In observance of September as World Leukemia Awareness Month (WLAM), the EPCALM ADULT LEUKEMIA FOUNDATION of the Philippines, Inc. once again led the nation in spearheading activities to spur national awareness of the global burden of leukemia.
For the past three years, EPCALM has brought the World Leukemia Awareness Month (WLAM) observance to the fore. This was was launched in 2014 at the grand atrium of SM aura. An attractive one week lobby display was staged to show EPCALM’s mission and reason for being and what it would need to pursue its vision of providing comprehensive care for adult leukemia patients and their families. EPCALM desires to serve those in need through their 3 arms of service, Spiritual, Medical and Resource development arms.
EPCALM also envisions to build the country’s first leukemia center in the country, where patients and their families would find comfort and healing as they journey towards wholeness. For one week, the SM aura grand atrium displayed mounted photos of advocates and patients wearing orange, the color of HOPE for leukemia. Mr. Rod Nepumoceno hosted the opening night and EPCALM ambassador of goodwill, Mr. Martin Nievera claimed the stage with his songs accompanied by Marvin Querido on the piano.
Nievera has been part of EPCALM since 2013, when he offered to render a few songs of Hope during EPCALM’s UNDERSTANDING GRIEF 1, at the Henry Sy auditorium, St Luke’s Medical Center Global City. Since then Nievera has become EPCALM’s In-house singer, doing advocacy appearances and fund raising concerts.
This year, the WLAM 2016 activities kicked off on Sept 23, 2016 with a grief and healing seminar held at the EDSA SHANGRILA hotel with Pastor Hiram Gorospe Pangilinan and Bennie Lagos. This also formed part of the activities of the recently concluded ASEAN FEDERATION OF HEMATOLOGISTS, in partnership with the Philippine Society of Hematology and Blood Transfusion (PSHBT) with Dr Jose Quiteves as national president and Dr. Priscilla Caguioa as overall chair of the congress. Both Quiteves and Caguioa are EPCALM advocates. Caguioa is also a member of the EPCALM board.
Pangilinan who is married to Lolet Pangilinan and father of 3 – Chelsea, Finney and Wesley is the Senior Pastor of the Church So Blessed, with 80 churches planted in the Philippines and overseas. He shared the biblical foundation of the healing ministry. The many faces of grief was presented by Bennie Lagos and he shared insights into healthy ways of dealing with grief. Lagos who hails from Los Angeles and is a former pastor who worked with Rick Warren in Saddleback church, now resides in ManIla. He teaches relational living and mentors men and couples. He was married for 19 years until his wife passed from cancer, 15 years ago.
Charisma Mendoza-Layug, a leukemia survivor shared her inspiring journey of healing and victory over the disease since she was diagnosed 11 years ago. The participants composed of doctors, psychologists, counsellors, priests, lay ministers and EPCALM volunteers left the session hall beaming with a renewed spirit to continue to bring comfort to the sick, the grieving and the dying.
Being an organization that has to deal with the grief and separation from illness, EPCALM has in the past brought to the country experts to help Filipinos understand grief. Now, EPCALM offers counseling support as part of the services of the Spiritual arm.
And to highlight the Congress culmination, EPCALM honorary board member Martin Nievera, represented EPCALM durIng their fellowship night serenading the participants with his best songs while an AVP of his involvement with EPCALM played on the background. EPCALM founder and chair Dr. Erlyn Demerre was also given the audience to present the mission and vision of EPCALM. Demerre challenged hematologists nationwide and neighboring ASEAN nations present that night to a dynamic and productive partnership for a bigger and better EPCALM seeking to provide comprehensive care for adult leukemia patients. Thanks to Dr. Kaye Rosales, chair of socials committee for the opportunity. Dr. Rosales is a willing and passionate EPCALM volunteer for its Medical arm.
Mr. Wellington Soong, the man behind Jaguar, Land Rover, Ferrari and Maserati, generously offered to support September as World Leukemia Awareness month through the “Donate and Drive” for a cause at the Jaguar lifestyle center on Sept 24, 2016. The goal is to spread awareness that leukemia is a common cancer which imposes a great socioeconomic and health burden in our country and that timely and proper treatment increases the chance of survival.
The EPCALM Jaguar partnership for a total jaguar, Land Rover and Maserati driving experience translates to an opportunity to help and give hope to the sick and the suffering and help bring healing to all those who seek. Hence, the Donate and Drive event was also a venue opened for the healthy and able to help blood cancer victims through their generous giving.
Concert Queen Pops Fernandez and the versatile Vina Morales graced the afternoon that brought smiles to those who were bent on doing a test drive.
“This is a noble endeavor and we are happy to support” remarks Pops Fernandez. As an offshoot of her desire to help, Fernandez made EPCALM one of two beneficiaries of the upcoming concert she is producing for Vina Morales, Vina@thirty at the Kia theater.
“We will help EPCALM in any way possible and I
hope my birthday concert on October 14 will be one of the many ways we can help raise funds” says Vina. Her concert guests are Gary Valenciano, Ogie Alcasid, Daniel Padilla, Shaina Magdayao and Mr. Robin Padilla.
Convinced of the work and mission of EPCALM, concert King and EPCALM ambassador of goodwill Martin Nievera dropped by to grace the event as well. To highlight the event at the Jaguar lifestyle center attended by supporters, advocates and doctors from the St Luke’s Medical Center Global City, a short and sweet program with beautiful host Angel Aquino revealed EPCALM’s reason for being.
EPCALM president and CEO Engr. Justice Demerre welcomed the guests with an open invitation to support the growing EPCALM. EPCALM’s consistent and ever willing partner in music for healing ministry, The Chorvs Medicus, composed of talented doctors came in full force to share refreshing songs of hope that night. The event ended with a challenge from founder Dr. Erlyn Demerre to fully engage in truly helping those who need help the most. A certificate of appreciation was also given to Mr. Wellington Soong through the VP for marketing Ms Johnas Soriano.
EPCALM honorary board and staunch advocate Boy Abunda’s presence was felt through his resounding words “There comes a time in our lives that we have to make a decision to take care of our brothers and the time is now, for we are our brothers keeper”. Abunda brought home the message of what can be achieved through a collective vision of generous sharing for our sick brothers.
Carrying on the tradition of celebrating WLAM at the St. Luke’s Medical Center Global City, a lobby display was staged from September 26-28 by the St. Luke’s Department of Medicine, the Cancer Institute and its support group the Corridor of Hope.
EPCALM started as a seed planted in 2005, now it is growing to be a tree, with roots and branches reaching far and wide that many may find a home, a family, a solace and a place to find one’s expression of being towards not just success but significance.
Come and join Friends of EPCALM and be part of its growth. www.epcalm.org