he was not answering, I started to get worried. I sent him a message and headed home that evening.

As fate would have it, my car broke down as I was around the San Juan area. I was rushing home to grant a student an interview at the time as well.

Needing to wait for the car to get fixed, I decided to interview via my phone. During the talk, I saw Bill calling my phone but was unable to answer because I was engaged in another video call.

When it was over, I tried calling him back. Not responding, I sent a message asking him how he was.

On Wednesday morning, I got a text message from Bill that read:

“I’m in the coronary care unit. My heart rate was so high and BP so low. They had to jumpstart my heart to make it beat properly. Under observation now.”

I responded by telling him to take it easy and get some rest. I didn’t bother to message him the whole day, knowing he needed to a break and hopefully feel better.

In the evening, I asked Nissi for an update. It was here that I was shocked to find that Bill needed to undergo dialysis and that his heart was only 20% functioning. It was something I wasn’t expecting. All we could do at that point was pray. I was hoping for the best, hoping it was not a case similar to another good friend of ours, my kuya Boyet “Papa B” Sison.

Jose Javelona Sison died in April 2022 and the series of events reminded me of something similar and I was not going to allow lightning to strike twice.

On Friday, March 22, I was surprised to see my phone ringing in the afternoon. It read “Bill Velasco” so I didn’t know what to expect.

It turns out that Kei or Karyl Dela Rosa was the one calling. She gave me good updates on the condition of Bill and asked if I could help by making a news report on Bill.

Knowing Bill, I know that he put a premium on privacy. But at this critical point of his life, it was a must. I told Kei that I had been thinking of doing that the past few days but was concerned about them wanting it to be kept private. She gave me the go-signal to report about it, hoping that it can help them in raising funds to cover the medical bills of Bill which is swelling already.

A social media post was put up by Kei via Bill’s Facebook, Nissi and yours truly on Thursday, March 21.

Let's team up to help Bill Velasco

Bill is a fighter

Aside from that, Kei’s update that day was a bit relieving. She narrated how Bill underwent angioplasty and doctors found no arteries blocked. Kei however added that the veteran broadcaster’s heart was swelling and it was something that needed to be addressed.

Beyond that, Bill was responding well to dialysis, another good sign. Kei explained that It was needed to drain the fluids in his body at his current state.

Although he is sedated, it was even more relieving to hear that Bill could respond from time to time through writing. One question that he asked Kei was how long he had been in the hospital.

You got this Boss Bill Velasco

Although I got to know Bill Velasco for just several years, our friendship grew fast. We had our disagreements although that is only normal. The important thing is that we have mutual respect as professionals to keep the bond afloat.

I never expected to see myself trying to help Bill this way. I’d rather we were together having dinner or coffee anew, just like the first time we officially physically met.

For now, the immediate need of Bill is financial assistance and prayers. Those who would like to help can refer to this graphic to send aid.

Brian Yalung

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