When she grew she went to live with an uncle in Manila. There she met a young doctor who fell in love with the lively girl. She reciprocated and they were married.
But in the winter of 1941, when her daughter Cynthia was two years old, Joey began to lose strength and her appetite. Swellings appeared. Her anxious husband called a specialist. As gently as he could he told her the truth. "It is in an early stage, and there are promising treatments, but your child could be susceptible, so you must leave her." For hours she sat in the doctor's office praying to God for the surpassing self-control she would need for so many years in the future. Cynthia was sent to her great grandmother.
Husband & wife then began to plan their fight against the disease and against the ostracism of the dreaded leprosy. They learned she needed good medical care and rest.
There was to be neither. Three weeks later came the destruction of Pearl Harbour. Soon Japanese soldiers swaggered on Manila's streets. A contact of her husband told her the Filipino underground was sending information to General MacArthur in Australia. "Will you join us?" he asked. "I can't do big things, but every little thing helps, " Joey said. "Okay!"
Joey was permitted to bring food to starving Filipino and American prisoners. With disease advancing, she radiated courage and faith to the hollow-eyed troops, some of whom gave her information they had gleaned from talkative Japanese guards. Once a suspicious guard menaced her with a bayonet and then tugged at her braided hair. Her hair ribbon concealed a prisoner's report, but thankfully didn't slip off.
She experienced scores of close encounters but the Lord watched over all her attempts to help the underground. Once she was given a bag of "vegetables" by her husband who also belonged to the underground. She learned later that the exploding Japanese ammunition dumps had been given the "vegetable" treatment. As time passed her face became scarred and bloated and sores appeared. Many a guard stopped her as she carried on her work but shrank back at the sight of her.
At the war's end she was decorated by the US government with the Medal of Freedom with Silver Palms - the highest award for war services by a civilian. She was also presented with a medallion in recognition of "Christian fortitude and concern for fellow sufferers."
Joey Guerrero finally arrived in the the United states for successful treatment of her leprosy.
(Story from Thomas Johnson)