Alagang Breastfriend Celebrates Breast Cancer Awareness Month @ St. Anthony’s
“We are always happy to come home, but what makes me even happier is to give back to the school and the parish where we shared the most exciting years of our lives,” declared H.A.R.I. Foundation (HFI) President Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo at the kickoff of the fourth Alagang Breastfriend medical mission held last October 26 in observance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month on the grounds of St. Anthony School in Singalong, Manila.
Ms. Agudo and UP-PGH Cancer Institute Chairman Dr. Jorge Ignacio, the leads of the Alagang Breastfriend program, are proud graduates of St. Anthony School.
Alagang Breastfriend (#AlagangBFF) is HFI and UP-PGH’s flagship wellness program which aims to have women in under-served communities take charge of their health by providing them access to important resources and technology that will improve their overall well-being and enable them to lead healthier, more productive lives.
Addressing the women patients from the nearby Singalong communities, Dr. Ignacio paid special tribute to mothers: “Ang nanay, mahirap palitan sa buhay ng anak. Napakalaking bagay na nandito kayo. Nandito kayo para pangalagaan ang inyong kalusugan, para sa inyong mga anak. Kayo ang pinaka-importante sa araw na ito, kaya kami bumalik (sa St. Anthony School). Maraming salamat sa pribilehiyong pagsilbihan kayo.”
The Alagang Breastfriend Mobile Diagnostic Clinic, the first of its kind in the country, is a customized Hyundai H-350 luxury van equipped with state-of-the-art mammography and breast ultrasound facilities and manned by the UP-PGH medical missions to impart relevant information about breast cancer and offer free screening to women in underprivileged communities.
Since its launch, #AlagangBFF has touched the lives of close to 200 women of various ages and backgrounds in and outside of Metro Manila and. Last June, the maiden mission was held at the UP-PGH grounds. This was followed by the Ternate, Cavite mission in July and the Barangay Gulod, Novaliches, Quezon City mission in August.
Thus far, a total of four women were diagnosed “positive” for breast cancer and are now under the care of UP PGH Cancer Institute.
St. Anthony School and parish makes for the fourth mission, serving the populous communities of Barangay 744 and Barangay 724.
Most of the women screened were first-timers in receiving comprehensive breast cancer in-formation and screening module.
According to the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development, breast cancer is a primary cause of death among Filipinas. One out of 13 Filipinas could develop breast cancer in her lifetime. Moreover, Philippine Obstetrical and Gynecological Society states that the Philippines has the greatest number of reported breast cancer cases among 197 countries.
“Our school and our parish have many challenges to overcome,” said St. Anthony School principal Azucena Inalisan, “but we are blessed by the help of alumni like Ms. Agudo and Dr. Ignacio, who give their hearts to this institution.” Ms. Inalisan also cited the St. Anthony School Alumni Association for regularly hosting medical missions like Alagang Breastfriend.
“We have come home to give a gift of wellness to our school and to the communities around it,” affirmed Ms. Agudo. “I hope more and more of our classmates discover ways of supporting our beloved school and parish.”
Apart from the free breast cancer screening and lay forum, #AlagangBFF livened up the day for its participants with a Pink Zumba session and free hair cut services care of Margaret and Charles Salon.