Beth Tumambeng’s Advocacy on Cancer Patients and MDH Cancer Crusaders Club
Speech of Ms. Beth Tumambeng in the MDH Cancer Crusaders Club’s 24th Annual Get-together and Christmas Party (December 4, 2011)
It all started in 1988. Young as I was I really don’t know if doing something like this will help me grow as individual. I am not a Science related graduate, but a graduate which dealt with numbers. Exploring in a different field is not that I thought of. I have other aspirations like working in a big company or going abroad. Pursue my dream academically. But, this Club changed my idealism in aiming more.
Meeting patients with different woes in life made me think of staying. Just by listening to them made me realized that this is my heart’s desire. I may not be as successful as my other classmates but the fulfillment in being with them can never be questioned.
Year after years I see you grow and live. Grow in terms of numbers and live in terms of survival. Before, I made your little kids performed before your eyes. Now, they are taller and having their own family. How time flies? Now, we are in its 24th Get-Together.
Looking back I remembered Gina Erquiga, who opens our eyes in taking notice what cancer can do to our life and what they can offer to make their lives meaningful. Another is, Gabriela Reyes who’s also in her early age was succumbing by Cancer. These two people helped me find my destiny. They were the one who touches my heart from the very beginning. They were my friends who call me in the middle of the night telling me the pain and worries of having cancer. But, they were also the one who stood up and encourage a lot of people that they are not alone. I cannot forget their smiles in their lips. Their last call saying goodbye. Tears came falling down my face, as I listened. Thank you for everything for being a friend was the last message I got from them. I never thought I am a friend to them.
I cannot also forget Ms. Joy de Castro who was brave enough to say that cancer is her best friend. I have never understood how someone could consider a dreaded disease her best friend. But now, I consider it one of the wisest statements ever uttered.
Like all true friends, cancer opens your eyes to things you would normally blind to. It strips away your mask of pride, and all the pretension you’ve built up around yourself, leaving naked with your fears and your sense of vulnerability and you’re real self. Faced with the reality of your own human weakness, you have no hesitance about kneeling humbly before the Lord, something we would not even think of doing when everything is going our way.
It’s been 24 years since the MDH CANCER CRUSADERS CLUB was established, but these people left something to be remembered for. Their courage and the realization that when you think you have reached the end and you feel you can’t go on; someone takes you by the hand, encourages you and fills your reserves of strength anew. And when you know you are not alone, you find the will to keep on going, one small step at a time. It took me sometime to discover the roses hidden among the thorns, but when I did I found them to be some of the most beautiful roses I had ever seen.
(Ms. Beth Tumambeng has been actively organizing and coordinating the MDH Cancer Crusaders Club’s activities since 1988.)