REP. EMMELINE AGLIPAY-VILLAR of Diwa Party List is a lupus survivor and she turned 35 on May 10, which is by coincidence also World Lupus Day. “Talagang malaki ang koneksyon sa’kin ng lupus,” she laughs.
She says she planned to launch her book, “Living Better with Lupus”, on May 10 in time for her birthday. “But hindi natuloy kasi nagkaproblema sa distribution, so sa June na lang. I’m also supposed to launch a project providing umbrellas kasi kalaban naming mga may lupus ang sikat ng araw dahil we’re photosensitive, hindi rin natuloy. So nabanggit ko sa husband ko, DPWH Sec. Mark Villar (the son of Sens. Manny and Cynthia Villar), that I’m so sad na walang mangyayaring kaganapan sa birthday ko. I didn’t know, he prepared pala this surprise birthday party for me.”
The secret bash was held at Annabel’s and Rep. Emmeline was really surprised to see the lupus patients she’s been helping to be there to greet her in person. Also present were Mr. Dioceldo Sy and his basketball players for Blackwater team, actress Patricia Javier, selected member of the press led by Manay Lolit Solis. Sec. Mark says he didn’t like to see his wife so sad so he quickly organized the surprise birthday bash for her. “I don’t usually organize surprise parties like this but I did it for my wife who I love so much,” he says.
Some lupus survivors shared their experience and struggle with the disease. Rep. Emmeline herself was diagnosed with lupus when she was 25 years old when she was a new lawyer. “I suddenly had rashes, blisters on my face and body, very painful joint pains. Important na ma-detect agad before it gets worse and destroy other organs. Lupus is a disease where the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells and tissues. Many lupus patients die without proper diagnosis and treatment, so our Help for Lupus Foundation aims to raise awareness about the disease through education, community research programs and funding Lupus research.”