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Emmeline Aglipay-Villar: Inspiring life and love

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INSPIRING – Emmeline Aglipay-Villar is an inspiring person. While battling lupus, she remains highly accomplished as wife to Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, mother to one-year-old Emma Therese, lawyer, and congresswoman (representing the Party-List DIWA, Democratic Independent Worker’s Association).

And she maintains her pretty looks and positive attitude, as if having lupus (an autoimmune disease that causes swelling and a wide variety of symptoms) is a “normal” affliction like cold or fever.

Others who went through Emmeline’s medical crisis would have given up. But look at her, truly inspiring. To think that lupus is incurable, but then manageable.

LOVE STORY – Emmeline credits supportive family and friends for seeing her through the ups and downs of lupus.

The love story of Congresswoman Emmeline and Secretary Mark is one for the books, teledrama material like “Maalaala Mo Kaya” or “Magpakailanman.” Equally inspiring.

He accepted and loved her unconditionally – undergoing chemo, baldness, rashes and lesions all over her body. And even the possibility she could not bear him a child.

Against all odds, they got married and were eventually blessed with a child.

HOPE – Lupus, if discovered early enough, could be treated more effectively. In Emmeline’s case, it took years before her lupus was detected and had to undergo so many medical procedures, most of them not needed.

With that in mind, the congresswoman established Hope for Lupus Foundation, Inc., along with Melanie Cuevas and Lila Shahani (also with lupus). Dr. Paulo Lorenzo and Dr. Ging Racaza, Sidney Salazar, Nadine Bernardino offered their services to the foundation.

Their vision is a world without lupus.

AWARENESS – Emmeline says, “The lack of awareness on lupus has already cost so many lives. With Hope for Lupus, no more lives would be lost due to lack of information and awareness about the disease.”

There’s a lot’s of misconceptions and myths about lupus. In the first place, lupus is not communicable, “Di nakakahawa.”

Emmeline enumerates the mission of Hope for Lupus:
1. Increase awareness about Lupus
2. Conduct information campaigns for early diagnosis and proper treatment of lupus
3. Provide support and care to people with lupus and their families
4. Empowering people with lupus and their families
5. Facilitate coordination between primary care providers and rheumatologist to ensure that people with lupus are diagnosed early and receive proper treatments
6. Collaborating with other initiatives that fund lupus research to improve treatments for lupus and possibly finding a cure for lupus.

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