MESA, Arizona – Armless Filipino-American pilot and motivational speaker Jessica Cox's family in the Philippines was not spared from super typhoon Yolanda’s (International name: Haiyan) fury.
Cox’s great-aunt was among the thousands who lost their lives.
“Unfortunately, one of my great-aunts, she drowned. She was going down to the first floor and she drowned unfortunately so it hits close to home,” she said.
Most of her relatives live in the town of Mercedes in the municipality of Guiuan in Eastern Samar, an area that was devastated by the typhoon.
"I have been there numerous times. I was just there in February. Unfortunately, I have a feeling, that when I go back, we won’t be able to recognize the place,” she said.
Cox said that in times of crisis, Filipinos will always come together and help one another not only to survive, but to rebuild.
"Filipinos have the resilience and the capability to pull themselves back up and I will be very proud to see them recover. I want to let them know that my heart is with them," Cox said.
Cox is joining kababayans across the country in raising funds for the victims of Typhoon Yolanda, especially those with disability.
“I do want to help the disabled the best way I can and the best thing to do right now is to get the word out that we are collecting funds because Handicap International is on the ground now working to help all those victims,” she said.
Cox said she is hoping to go back to Eastern Samar in March 2014.