Racing for Life

Racing for Life

Asia’s fastest woman Lydia De Vega ( photo courtesy)

Whether you’re a mother or father, or a husband or a son, or a niece or nephew or uncle, breast cancer doesn’t discriminate.

— WWE interim chief executive Stephanie McMahon

CALOOCAN CITY, METRO MANILA — It was a shock when we heard about our very own sprint queen—track-and-field legend Lydia De Vega-Mercado—stricken with breast cancer. We were deeply saddened that such is the case with Diay, whom we saw as a young girl who ran like the wind and gave our country numerous honors as Asia’s fastest woman.

And now she is racing still—racing for her life as she battles Stage 4 Breast Cancer.

Based on a post by Diay’s daughter, volleyball standout Stephanie ‘Paneng’ Mercado-De Koenigswater, her mother “is in very critical condition.’

The sprint queen’s family is now asking the public for prayers and donations as the retired athlete once dubbed Asia’s fastest woman continues to fight the disease that has rendered her bed-ridden in the past months.

“She was diagnosed (with breast cancer) in 2018 and had been silently fighting the disease for the past four years,” Mercado-De Koenigswarter said of her 57-year-old mom.

“As the disease progresses, her condition is quickly worsening despite undergoing many procedures including brain surgery,” she added.

Breast cancer is a serious disease that affects millions of people and their loved ones each year—in fact, it’s the second most common type of cancer in women after skin cancer.

Unfortunately, although there are many ways it can be treated, breast cancer is incurable and scientists aren’t exactly sure how to prevent people from developing it in the first place. In an effort to better understand this disease and how it can be cured, both individuals and nonprofit organizations like the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and have taken it upon themselves to earn money for breast cancer research.

Fundraising events, such as walks and fun runs, have become a common way to raise awareness about this issue and financially support the people and families who have been affected by this disease. People often sell or give away fun items at these events to raise money or awareness. Customizable gel pens, promotional apparel, and even reusable bags adorned with different slogans, sayings, and quotes related to breast cancer are a great way to generate interest in this issue both at the event itself and long after, as attendees can bring these items home for further use.

Here, roughly three in every 100 Filipinas and thousands of men will develop breast cancer at some point in their lives. Of the millions of people who have had this disease, many have taken the time to share their thoughts and insights with the world. Individuals who are currently dealing with breast cancer, as well as their loved ones can take comfort and find inspiration from others’ experiences.

Quotes can be a powerful communication tool, but they may not be the right option for your breast cancer event or promotional items. A short saying about breast cancer can be a simple way to convey a compelling message that touches others and makes your event all the more memorable.

For those who fear the disease, baseball star Robin Robert says “(cancer) about focusing on the fight and not the fright.” To this, singer-songwriter Olivia Newton-John agrees, saying victims of cancer should “fight each round and take it on the chin . . . and never, never, never ever give in/”

But according to United States Department of Health first assistant secretary Jane Cook, “breast cancer changes (people) and the change can be beautiful,” something that Melissa Etheridge, another singer-songwriter, experienced but triumphed over: “Once I overcame breast cancer, I wasn’t afraid of anything anymore.”

On a positive note, Mandi Hudson—herself a cancer victim—advises that “joy shouldn’t go away because you have (the disease).”

“Keep your sunny side up, keep yourself beautiful, and indulge yourself!” fashion designer Betsey Johnson adds.

In a way, these erudite words give us an idea of how we should look at the disease and how we should fight it.

And so, let me end with a reminder from Hollywood actress Cynthia Ellen Nixon that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself . . . so the only thing to really be afraid of is if you don’t go get your mammograms.”

FOR your comments or suggestions, complaints or requests, just send a message through my email or text me at cellphone numbers 09054292382 for Globe subscribers and 09391252568 for Smart. Thank you and Mabuhay!

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