The pain of losing a parent to cancer is unbearable but if there is one way to cope with it, actress Bianca Umali thinks that it would be to raise awareness against the deadly disease to save other sons or daughters like her from going through the same harrowing experience.
On Thursday, Oct. 5, the 23-year-old actress took part in an event for breast cancer awareness, while also honoring her late mom who succumbed to the disease when she was a little girl.
“I lost my Mom to breast cancer when I was 5 years old. I saw her very weak, unable to speak properly, losing all of her hair - slowly deteriorating,” the actress began, sharing how she was prohibited from going near her mom at the time.
“I remember feeling hurt because in my head, ‘Mommy doesn't love me anymore.’ I did not understand everyone, I did not understand her, I did not understand cancer,” she added.
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Bianca shared that they found out about her mom’s disease when it was already in its third stage. “I recall people saying it was too late. We were prepared to lose all of our possessions just to save her. The whole family was in pain. I would watch everyone cry but not understanding why,” she said.
The Write One star recalled how she was “deeply hurt” for years, sharing how she felt “robbed of precious moments with [her] mom.”
“She was in unimaginable pain and felt so much fear,” she lamented.
Over the years, Bianca shared how she eventually found the answers to her “why's,” realizing that her mom simply didn’t want her to see her in such a devastating state.
“I do not want another little girl or another woman to lose her mother to breast cancer or to go through the disease herself without any knowledge, awareness and hope,” the actress said, adding that she planned a breast cancer awareness campaign since 2017, and finally made it happen on Oct. 3.
“Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide, and early detection is key to improving survival rates,” adding the importance of educating everyone about its symptoms, screening, and treatment processes.
“Early detection saves lives. You are not alone in this fight,” she stressed.
“Mommy, this is how I honor you. This one is for you,” she concluded her post.
Fellow celebrities, including Miles Ocampo, Vicki Belo, Iza Calzado, and her beau Ruru Madrid, showered Bianca with messages of support and comfort.
“[I’m] so proud of you my love,” Ruru wrote. “Your mother is certainly proud of you,” Iza commented.
Vicki, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016 also shared her own journey: “Bianca thank you for turning your pain into an advocacy that helps other women [and] their children. I too, was diagnosed [with] stage 3 breast cancer [in] 2016 but with God’s grace and modern science I survived and even thrived.”
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Five years after losing her mom, Bianca lost her dad due to a heart attack. Since then, she was raised by her grandmother Vicky.
Bianca is known for her roles in the Filipino drama series Kambal Karibal, Legal Wives, and Mano Po Legacy.