Tuesday, June 18, 2024

CAn BEAT IT: 150 STORIES OF COURAGE AND TRIUMPH

CAn BEAT IT: 150 STORIES OF COURAGE AND TRIUMPH

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I Want To Share Foundation (IWTS), a transformative institution that has been helping thousands of pediatric patients from PGH (Philippine General Hospital),  recently held its “CAn Beat It” Graduation Ceremony, a heartfelt celebration of resilience, courage, and triumph over the childrens’ battle over cancer.   Held at the Manila Prince Hotel, one of the foundation’s supporters, the annual event marks the third installment of honoring young cancer survivors who have completed their chemotherapy treatments.

Every year, hundreds of children in the Philippines face the challenges of cancer treatment.  Despite the obstacles, their unwavering determination and fighting spirit shine through.   Like a usual graduation, the milestone ceremony is a testament to the recovering patients’ bravery and serves as a beacon of hope for those currently battling cancer.

This 2024, the ceremony welcomed additional 150 child graduates who have survived acute lymphoblastic leukemia, brain tumors, lymphoma, osteosarcoma, retinoblastoma and other cancer diagnoses.  Each graduate was garbed in traditional graduation attire and were awarded with certificates which symbolized their incredible achievement.

“CAn Beat It” not only celebrates the individual victories of pediatric cancer survivors but also embodies the collective hope for a future where children can enjoy the simple joys of life without the burden of illness and a renewed future filled with endless possibilities.

“Through it all, you, our esteemed graduates, have remained steadfast in your determination to overcome.  Your journey is a testament to the power of the human spirit,” said Sheila Romero, Founder and Chairwoman of IWTS.   During the momentous occasion, Romero also honored the patients’ families who have served as pillars of strength, love, and unwavering support.

 

She further added, “We are thrilled to celebrate the remarkable journey of these young cancer warriors.  As they embark on the next chapter of their lives, it is important to remember to maintain a healthy lifestyle and be consistent in their follow-up appointments,” 

 

Romero is a survivor herself, her bout with cancer has been pivotal in her devotion to the cause.  She reminded the graduates and their families that, “You still have to be observed for the next 10 years.  A lot of patients get better but do not return anymore that is why when relapse happens, it is already difficult to cure.  The PGH is there to help as well as the upcoming Helpline that will be established by IWTS so that you can fight cancer as well as provide support in the continuing journey of the cancer patients.”

Last year, the IWTS held a charity gala and was able to raise P19M for the establishment of the Childhood Cancer Helpline, aimed to increase the country’s cancer survival rate from 30% to at least 60% through a navigation system which can help in early childhood cancer detection and intervention.  In the said gala, the IWTS also sought financial assistance for the construction of two specialized rooms at the Bone Marrow Transplant Center in PGH as well as support for the state-owned hospital’s Pediatrics Hematology Oncology. 

 

The Childhood Cancer Helpline is aimed to support the Philippines’ initiative to mitigate delayed detection, partial diagnosis and treatment discontinuation. For the past few years, the country has made significant progress as a result of the tireless efforts from health advocates both within the public and private sectors.  Public awareness on childhood cancer has led to mobilization programs as well as reduction of late diagnosis from 70% to 30%,  and decrease in treatment abandonment rate from 80% to 10% .  In 2019, the passage of the National Integrated Cancer Control Act (NICCA) and the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Act has driven efforts to provide quality care and reduce the burden on affected populations. 

 

Other notable projects of IWTS include the construction of a 10-bedroom pedia ward in PGH which pediatric patients use before their surgery as well as the renovation of another extension at the Pediatric Cancer Wing.  

 

Her Excellency Constance See Sin Yuan, Ambassador of Singapore, was the keynote speaker during the event.  IWTS endeavors to enlist more donors in the future, which includes generous hearts from Singapore.

The commencement exercise was capped off with a memorable performance by renowned singer and songwriter Mr. Gary Valenciano.   The prolific performer’s inspirational songs uplifted the spirits of the young cancer warriors as he shared with everyone his personal testimony while battling the Big C.   Valenciano’s message of strength and resilience left everyone inspired that there is always hope in every situation.

For more details and to follow the campaign, like and follow I Want to Share Foundation (@iwanttosharefoundation) across all social media platforms.

 

 

 

 

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The I Want To Share Foundation is a charity organization dedicated to advocating for early child cancer detection and treatment. Through various initiatives and partnerships, the foundation aims to provide support, resources, and hope to children and families affected by pediatric cancer.