Actress Patricia Javier celebrated her birthday last May 16, but instead of hosting a party for friends, she chose to spend it with patients afflicted with the auto-immune disease called lupus.
Patricia was with Ormoc Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez and Diwa Rep. Emmeline Aglipay-Villar, who is also the president of the Hope For Lupus (HFL) Foundation.
On that day, these kickass women led the opening of an exhibit on lupus awareness at the Glorietta mall in Makati City.
“It started when I got invited to join the surprise birthday party for Cong. Em last May 10, which also happens to be World Lupus Day,” Patricia told the Inquirer. Emmeline is also a lupus patient. “It’s the first time that I’ve heard of lupus … I realized that people should be made aware of the illness. That’s when I decided to spend my birthday by participating in a worthwhile cause such as this.”
Patricia, who’s also very much into wellness and beauty, said: “I want to share what I know with these lupus warriors in order to give them hope. It’s important to remind them that there are people out there who care for them, that God will not give challenges they cannot handle.”
Lucy, on the other hand, has been friends with Emmeline since 2010. “I didn’t even know then that she had the disease. When she asked me to open today’s event, I didn’t hesitate to say ‘yes.’ As I learned more about lupus, I realized that it’s not like a death sentence, that people can live normal lives if they get the proper treatment and care,” said the former TV host and dancer. “In a personal and professional capacity, I pledged support to Em, because looking at the symptoms now, lupus patients can be anyone, and we just don’t know they have it.”
To raise more funds, the HFL Foundation will release in June a book written by Emmeline, titled “Living Better With Lupus.” Proceeds from its sales will go to the treatment of indigent patients with lupus.
“Each chapter starts with my own experience,” said Emmeline. “All the manifestations are explained in a language that is understandable to lay people. We have other patients to talk about the manifestations that I have no experience with.
“It’s a self-help and reference book for patients and their families. All will be discussed in that book, including what to eat or whether or not using hair dye is allowed.”
“Fighting Lupus, Saving Lives: An Exhibit Tour for Lupus Awareness” will be at SM branches: Novaliches from May 29 to June 4; Sta. Mesa, July 3 to 9; Manila, July 31 to Aug. 6; East Ortigas, Sept. 4 to 10; Marikina, Sept. 18 to 24, and Angono, Oct. 2 to 8.