Journey to wholeness
DIRECT LINE - Boy Abunda (The Philippine Star) - May 6, 2014 - 12:00am

While coronary heart disease remains the No. 1 killer worldwide and in the Philippines as well, medical science has been trying to advance research and prevention of leukemia. Some who have been inflicted with leukemia survive, some don’t. Maybe early detection is a factor in survival.

Leukemia is ranked No. 40 cause of death in the world (266,820 deaths) and No. 32 in the Philippines (2,486 total deaths) as reported in the site,

It is positively hoped that the number of surviving cases of leukemia will grow further with the help of new medical discoveries.

According to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, leukemia is a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow, the spongy center of bones where our blood cells are formed. The disease develops when blood cells produced in the bone marrow grow out of control.

One of the most active organizations espousing information and support for those dealing with leukemia is The EPCALM Adult Leukemia Foundation of the Philippines, Inc. (EPCALM). It is an organization that seeks to help people who are suffering from leukemia. It provides a holistic approach in dealing with the disease — spiritual, medical and financial. EPCALM aims to “establish and be an internationally recognized center of excellence for spiritual, physical and emotional nourishment of leukemia patients as they journey towards wholeness.”

The non-profit foundation was established by Dr. Erlyn Demerre in 2005 to honor her brother, Erwin Piedad Cabanag, a Dumaguete City fiscal who passed away at age 45 because of the disease.

This month, EPCALM, partners with United Laboratories, Inc.  (UNILAB) and Silliman University to present a series of events dubbed: DGTE  Bound — The Journey to Wholeness. It will be held on May 9 to 11 in Dumaguete City.

Dr. Demerre said, “While leukemia treatment involves chemotherapy and ultimately through Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT), healing comes through spiritual strength. We don’t give dole-outs. We journey with the patients. We immerse in their spiritual and medical needs and help them raise funds for

their treatment. We are most fortunate that Martin Nievera and friends are very supportive of our endeavor and are lending their heart and celebrity to help raise leukemia awareness and support our cause.”

Among the activities lined up are Understanding Grief 2: A Grief Management Conference on May 9 and 10, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Silliman Hall of Silliman University. Main speakers are Mel Erickson, managing director and co-founder of GriefWorks, a US-based bereavement resource. I will have a conversation with Martin on what we know about grief.

The seminar will provide added learnings for health-care providers, counselors, social and church workers as they help patients and their families process grief in their journey through leukemia.

Grace for Life: Healing thru Music, a special benefit concert headlined by Martin will be on May 9, 8 p.m. at the Luce Auditorium of Silliman University. He will be joined by Ating Pamana Choral Group, J2 MAD Praise & Worship Band, pianist Alexis V Faye B. Pal, violinist Claire Christine Uchi Gallano. Artistic and musical director is Dr. Susan Elizabeth Vista-Suarez.

The Gentle Mile: EPCALM 50K Ultra Marathon and Fun Run will be on May 11 with Rio dela Cruz, UNILAB Active Health ambassador. The ultra marathon will run 50 kilometers from Bais City Plaza to Dumaguete City.

Joining fee is P300  for 3K; P400 for 5K; and P500 for 10K distances. Proceeds will fund EPCALM projects.

Also lending support are Silliman University, Silliman University Medical Center, Bounty Agroventures, Mekeni, Zenith LRI Thera, Resorts World Manila, Manhattan Suites Inn, Florentina Homes, Metro Post, Negros Chronicle, Bai Radio, Energy FM and FilProducts Cable TV.

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