How father and daughter stay stronger than lifelong disabilities


Winston Maxino and daughter Brina

Winston Maxino and daughter Brina live with disabilities, yet they continue to prove that they can live life to it’s best. Through it all, they choose to be stronger for each other so they can continue to celebrate living. 

“Brina inspires me to live on and enjoy life. She is my source of strength; seeing her achieve so much despite her condition. It tells us that one’s capabilities are what will eventually define a person. Disability is no hindrance to success,” Winston opens up. 

Remarkable resilience 

The pandemic helped Winston and Brina realize the importance of patience, social connectivity and family. Brina has found a new love for Zumba dancing, while Winston is rediscovering videography, photography and some magic tricks (he was once a member of International Magicians’ Club). They also bond over movies and board games with the family. During their own time, father and daughter are busy with their respective work: Winston as a Management Consultant, and Brina as a pre-school Assistant Teacher. 

It’s remarkable how father and daughter are able to find ways to enjoy life even through tough times. You’d find it hard to believe that Winston has a rare and incurable disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis, a condition in which the spine and other areas of the body become inflamed, while Brina is living with Down Syndrome. These disabilities, however, never slowed them down. They simply know where to find the strength they need to live productively. 

“Prayers, a lot of prayers. Acceptance of my condition and having the strong belief that tomorrow will be a better day,” Winston says when asked about where he gets his strength. Brina, on the other hand, counts on her parents to get her through any difficulty. “Relax first. Then ask for help from your parents. They know what to do,” she affirms. 

Future secure 

Winston wants Brina to continue living a fulfilling life so he made sure that she is all set to cover uncertainties in the future. 

“We are doing our best to make Brina as independent as possible, both emotionally and financially. She is now gainfully employed. She has her own money to spend. We continue to build her trust fund to finance her living in the future even when we are gone,” Winston affirms. 

To add to his peace of mind, Winston takes comfort in the fact that Brina is covered with FWD Life Insurance’s two insurance products that provide her and her loved ones with life protection. At the same time, she also has the opportunity to earn from investment funds as well. This way, she can focus more on her dreams and live her life to the fullest amidst any kind of challenges. 

Stronger than disabilities 

Brina describes it best when asked what to do when faced with a difficult situation: “Always believe in yourself…Just keep on trying.” As a Special Olympics’ International Global Messenger, Brina says she also gets her confidence from the global movement’s “Athlete Oath”: ‘Let me win; but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” 

And believe, she does. At 25, Brina has achieved more than what was expected of her. She finished three college courses: certificate for General Clerical Skills, diploma for Associate in Arts, and degree for AB History. Just like her dad, she is also an inspirational speaker. She was the lone Person with Disability chosen as United Nations’ UNESCO Global Champion for Inclusive Education. She has already shaken the hand of former US President Barack Obama. She is also a model, and acted as herself in Magpakailanman’s episode, “My Beautiful Daughter: The Maxino Family Story”. 

At the rate she’s going, one may think that Brina can already rest on her laurels. The young lady, however, still has dreams to fulfill. “I would like to be an entrepreneur. I want to have my own grocery store or own my own school,” Brina shares. She further reveals that she gets her confidence from her dad, whom she also considers her best friend. 

To this day, Winston is still amazed at how much Brina has accomplished and marvels at how much more she can do. Brina admires everything her dad does andtogether they are a formidable force proving that no disability is greater than their capabilities.