With the aim of raising awareness on the disease and supporting patients and their families, Democratic Independent Workers Association (DIWA) Representative Emmeline Aglipay-Villar launched Hope For Lupus Foundation on Dec. 4 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).
Lupus is an autoimmune disease wherein the immune system attacks healthy cells and tissues. Advocating for the importance of the early detection and treatment of the disease, Aglipay-Villar tells that this is a cause close to her heart because she was diagnosed with Lupus in 2007.
“My personal experience is a testament to how early detection could have been prevented major organ damage of kidneys and blood vessels,” said Aglipay-Villar.
She emphasized that awareness of Lupus and its symptoms will allow patients to seek proper treatment at earlier stages, avert major damages and save more lives.
She also explains that there’s a lot of misconceptions and myths about Lupus because of the lack of information resulting to deaths of Lupus patients who were unable to seek proper diagnosis and treatment.
The Hope for Lupus Foundation seeks to raise awareness about the disease by providing national awareness through education, community outreach programs and funding for Lupus research in the Philippines.
“The lack of awareness on Lupus has already cost so many lives. With Hope For Lupus, no more lives would be lost due to lack of information and awareness about the disease,” says Aglipay-Villar.
The foundation’s launch featured an exhibit entitled Lupus Warriors and the musical play Mabining Mandirigma by Nicanor Tiongson in partnership with the University of the Philippines – PGH’s Rheumatology Department.
Mabining Mandirigma, a steam-punk dance musical depicting the life of the revolutionary Apolinario Mabini, was staged at the CCP after the launch. Proceeds went to the Bridging Lupus Fund for the benefit of indigent Lupus patients in PGH.
Rep. Aglipay-Villar hopes that with the foundation they would be able to establish a Lupus-free Philippines.
Hope for Lupus is a non-profit organization that fights Lupus through increasing awareness about the disease for early diagnosis and proper treatment, and by providing support to people with Lupus and their families.
Rep. Aglipay-Villar approached Melanie Cuevas and Lila Shahani, both have Lupus, and invited them to join her in fulfilling this mission. Rheumatologists, Dr. Paulo Lorenzo and Dr. Ging Racaza also volunteered to join the foundation. Sidney Salazar and Nadine Bernardino, other advocates for Lupus awareness, also offered to help in the cause. Thus, the Hope for Lupus Foundation was incorporated in November 2016.