In October 2012, Asia America Intitiative's (AAI) Cancer Treatment Program for women and children in the Philippines began its second year of continued progress. During 2012, fifteen of the thirty original women patients were diagnosed as free of cancer after undergoing chemotherapy provided by AAI with the support of Global Giving donors.
Among the women whose lives were saved include a 51 year-old mother of two high school aged children, Lourdes Bilason. When she found out that she had breast cancer in 2011 she recalls, "I felt so hopeless and afraid that I kept on crying every night. My husband and I don't make enough salary that would allow me to afford medical treatments. There is a history of breast cancer in our family, I could not do anything to stop it."
In desperation, Loudes went to one of the oncology treatment centers that provides service to impoverished persons, which is also a partners of AAI where we provide medicines from inernational donors for no cost to patients. There she received a biopsy which confirmed she had a stage 2 cancer which required surgery and chemotherapy.
"I was crying and felt very hopeless. I was really praying and my only strength came from my family," said Mrs. Bilason
She registered in AAI's program and began to receive Tamoxifen. After one year of treatment and , she said, "I felt better and then I was diagnosed as cancer free."
Her doctors are keeping the monitoring of her condition and AAI is continuously helping her with nutritional care as she recovers from the treatment and its complications. Her advice to other women is "do not be afraid to be checked up on a regular basis because there is a medicine that can help you survive and prayer is also powerful."
"Thank you to AAI, to the kind people from Global Giving and to the wonderful doctors and nurses who helped me."
Although 15 women, including Mrs. Bilason's have overcome cancer through the AAI program. However, there are still fifteen other women in the program who are continuing their treatment. These women still need financial assistance for their treatment and to help AAI cover the cost of shipping medicines to the Philippines from the US and Europe. These women consider AAI and the Global Giving donors as their only source of hope as they are also having financial difficulties to support their families.
For instance, Mrs. Primitiva Sanchez, 53 years old with two children, was also diagnosed to have a breast cancer. She's been in treatment for 13 months. Although she's showing improvement, she's still has not completey overcome the illness.
"The Tamoxifen given by AAI has helped me to feel much better. I am very happy. Before, I was almost crying all the time. I feel so depressed. I thought I would never overcome the illness. But God has sent good people to help me with my medicines which are helping me to recover. "
As we begin the year two of the Art of Hope and Helaing Program, it is our intention tat Asia America initiative to do our best to provide the medicine to the doctors and nurses who continue to assist patients like Mrs. Sanchez to become fully healed. But we cannot do that without our donor partners from Global Giving. Pharmaceutical companies have responded by contributing close to 1 milllion dollars worth of medicines for women and children who are suffering from the life threatening illnesses. We are very grateful to them. And we humbly ask Global Giving donors to continue your generosity.