ALBERT Avellana of Avellana Art Gallery; Francis “Kiko” Arnaez; Mel Lerma, country manager of Estée Lauder; Malou Cortez chair of the Philippine Foundation for Breast Care Inc; Tina Fernandez of ArtInformal Gallery, Eva McGovern of Christie’s; Roselen Ocampo of Kenneth Cobonpue Showroom; and Sonja Vodusek, general manager of The Peninsula Manila PHOTOS BY KIMBERLY DELA CRUZ
Art auction to raise funds for public hospital’s breast center
Every day, a long queue of women waits outside the Breast Care Center at the East Avenue Medical Center, Quezon City. These women, all fighting breast cancer, seek comfort from each other. They exchange notes and tips, even share jokes.
It’s going to be another long day, after all. Many have been waiting in line since morning, expecting to be attended to by a team of medical professionals before nightfall.
The Breast Care Center, run by the Philippine Foundation for Breast Cancer Inc. (PFBCI), is the only advocate and support group that operates and manages a breast care center in a public hospital.
Established in 2000, when the hospital was overwhelmed with the growing number of breast cancer patients, it is a volunteer-based organization, committed and dedicated to fighting breast cancer.
Three out of every 100 Filipino women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. The Philippines has one of the highest incidences of breast cancer in the world, and one of the lowest survival rates. The low survival rate is due to poverty, insufficient financial means and lack of information.
Many women choose the Breast Cancer Clinic for its comprehensive Boobie Programs that include an awareness campaign with free breast screening, mammography, stereotactic biopsy, financial assistance, counseling, surveillance and home visits.
Depending on the doctor’s prescription, a chemotherapy session can take hours to finish. With only four chairs cramped inside the tiny clinic, two of which are uncomfortable plastic chairs, the women who come here have learned to be patient. At best, the clinic can accommodate only 40 patients a day.
The Peninsula Manila, with Estée Lauder Philippines, hopes to change all that by setting up the annual, monthlong breast cancer awareness and fund-raising campaign collectively called “The Art of Pink.” Since 2012, they have been organizing fund-raisers for PFBCI, which has in turn has been steadily rehabilitating its Breast Care Center.
Sonja Vodusek, general manager of The Peninsula Manila, said they have so far raised more than P6 million for the foundation in the last three years. This year, they hope to raise at least P4 million. Funds will go to upgrading the facilities, purchasing 20 chemo infusion chairs for the clinic and enlarging the reception area. They also hope to begin Phase 2 and 3 of the project—building a second floor and constructing a building next door to further increase the clinic’s capacity.
“The Art of Pink” is an exhibition of artworks from some of the country’s top artists beginning today, Sept. 15, until October. All pieces will be up for bidding on Oct. 1, going under the hammer of no less than Christie’s chair and international head of Asian arts Jonathan Stone.
Some of the artworks for auction include “Dance Form” V by National Artist for Visual Arts BenCab, a 30” x 22” digital print reproduction on archival paper, starting at P92,000; Kenneth Cobonpue’s handwoven wire sculpture on individually bent metal frames, “Coral Fan,” 72.71” x 44.8”, starting at P150,000; “Pretty in Pink,” artist Elmer Borlongan’s homage to the ’80s cult movie hit, a 48” x 36” x 2” acrylic-on-canvas that starts at P221,000; sculptor Impy Pilapil’s mixed media “Radiance,” standing 74” x 6” x 12” starting at P150,000; and many others.
Education and research
Reputable contemporary Philippine art galleries Artinformal, Avellana Art Gallery, Galleria Duemilla, Silverlens, The Drawing Room and Tin-aw also donated artworks for the cause.
The Peninsula Manila’s partner, Estée Lauder Co., also has an ongoing Breast Cancer Awareness (BCA) campaign devoted to education and medical research. A dollar will be donated for every social media post with the hashtag #BCAStrength. The Pink for Life Foundation also offers discounted chemotherapy treatment for patients with Stage 1 and 2 breast cancer.
“As a woman, a sister, a daughter and the general manager of an institution that has worked for nearly 40 years with various local organizations to help make a difference in the lives of Filipino people, I believe strongly in the fight against this terrible disease,” Vodusek said.
All proceeds of the auction go to PFBCI.
The Peninsula in Pink ribbon pin is available for P250 at a dedicated donation desk in The Lobby of the hotel. Restaurants will also serve Pink Belle dessert and pink pastries.
A special Art of Pink Afternoon Tea will also be available for P1,250, or from the buffet at P1,680. Pair it with a glass of champagne at P1,980 for the set, or P2,350 for the buffet. Guest who will partake of the special afternoon tea will receive the pin. Part of the proceeds for pins, dessert, pastries and afternoon tea go to the PFBCI.
P500 will also be donated to the foundation from every Pink Staycation package sold, valid for the whole of October.