Causes to live for

PEOPLE - Joanne Rae M. Ramirez - The Philippine Star
Causes to live for
Artists in Touch are artists with a cause. The group includes Kuh Ledesma, Angeli Valenciano and Kata Inocencio.

Noble are those who die for causes they believe in. But just as admirable are those who live for their causes.

Such are the moving forces of the ICanServe Foundation and Artists in Touch — dedicated, gritty warriors of purpose.

ICanServe empowers breast cancer patients and survivors by creating programs and projects “so more lives are saved,” said ICanServe’s founding president Kara Magsanoc Alikpala during the launching of the foundation’s patient manual, “You Can Do This: A Breast Cancer Patient’s Manual,” in Makati Thursday.

“The manual is a love letter from survivors to other survivors and their caregivers and families, and one I wish I had access to back then,” said ICanServe co-founder and chairman Crisann Celdran.

On the other hand, Artists in Touch, which was founded by Orpah Marasigan, literally wants to keep the faith among those in the entertainment industry. Its movers and shakers include Kuh Ledesma, Angeli Valenciano, Chit Guerrero and Kata Inocencio.

The group is organizing the premiere of Sound of Freedom, a riveting and compelling film about a former US government agent who embarks on a daring mission to rescue children from the clutches of sex traffickers in Colombia. The premiere aims to raise awareness about human trafficking, while extending support to Wipe Every Tear, an NGO dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating trafficked women.

“By joining hands with Artists in Touch and contributing to Wipe Every Tear, individuals can play an active role in supporting trafficking survivors and creating a brighter future for them,” believes Kata.

Indeed, it takes a village to save a life, a family or to save one from the chains of inhumane acts, like sex trafficking.

Breast cancer survivors and warriors (from left) Kara Alikpala, Sandy Moran, Abbygale de Leon and Crisann Celdran at the launching of the ICanServe patient manual.


“Anything we’ve achieved, we never did alone. We did this with the help of all of you,” stressed Kara.

ICanServe’s proudest achievement, according to Kara, is Ating Dibdibin, the only one of its kind in the country. In fact, Ating Dibdibin is enshrined in a local law or ordinance, with six city partners.

“Patients are served from prevention, detection, diagnosis, treatment to survivorship care, supportive and palliative care along with patient navigation.”

Despite all the foundation’s programs, the members realized that at the end of the day, they still get a question that aims straight for their heart: “I have cancer, what do I do? May kanser po ako, saan ako makakahanap ng tulong pampinansiyal?”

“The concern is the same for the rich, middle class and for the poor,” shared Kara.

Thus, the foundation has come up with a manual called “You Can Do it” and the Filipino version, “Kaya Mo Yan,” with cancer survivor and former Binibining Pilipinas Abbygale Arenas de Leon as poster girl.

The manual brings ICanServe “back to the roots of the foundation, directly serving the individual who needs life-saving information,” said Kara.

For her and Crisann Celdran, “It’s humbling to be reminded. Especially for those of us who have been survivors for so long. We tend to forget the feeling of just being diagnosed — or maybe we want to forget.”

Kara reveals that the biggest source of anxiety in the cancer journey is the unknown.

“We created the manual so the patient and her or his family will know what to expect, kinda like the bible of pregnant women, What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” she elaborates.

“I didn’t know much about cancer or how to have it when I was diagnosed 24 years ago. Speaking with other survivors and searching online helped minimize the fear and empowered me,” shared Crisann.

Sandy Lamb Moran believes, “With breast cancer or any other illness, half the victory is in the power of a positive attitude. It’s not about ignoring the challenges but facing them head-on with grace, courage, and a belief that you can and will overcome this.”

The book’s poster girl Abbygale de Leon, cancer-free for over two years now, said she kept her eyes “on the prize” in each and every day of her battle.

(You Can Do This: A Breast Cancer Patient’s Manual is available as a free download in English and Filipino.)

The Sound of Freedom: Based on a true story, it premieres Wednesday

Artists in Touch

“Artists in Touch is a ministry of Cru Philippines, where we give as many individuals in the entertainment industry – TV, movie, music, dance, theater – an opportunity to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ; to build them up in their Christian life and train them so that they can also share Christ with, build up and train other artists eventually using their influence to reach the Philippines,” said Kata.

In an effort to help combat human trafficking against women and children, Artists in Touch organized the screening of Sound of Freedom.

In doing so, they are supporting Wipe Every Tear’s mission, which goes beyond the rescue of victims of sex trafficking.

“It is about reclaiming lives and futures. The NGO provides women with a safe haven, educational opportunities, livelihood support and, most importantly, a transformed life through faith,” Kata added. “The organization empowers survivors by providing education, shelter, livelihood opportunities, and spiritual transformation.”

Sound of Freedom was directed and co-written by Alejandro Monteverde. The film stars acclaimed actors Jim Caviezel, Mira Sorvino and Bill Camp. Caviezel portrays Tim Ballard, a former US government agent who embarks on a daring mission to rescue children from the clutches of sex traffickers in Colombia. The plot centers around Ballard’s Operation Underground Railroad — an organization committed to combating sex trafficking.

The movie, released last July in the US and produced by Angel Studios, has emerged as one of the most successful independent films in history. It grossed $182 million with a budget of $14.5 million.

(The Sound of Freedom premieres at 7 p.m. on Sept. 20 at Promenade Greenhills. For tickets, please text or call 0961-5327758.)



You may e-mail me at [email protected]. Follow me on Instagram @joanneraeramirez.

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