by: Lara Jane Mendoza
A group of Filipino women is using sports to raise awareness about autoimmune diseases.
O’HANA CUP, a women’s basketball 3 on 3 fundraising and awareness league, hopes to help sustain the medical expenses of a former women’s basketball athlete, Hana Erika A. Evangelista, as she fights her battle against three different autoimmune diseases.
Hana suffers from Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS), Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), and Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease (UCTD). These autoimmune diseases prompt her immune system to attack her healthy tissues, including her joints and organs, instead of targeting foreign bodies like viruses and bacteria.
But the event is more than just a fundraiser. The ultimate goal of the basketball league is to raise awareness about the different types of autoimmune diseases that affect millions of people around the world. Some of the more known autoimmune diseases are Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Type-1 Diabetes.
“If we begin to recognize autoimmune diseases as a category like we do towards cancer and heart diseases, we will accelerate the pathway to life-changing treatments and cures,” says Stephanie San Jose, O’Hana Cup event coordinator and Hana’s partner. “As I remember, Hana once told me that she wants to inspire people through basketball, especially other athletes, that despite her health condition, as long as you have that passion in you, your condition should not hinder you from doing what you love.”
O’Hana Cup will be held on the 7th of October, 2018 at the University of the Philippines, College of Human Kinetics Gymnasium, Diliman, Quezon City starting 7am until 6pm. Hundreds of people are expected to attend with one goal in mind: support a worthy cause while enjoying a sport they love.
“Honestly, at first, I thought that this fundraising event is mainly something for me; a source of financial aid for my medical needs. But as we go along, it is becoming so much more. It suddenly became one of the reasons why I get up every morning despite the atrocious symptoms, and emotional breakage that hinders me to be productive. This event gave me a purpose to build something for the future, not just for my co-athletes but for my co-fighters as well,” Hana says.
Please see link below to register: