October: Breast cancer awareness month

Breast cancer is the leading cause of death among women and has been responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths among Filipinas every year.

Mary Ann Puno, 48 years old and a mother of three, was living a charmed life until she found out that she had cancer almost three years ago. When the doctor told her about her condition, she didn’t cry. She kept quiet and tried to process the bad news. Only when she came home did she pour her heart out, alone in the bathroom, asking God to enlighten her about her predicament. Afterwards, she went to church, wearing a green slipper on one foot and a gold one on the other, with her family. Instead of sulking in a corner like how a normal person would, she told everyone about her disease and asked for prayers of healing.

She also did not intrude on the lives of her family during her bout with breast cancer. She let them sort out their own lives and feelings and deal individually with the reality of her disease. Today, after two years and eight months, Mary Ann has grown a short but beautiful mane again and no longer needs to take her medication, which was originally prescribed for a five-year period. It will take the said period to determine if she is really free from breast cancer, but that said, her life has never been as blessed as it is now. Breast cancer has taught her how to enjoy life’s simple pleasures.

Mary Ann’s story is just one of the 21 inspiring tales of breast cancer suffering and survival featured in “Everyday Warriors,” collection of images by photographer Jay Lara and interviews by writer and creative director Cathy Paras-Lara. It was turned into a coffee table book that was recently launched in an exhibit at the Rockwell Archaeology Wing. She joins director and activist Bibeth Orteza, actress Melissa de Leon Joseph, publisher Dr. Mianne Silvestre, Drs. Leny Fernandez and Ma. Soccoro Masoc Garcia, Cris Cang, Mimi Martin, Purita Manalo, Pearl Imperial, Suzette Andrews, Nora Gracia, Tan Badillo, Anita Ruiz, Whilma Corella, Marilou Hinampas, Noemi Cutinez, Apipa Paras, Sohura Dimaampao, and Lyn Simon.

The chosen beneficiary of the project is the Joy in Living Foundation, a cancer support group founded in 2003. The foundation, which began when a teacher and a fashion designer, both stricken with cancer, met through their doctor, provides psycho-social support for the cancer patients and their families. Among their numerous activities are lectures about depression, nutritional cooking, aerobic yoga, tai chi and personal retreat, and alternative treatment modalities.

Along with the Joy in Living Foundation, Mary Ann also made it her mission to help other women who are suffering from breast cancer and spread greater awareness of the disease by sharing her personal battle. She shares this message with women who are now experiencing the tough time she went through. “My sisters in cancer who are women of worth and substance; though you’ve been pained and wounded, let us use our experience to reach out and inspire and heal others and also, let us not forget, to be wounded healers for each other.”


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One Response to “October: Breast cancer awareness month”

  1. […] Random Feed wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptBreast cancer is the leading cause of death among women and has been responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths among Filipinas every year. Mary Ann Puno, 48 years old and a mother of three, was living a charmed life until she found out that she had cancer almost three years ago. When the doctor told her about her condition, she didn’t cry. She kept quiet and tried to process the bad news. Only when she came home did she pour her heart out, alone in the bathroom, asking God to enlighten h […]