Giant gold ribbon at City Hall facade

A giant golden ribbon will be unveiled this week as part of City Hall’s support for the commemoration of the Childhood Cancer Day, which is celebrated every Feb. 15.

House of Hope officials last Friday said the announcement would be made Monday during the flag ceremony, which Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio is expected to lead

The giant gold ribbon will be installed in front of the facade of City Hall.

In December last year, Davao City also unveiled a giant pink ribbon to mark Breast Cancer Awareness month.

The House of Hope Foundation hosts a halfway house for poor children’s cancer patients at a facility near the Southern Philippines Medical Center. The facility hosts infants less than one year old as they await treatment at the government hospital.

It was in this facility that former Mayor Rodrigo Duterte was caught on camera avoiding attention on stage and tearing up at the sight of children in need of treatment.

Roy Lirao, who volunteers as the foundation’s secretary, said the House of Hope has around 35 patients at a time but the number constantly changes.

To help the children experience a normal life, the children’s cancer patients partner with schools like the Davao City National High School and the public school in Dumanlas. The facility served at least 300 patients since its establishment in the early 2000s.

House of Hope operations director Arlene Paredes said the foundation thrives usually from a strong community support coming from various sectors in Davao City.

However, the trouble with the patients coming into the facility are the extent of the cancers the children are experiencing in the absence of early detection and a lack of access to information about the disease.

The halfway house serves patients coming from all parts of Mindanao.

In some areas, the House of Hope has partnered with private hospitals from as far as Tagum, General Santos, Cagayan de Oro, and Bukidnon, among others, for patients who could be better served without transporting them for hours to Davao City.

The Foundation has been so successful in implementing care programs for cancer patients that the SPMC’s Cancer Institute is thinking of duplicating a similar program for its adult patients.

Dr. Felycette Martinez-Lapus, a medical oncologist at the SPMC, said that the management at the SPMC is already considering tapping the assistance of the management of House of Hope to help design a program for adult cancer patients.

Last week, the SPMC launched a new facility at the fourth floor of the Cancer Institute.

In the adult ward of the Cancer Institute, the government hospital so far counts around 130 patients of different kinds of cancers of different extents.

Meanwhile, Dr. Lapus said that most of the cases being treated at the institute are lung cancer for men (mostly smokers) and breast cancer for women.

The officials were guests at SM Lanang Premier’s Connect Science + Health and Wellness forum at the mall’s Food Hall.

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