Run Against Cancer: Practicing religion outside Church walls

Ok, so this is a super-late post. I was supposed to write a blog and publish it right after the Run Against Cancer but got caught up with other work-related deliverables. Sorry guys.

Let me first tell you about the Run Against Cancer event.

Run Against Cancer is a Charity Run for Indigent Cancer Patients. The event was held on 20 April 2013 at Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.

Here is an excerpt from fitness blogger Run Adobo King.

The corridor of Hope, Inc., the official cancer support group of St. Luke’s Medical Center in cooperation with different cancer support groups, invites all of us to join a very cause worthy charity fun run: the Run Against Cancer, which of course will be for the benefit of indigent cancer patients and to help spread cancer awareness and bring hope to cancer patients and their families.

A lot of great things have been said about the charity run. Various bloggers, cancer awareness advocates, the Dept of Health and even celebrities shared their experiences, stories and pictures in their social media accounts. You can also find more information in their official Facebook page

Basically, this entry is about giving credit to whom credit is due. And in today’s menu, I wish to take a small space in my blog to honor the humble people who made this Charity and Awareness Run for Cancer Patients a reality: Corridor of Hope and Huper International.

Corridor of Hope

Founded in 2006 at St. Luke’s Medical Center, Corridor of Hope is a non-profit organization run by lay people especially cancer survivors and those undergoing medical treatment to encourage one another and inspire a lot of people. It started as a small support group of cancer patients and cancer survivors along with their families, friends, doctors, nurses and caregivers. Since then, it has grown into a thriving community dedicated to promoting cancer awareness and uplifting the dignity of people living with cancer.
 
The people behind Corridor of Hope (CoH), led by its President Mr Ryan Fernandez, positively believes that cancer is not a death sentence and it can be an opportunity to lead a richer, healthier life. Their activities includes empowering members to do arts and crafts as well as forming a strong support group through hospital visitations, peer counseling, medical missions and awareness drives — the biggest of which is the Run Against Cancer.

Huper International

Legally known as Huper Events and Productions Specialist International Corp. The truth is, I don’t know much about Huper as a business entity. In  fact, it was only months before the RAC event that I learned of their existence (sorry Huper folks). Maybe that’s because their nature of business is Marketing and Promotions, which means they are the guys behind the scene of big events we know and their client base are big organizations/companies and not consumers like us. (palusot)

So when I learned that their CEO is none other than Edith Mendoza herself, the Managing Director of Musikatha and General Secretary of JIL Church Worldwide, I was totally surprised I think my jaw dropped for 10 seconds. Having had numerous chance to hear her top-of-the-lungs-passionate-preaching-with-spontaneous-worship-leading-in-between-talks-that-make-the-audience-cry signature style in various churchy events, I’ve always thought this woman is a spirituality hard-core! Hey, I’m sure I’m not the first person to ever think that, especially JIL members! (Palusot again)

So how did they earn my respect? Well, I was in the event that morning, and I witnessed firsthand how they actually touched lives, especially the cancer patients and their families.

You see, like most people, I tried to dismiss the thought of death like it doesn’t even exist, or that it happens to other people but not me or my immediate family. But I think cancer, is much worse than death. I have heard of horror stories and watched movies depicting cancer, especially the chemotheraphy scenes and the pain one has to go through while this disease slowly eats your body until your body can take no more and you die, almost always in pain. I don’t want to sound morbid here, but I guess even the most morbidly decriptive words cannot describe the ordeal these folks are going through on a daily basis. 

Running for ate

Running for ate. Photo lifted from http://www.facebook.com/RUNvsCANCER

But that morning, to be in a place full of people who actually have the dreaded disease, was somehow a liberating confrontation for me. It felt like death was looking me in the eye. But I’m no longer afraid, I have peace. That morning, I accepted that like death, cancer is real and it can happen to me, or to my family. And when I saw these people, some of them having Stage 4 cancer, some of them sitting in their wheelchairs while their family pushes them forward, running like they have never run before, I discovered that cancer is indeed not a death sentence. Although I am perfectly healthy and I thank God am cancer-free, I found strength from the very people whose strengths I thought are fading away like candles burning. They smiled, they cheered, they laughed, they roared like there’s no tomorrow… like cancer actually helped them discover their inner strength and courage.

Had it not for the organizers Corridor of Hope and Huper, there won’t be a Run Against Cancer. There won’t be an event that gathered in one place the cancer survivors, patients and their families. I wouldn’t have the chance to interact with these brave heroes who empowered me to confront my fears — and I’m sure I am not the only one who went home feeling that way.

PLIFE at its Core

As I prepared to go home, I took a final look at the organizers and volunteers while they were having their debrief, and I realized I am looking at familiar faces. These are the same people I worked with in past Church events like the KKB Youth Summit. I believe these volunteers found the true meaning of religion — outside their Church walls.

To look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (James 1:27).

They found a way to actually live out  the mission, vision and values of their Church and practice Passionate love for God, Love and Compassion for Others, Integrity, Faithfulness and Excellence — outside their Church walls, that is. I’m sure the leaders and members of Jesus Is Lord Church is very proud of what Sis Edith Mendoza has accomplished, for the greater glory of God.

With that realization, I hurriedly returned and asked when is the next advocacy event and how I can enlist myself to be a Huper volunteer.

I was accepted with open arms.

Post-script: Some of the organizers are cancer survivors, Huper’s CEO, Edith Mendoza is actually one of them.


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