Darwin Ramos was born on December 17, 1994 in Pasay City (Philippines). He spent his early years with his poor family in a slum on P. Villanueva street. In order to help his family, Darwin became a scavenger (waste picker) in the street, with his younger sister. They spent their day going through garbage to recover plastic waste which they sold.
Unfortunately, the initial symptoms of what will later be diagnosed as Duchenne muscular dystrophy appeared. Progressively, Darwin could no longer stand and his muscles weakened. Poverty pushed the family to live on the street. His father was leaving Darwin every morning at the Libertad station to beg from passers-by who were taking pity on the boy. In spite of the terrible shame felt by Darwin, hundreds of pesos fell into his hands which he held out painfully. Darwin did not say anything as long as a sufficient portion was used to feed his brothers and sisters.
In July 2006, a group of street educators of the ANAK-Tnk Foundation (Tulay ng Kabataan), which was already regularly meeting with Darwin for few days, were able to fetch him in Quezon City. After getting acquainted with them and understanding that they could help, he entered in one of the centers run by the foundation itself to help street children.
Discovering the Catholic faith, he wanted to adhere to himself, and on December 23, 2006, he received the Sacrament of Baptism. In December 22, 2007, he received the First Communion and the Sacrament of Confirmation.
Its physical condition deteriorated progressively. Despite of it, Darwin uplifted the staff and the children at the Foundation by the way he lived with his illness. Yet he built his companions and educators with his conduct. The words he repeated often were: “Thank you” and “I love you.” He developed a deep personal relationship with Christ. Not a day passed that the young boy did not take time out to entrust himself to Jesus. He never complained and always smiled even during difficult times. He was attentive to all and showed support to the other children in their trials. When he was speaking of his illness, he did not talk about his myopathy but of he was calling it his “mission.” Darwin was growing he was learning to offer to the Lord his suffering so much to assert on one occasion that he understood that Jesus was asking him to persevere in the end, as he did.
The Darwin’s end-of-life was like a Holy Week. On September 16, 2012, his condition worsened suddenly: Darwin felt pain while breathing and was then led to hospital. Even in these moments of great suffering and despite the fact that his hour was about to come, he continued to maintain a friendly attitude, thanking everyone for the services that were being lent to him. Thursday, September 20, 2012, Darwin experienced a spiritual battle. He said: “I am fighting against the devil.” Friday, Darwin looked peaceful and had a big smile. He thanked those who had cared for him and expressed his joy in the hope of soon meeting the Lord by writing “A huge thank you” and “I am very happy.” Saturday, Darwin entered into a great silence while remaining conscious.
He died in PCMC (Philippine Children’s Medical Center, Quezon City) on Sunday, September 23, 2012.
A Cause of Beatification and Canonization is still in process in the Diocese of Cubao (Philippines).