The breast cancer research stamp
Last week, Jocelyn Yu Hall, a Cebuana breast cancer survivor based in California, met with me through a common friend, Dr. Hope Yu, the new director of the Cebuano Studies Center based in the University of San Carlos. Jocelyn wanted to discuss the possibility of lobbying with the Philippine government for the issuance of a Breast Cancer Research Stamp (BCRS). The stamp was first introduced in the United States in 1998 after Dr. Balazs Bodai successfully lobbied for two years with the United States Congress to have it issued. Dr. Bodai, a Hungarian-American who happens to be Jocelyn’s cancer surgeon, heads the Breast Surgical Services at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Sacramento, California.
Today, the postal authorities of 16 other countries have issued the stamp, bearing the same design provided free of charge by Dr. Bodai.
Twenty other countries are also mulling over the possibility of following suit. This is no ordinary stamp. When you purchase it, a surcharge is added that goes into cancer research for the country that issues it. To date, about 950 million stamps valued at $75 million have been sold in the US, providing funds for further research into preventing and curing breast cancer.
This is the first-ever fund-raising stamp to be issued in the US. It is akin to the Anti-Tuberculosis (or Anti-TB) surcharged stamps that the Philippine Post, forerunner of today’s Philippine Postal Corp., used to issue in the 1950s.
November is Stamp Collecting Month and I would like to take this opportunity to issue this call for help in getting this stamp issued to help fund cancer research in the Philippines. What better way to do this than to address two groups: fellow stamp collectors or philatelists and those who have survived breast cancer or any cancer for that matter.
Thankfully, I do not have breast cancer although a significant percent of those who have it are males. And I do not pretend to represent cancer survivors, which is why I hope those who read this will help me to locate those among the cancer survivors who can help me and Jocelyn as well as Dr. Bodai get this stamp into the drawing board of Philpost. I have begun making inquiries but it will really be a tremendous boost if more breast cancer survivors not just in Cebu but all over the country can pitch in.
In a country where very little research or none at all is done on breast cancer among Filipinos, I believe it is time to find novel ways to raise such funds and do our own share in contributing to developing a vaccine and a cure for breast as well as other cancers. Perhaps through this stamp, which admittedly will cost slightly more than the regular definitive issuances of Philpost, money to do these things can be raised.
I was told by Jocelyn that Singapore Post is keenly interested in the stamp and might even sponsor the call for its issuance by all countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. In order to speed this up, please help me raise awareness and lobby with Congress to allow this surcharged stamp to see the light of day for the Philippines. Before leaving back for the US, Jocelyn has kindly left me with pertinent documents to help in this endeavor. If anyone of you is interested in helping this cause, please do not hesitate to e-mail me.
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With the moratorium on flyovers in place, perhaps it is time to revisit the ones that are now standing and being used by motorists. Cebu is probably the only place in the world with pot-holed flyovers.
Before these flyovers become a tourist attraction due to this distinction, I hope the Department of Public Works and Highways will find it prudent to repair and maintain them, especially the one near Asiatown-IT Park, where canal-like troughs are causing problems to car axles near the approach going north.
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