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Let’s attend ‘Pink Day@SM’

Tomorrow or Saturday, Oct. 13 I will be hosting the “Pink Day @SM” program to be held at the SM CDO Downtown mall at 10 am.

Bengie Sarmiento, a fellow breast cancer survivor, will co host the program sponsored by breast cancer awareness advocacy group Thrive CDO. I consider it an honor and privilege to host the program and big thanks to a friend Mercelita Jandayanhan-Labial who introduced me to this group.

As anyone of you who followed my account of my journey to breast cancer treatment knows, it is a life-changing experience for me. Mercelita aka Mercy is the daughter -in-law of the late regional director Ben Labial of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA).

A year ago, it was a personally crushing moment for me to be diagnosed with stage 111A breast cancer on my left breast. It made a 360 degree change in my life plan and one of the things I promised myself should I get the doctor's clearance is to join or start a breast cancer awarness advocacy group in Cagayan de Oro.

I later learned there is one such group in Thrive CDO founded by Karen Lluch, who was the Miss Cagayan de Oro titlist in 1994. She started the group after she saw a similar group while she underwent treatment for breast cancer in Cebu City.

She believed that it was the Holy Spirit that guided her to form such a group and she came home to Cagayan de Oro with a mission to do so. Lluch said she was no longer scared or ashamed when someone would stare at her with her cancer cup.

Through acceptance, she started the group on June 22, 2012 to help and empower female breast cancer survivors in Northern Mindanao. She did this through pink ribbon activities and partnerships with organizations that believed and shared in her advocacy for early breast cancer detection and treatment.

Tomorrow, a free breast checkup will be held from 1:30 pm to 4 pm starting at 10 am when the mall opens. “Pink Day @SM” will carry the theme “Emotional Wellness During, After and Beyond Breast Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment.”

Yes, my dear sisters and fellow breast cancer survivors, emotion well being should be taken cared off during the treatment period and beyond. I promised myself that I would help in spreading that message to others.

Breast cancer is treatable if detected early so treatment can start as soon as possible. Someone once said that cancer is a word, not a sentence.

During the program, two breast cancer survivors–Mars B. Guibone and Jannice Sanz of Thrive CDO—will talk on their journey to physical and emotional wellness.

It will certainly be an eye opener and one thing I like about Thrive CDO is that it is a patient-initiated and non partisan apolitical advocacy group. 

Councilor Maria Lourdes S.Gaane, a doctor by profession, will speak in her capacity as chairperson of the City Council's health committee. 

Ophelia Gumahad Paano, president of the Rotary Anns of Cagayan de Oro, will also deliver a message and formalize a partnership with Thrive CDO to promote breast cancer advocacy to the public.

For additional incentive, gifts will be distributed to mastectomy survivors and  chemotherapy patients. I am inviting all of you readers to attend the event and for breast cancer patients, please join and be encouraged as well as to encourage others to overcome the disease.

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