Living with lupus comes with a cocktail of pills that needs to be taken for life, rounds of medical procedures to undergo and continuous wellness checks. Management of the disease is costly, and also takes its toll on the emotional well-being of people who have to live with the chronic illness.
“The medicine that we take, that lupus patients take, have to be taken practically for our entire lives or until a cure is found. There is no cure yet,” said Justice Undersecretary Emmeline Aglipay-Villar, who was diagnosed with the chronic illness when she was 25, after experiencing a series of seemingly unrelated health issues.
The former Diwa party list representative is also one of the founders of Hope for Lupus Foundation, a nonprofit organization established in 2016 by people living with lupus to promote early detection of the disease. The foundation, which includes medical professionals, also helps patients navigate and cope with the mysterious disease by providing financial and emotional support.
Systemic lupus erythematosus, or lupus, is a chronic illness in which the immune system turns against the organs that it has mistaken to be harmful. According to Lupus Foundation of America, it can cause pain and inflammation on any part of the body. Its symptoms include a butterfly rash on the cheeks, fatigue and joint pain.
While waiting for a breakthrough in treating lupus, Hope for Lupus helps patients live with the chronic illness by providing support. They published in 2017 “Living Better with Lupus,” an important guide for lupus patients and their family members.
This year, Hope for Lupus has partnered with Gavel&Block by Salcedo Auctions to raise funds that will be used to support their projects and provide financial help to indigent patients who depend on the organization.
Tableware from French manufacturer Baccarat, handmade Persian carpets, antique furniture and crucifixes, one dating as far back as the 17th century, will go under the hammer on Oct. 16, via salcedoauctions.com.
A Cartier vintage whiskey flask, gold ear clips encrusted with heart-shaped rubies and diamonds, and vintage typewriters will also be up for bidding.
Also among the lots that will be featured during the online auction are artworks by leading Filipino visual artists. An untitled oil-on-canvas work by contemporary artist Jigger Cruz and a mixed-media work by multiawarded artist Raffy Napay will be auctioned off.
Art for life
Pieces by Filipino masters like Arturo Luz, Romulo Olazo and Onib Olmedo are also included in the online event.
Some of the lots are 100-percent donated, so all proceeds will go directly to the foundation, while some items that will be sold will give a percentage of the price to the cause.
Villar and her husband, former Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, are both art enthusiasts. This interest in visual arts gave Villar the idea to combine her two passions.
The auction, she told Lifestyle in a phone interview, could be an opportunity for art lovers and collectors to buy interesting pieces while saving the lives of people with lupus.
“People with lupus have different problems. It’s not the same for all but for me, I take so many medicines to prevent other complications. Sometimes we patients have been taking the medicines for so long it could lead to side effects that require other medicines or other treatment,” she said.
People who have been diagnosed with lupus are also immunocompromised, Villar said.
She explained that the treatment of lupus is to suppress the immune system, but it could also make them susceptible to other illnesses unrelated to the disease.
The current public health situation adds to the vulnerability of patients, Villar said. Lupus patients are always in and out of medical facilities for blood tests, medical procedures and checkups.
“We have to go to the hospital regularly so that makes us vulnerable to getting COVID-19, and the foundation tries its best to help those who got COVID-19,” she said. “We try to give them aid.”
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