CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Keeping a dream alive

HONG KONG (SE): A small group gathered at the offices of the Philippine Consulate General in Admiralty on June 19 to recommit themselves to the care of their compatriot migrant workers who contract cancer or a life threatening disease in Hong Kong.

Consul general, Bernardita Catalla, and deputy consul, Alex Vallespin, witnessed the seven members of Buhay Ka Hong Kong solemnly promise to do their best to live up to the commitments and responsibilities of the group.

Buhay Ka, which roughly translates as wholeness, openness and readiness to serve, has a presence in Hong Kong alongside its bigger cousin, the Filipino Migrant Cancer Support Society (FILMCASS).

The members of the two groups  set out to accompany those who are struggling with cancer and offer them support in the event of having to return to The Philippines.

It has a representation in Isabela, with a more active one in Manila, headed by Diane Catibog and Rubi Alcantara, from the University of The Philippines.

The coordinator of Buhay Ka, Maribel Prudente, described the group as offering spiritual and moral support and walking with a patient as they continue their treatment.

Medeliza Salumy, who is currently in remission after her struggle with cancer, added that while she was recovering in Manila she met the bodies of several people who had lost their battle with the disease in Hong Kong.

She believes that part of the secret of her recovery is that throughout her ordeal she elected to remain independent and not overly reliant on others to do things for her.

On June 26, the group hosted a talk on Healthy Living, by a doctor from Manila, Marylou Catibog.

She spoke of the attitude that must be sustained in the healing process, noting that while the directives of doctors must be followed, believing in yourself and not giving up is of vital importance.

Catibog pointed out that life in a modern city is not conducive to good health, but aspects that we can control, like eating proper food and taking adequate rest, especially in the hours before midnight, are vital both to maintaining good health and recovering from an illness.

About 30 people attended the talk in which Catibog said that the resilience of the human spirit must never be underestimated.

Although Buhay Ka has remained small, keeping the group together has been the result of the strong dedication of the few to keep the dream alive.

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