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The San Juan City local government celebrated this year’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month by launching various programs and seminars aiming to increase the awareness of the public about the disease, according to a report by Manila Bulletin.

On Tuesday, Oct. 18, San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora, together with his wife Keri, Congresswoman Bel Zamora, and other city government officials and medical organizations in the city held a breast cancer screening program and forum dubbed “Ating Dibdibin, Breast Cancer Agapan Natin”.

They also conducted a breast cancer survivorship forum to provide information about how to handle the physical, emotional and mental effects of cancer after treatment.

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The forum was organized by the Caring Keri Foundation founded by Keri, who is also a Stage-3A breast cancer survivor.

The survivorship forum held at the San Juan City Hall was attended by San Juaneño cancer patients and caregivers.

Keri created the Caring Keri Foundation in 2019 to facilitate several family-oriented activities that focus on women’s health, the well-being of teenagers, and protection of the rights of women and children.

The foundation regularly holds programs on nutrition, free medical screenings such as pap smears, mammograms, and ultrasounds, mental health programs, medical procedures, and many others.

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In a previous interview with Manila Bulletin (MB), Keri shared what she went through during her ordeal with breast cancer. She revealed that the most difficult thing for her was hearing the diagnosis.

“The second was losing my hair, since I really loved my hair. Lastly, the chemo treatments really left me tired, nauseated, and weak. But I still made it a point to get on my treadmill daily and walk on it for at least 10 minutes. I ate healthy, and I prayed a lot,” Keri said.

“Praying the rosary really helped me with my anxiety. When things are beyond your control, the only person you can ask for help and to rely on is God,” she added.

The Mayor’s wife also noted the importance of having the right people to support her through her journey against the dreaded sickness, saying “Finding people who have experienced the same cancer trauma and bonding with them have really helped me stay positive.”

In Mayor Zamora’s MB Hot Seat interview prior the 2022 national and local elections, he also shared how their family was coping after Keri’s diagnosis, treatment, and recovery from breast cancer.

“Three years out na s’ya from cancer but again, the reality with cancer is you can never say it’s over. Kaya nga minsan hindi naiintindihan ng tao na wala namang cure ang cancer. Pero kailangan ipagdasal mo na sana di na ‘yun babalik (She’s three years out from cancer already, but again, the reality with cancer is you can never say it’s over. That’s why some people do not understand that cancer really has no cure, hence the need for you to always pray and hope that it will not return),” Zamora said.

“Some people survive all the way till the end and unfortunately, some people have to face a recurrence. We are praying hard na sana wag ‘yun mangyare samin. Pero at the same time, we also understand that as a way of thanking God for the blessing of life for her, ito ‘yung binabalik din namin sa community na makatulong s’ya sa mga taong dumadaan din sa ganitong klaseng sakit (Some people survive all the way till the end and unfortunately, some people have to face a recurrence. We are praying hard, hoping that it will not happen to us. At the same time, we also understand that as a way of thanking God for the blessing of life for her, this is what we want to give to the community. She wants to help those who are also going through the same sickness),” he added.

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