Photo exhibit tells stories of courage, hope and lupus

By      The Manila Times     November 3, 2018

Hope for Lupus Foundation has launched a photographic exhibition named “Scarred but not Scared” featuring the photographs of four multi-awarded and acclaimed photographers Jose Antonio Aliling, Bien Bautista, Josefino Mario De Guzman, and Maria Victoria Manotok Arroyo.

The exhibit, which was held at at Greenbelt 5, Makati City, brought viewers closer to ordinary Filipinos who bravely show the triumph of their fighting spirit over the hardships thrown up by the auto-immune disease called Lupus. The exhibit also served as a tribute to all the friends, relatives, and patients who have fought bravely and has since passed out.

Founder of the Hope for Lupus Foundation, Department of Justice Undersecretary, and former DIWA Party-list Representative, Emmeline Aglipay-Villar has high hopes that with continuous education and awareness on lupus, everyone could create powerful interventions in whatever form it may be. The undersecretary believed that initiatives like the exhibit could bring out a strong voice that supports the advocacy, and eventually, a society that rallies towards a world without lupus—a vision that the foundation carries.

(From left) Geraldine Zamora, Christopher De Venecia, Silliman Sy, Secretary of Public Works and Highways Mark Villar, Department of Justice Undersecretary Emmeline Aglipay-Villar, photographers Josefino Mario De Guzman, Bien Bautista and Jose Antonio Aliling. PHOTOS BY GERARD SEGUIA

Hannah Grande, diagnosed with lupus at age seven.

Trisha Duncan a student, model and host is one of the subjects for the exhibit.

Aglipay-Villar (center) with the lupus warriors.

With the aim to raise awareness, ‘Scarred not Scared,’ is a photo exhibit featuring people with lupus and their stories of courage, hope and triumph.

Lupus, a systematic disease that affects multiple parts of the body, leads to scarring, destruction, joint pains, and deterioration of vital functions, among other known symptoms. It is also wherein a person’s immune system attacks its own tissues and organs, damaging various body systems like joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart, and lungs. Hope for Lupus aims to promote the early detection and proper treatment of lupus by increasing awareness about this mysterious condition.

Undersecretary Aglipay-Villar has been diagnosed with Lupus on 2007. It took several months and numerous tests before Aglipay-Villar confirmed that she was suffering from lupus. Auto-immune diseases like lupus make patients struggle in silence and Aglipay-Villar is not an exemption. Admittedly, she also shared how difficult it is to tell somebody that she has lupus as it is often perceived as a sign of weakness and there is always the fear of judgement or discrimination. With the exhibit, it bravely manifested not just the beauty of the resilience of Filipino lupus patients, but also, make visible the gravity of the disease.

“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,” said Aglipay-Villar.