Last September 11, 2021, Olympic Gold Medalist Hidilyn Diaz surprised a group of Breast Cancer patient advocate leaders on the last day of the 2-day Patient Power Summit led and organized by the ICanServe Foundation Inc.
A SuperSHEro herself, Diaz related her humble beginnings, how she hurdled the battles that got in the way of her dreams with the grace and determination of a champion’s heart. Diaz emphasized, “Hindi ako sumuko. (I didn’t give up).” She said, the formula was simple “level up your game to reach your goal.” As a sports icon and an authentic leader in her field, she said the goal should always be to become a survivor and a victor.
In a gathering of cancer advocate leaders that represented 34 breast cancer patient groups from all over the country, the mission was beyond helping navigate a patient through wellness. “We continue to believe that early detection saves lives and we need to continue to make strides. But we also see the need to reach out and help each other, to share cancer resources, to work together to make an even bigger difference, to possibly come up with sustainable solutions for the breast cancer community,” Crisann Celdran, co-founder and Chairman of the ICanServe Foundation. She opened the summit with a call to the forerunners of the community to work closely together, elevate the advocacy and work towards speaking as one.
Kara Magsanoc-Alikpala, founding Chairman of the ICANSERVE Foundation, pointed out this is a unique time in the health space where one witnesses the most number of founders of cancer patient groups carving a new path. “It’s a historical moment in the cancer space, as we witness the evolution of a new frontier we call the patient movement. We’re all founders, pioneers, and first or second generation volunteers. We have to be navigators for each other, as we shape a future, free of cancer,” Alikpala said.
Cancer patient leaders in attendance belonged to organizations that were independently created, hospital based, or founded with the help of a cancer doctor or a socio civic group. Yet they all shared the same concerns from psycho social, the drastic interruption in family life, to financial, to lack of access to quality care and affordable or free cancer diagnostics, treatments, palliative and survivorship care. ICANSERVE President Nikoy de Guzman also observed they shared the same burning desire to serve, “walang survivor na hindi lumaban.”
The patient leaders vowed they will not rest nor be complacent till breast cancer is diagnosed in its early stage cancer when it’s most curable, till every patient with cancer, no matter the stage, age, income bracket, religion, ethnicity, are given quality care and a chance to be with family for longer. Till seeing the end to breast cancer.
The Patient Power Summit was made possible and successful through the help of partner brands and organizations such as Bio-ONCO, AIA Summit, In the Pink, Pfizer Philippines Foundation, Nestle, Mondelez Philippines and Skincare for Hope.
To find out more information about how you can support breast cancer advocacy, like and follow the official ICanServe Foundation Facebook Page, www.icanservefoundation.org, and ICANSERVE on Instagram and Twitter.