By: Regina Mae Parungao
Published October 17, 2018, 6:13 PM
The celebrities who support the cause are doing all they can but Justice Undersecretary Emmeline Aglipay-Villar knows increasing Lupus awareness needs all the help it can get.
In line with the advocacy is “Scarred but not Scared,” an awareness exhibit facilitated by her own Hope for Lupus Foundation. The exhibit runs until Oct. 20 at Exhibit Hall of Greenbelt 5 in Makati, and features photographs from Jose-Antonio Aliling, Bien S. Bautista, Josefino Mario de Guzman and Maria Victoria Manotok Arroyo – all members of the camera club of the Philippines.
Emmeline is wife to Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar. She was diagnosed with Lupus at age 25.
“I think through this exhibit, people will get to understand Lupus more because the photos are very relatable. They will see the scars, they will see the vulnerable side of every (Lupus) warrior,” she explained.
Apart from the exhibit, Em authored two books, “Living Better With Lupus” and “Lupus Kayang-Kaya Ko ’To,” a comprehensive guide for patients and their families.
“Lupus” is a lifelong illness wherein the body’s immune system on itself and attacks the body’s organs. This systemic disease can affect any part of the body, leading to scarring, destruction, joint pains, and deterioration of vital functions, among other known symptoms. Over 5 million people in the world have lupus, but because its symptoms mimics other ailments, there is an extreme lack of awareness and understanding about this condition. Such lack of awareness unfortunately leads to countless misdiagnoses and unnecessary deaths, which could have been prevented had more people been armed with the right information.
The Hope for Lupus Foundation, Inc., was born out of this necessity in 2016. It is a non-profit organization that aims to promote the early detection and proper treatment of lupus by increasing awareness about this mysterious condition. It also provides much-needed social support to patients and their families who are affected by the disease.
In partnership with 4 multi-awarded and acclaimed photographers – Jose Antonio T. Aliling, Bien S. Bautista, Josefino Mario De Guzman, and Maria Victoria Manotok Arroyo — The Hope for Lupus Foundation brings you, “Scarred but not Scared,” a photography exhibit that attempts to capture a glimpse of the lives of some of those who day-in and day-out continue to courageously endure their battles against lupus and claim their respective victories against its symptoms in whatever form they came. The exhibit also serves as a tribute to all our friends, relatives, and patients who have fought bravely and has since passed on.
For those who seek to understand better, may this be the start of your journey for more enlightenment. And for those who carry the same cross, we hope for this to serve as a beacon of hope that amidst all the uncertainty and pain, there is always a smile that shines from within.