Cancer survivors join fashion fundraiser to support medical mission in the Philippines

SAN FRANCISCO — Bright lights and cheers from the crowd kicked off “Fashion with a Mission 2” — a swimwear fashion show and fundraiser.

Filipina Gia Galicia of the Share+Give initiative was one of six designers whose creations were showcased.

Among the many models who walked the runway were actual cancer survivors.

“I want to give all the hope that there is to give to each and every one of you that might be in that same position that it really is about educating yourself, being the best self-advocate that you could be, asking so many questions and remembering there is so much life to live,” said Rebecca Ewing Fisher.

“I’m living proof that early detection saves lives. You catch it early you stand a really good chance. Just be aggressive. Be vigilant. Because those are your best odds. Get checked. Get mammograms. Get ultrasounds. Do everything they tell because you want to live a long, healthy life,” said Dana Richards.

Becki Ottusch was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer a year ago, and after months of chemo — she finally beat cancer.

“It hasn’t been a year since I went through treatment. It’s been less than a year so my hair is still growing back. I just hope that my own light and embracing of this darkness and also pain and finding that love and enjoying and embracing the mixture.”

The Philippine Medical Society of Northern California, or PMSNC, and the Share+Give initiative presented the event.

Proceeds will help fund the PMSNC’s next medical mission to the Philippines.

“Right now in Bacoor, Cavite we have the urban poor that are not being survived by the urban facilities,” said Carmencita Abarquez-Agcaoili.

“The society was established since 1972 and we’ve been doing medical missions since 1986. And we serve over 6,000 to 10,000 patients each time. And there’s about 150-170 volunteers,” said Ria San Valentin Calinga, president of the Philippine Medical Society of NorCal.

Some of the models were also featured in a 2020 swimsuit calendar.

Adobo Nation host and Miss Supranational 2018 first runner up, Katrina Dimaranan, was the featured model for December.

Proceeds from the calendar will benefit the Pilipino Senior Resource Center’s breast cancer support services program in San Francisco.

The fashion show also brings awareness to alopecia — a common autoimmune disorder that causes hair loss.

“A lot of people who sees a girl who doesn’t have any hair their first thought is that she has cancer. A lot of people don’t know about alopecia so for that I have a YouTube channel where I talk to a lot of people and share my story with them and model as well for an advocacy of that,” says Filipina model Cayla Harder, an alopecia advocate.

For those interested in donating to the cause, purchasing the calendar, or getting more information — you can visit shareandgive.com.

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