Community People and Ideas

“Pangga-a sab ko” Stories: Surviving cancer brings out strength and beauty

By: - November 15, 2022

Role models are persons who serve as examples by influencing others. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry states that for many children, the most important role models are their parents. Children look up to a variety of role models to help shape how they behave in school, in relationships, or when making difficult decisions. Patiently guiding children to choose positive role models is key.  

For Kianna Chrizia Kasayan of Cordova, Cebu, one of her role models was her great grandfather who was Cordova’s first attorney and judge. As a child, she grew up admiring him for his brilliance and eloquence. Because of that, she aspired to be an exceptional lawyer too. But Kianna’s young life had an unexpected twist. While she was six years old, she experienced odd symptoms of a disease. Having bruises on her skin with recurring fever, unusual paleness, and body weakness, she was brought to a medical facility for immediate interventions. A series of laboratory tests including bone marrow aspiration were done and the results pointed to a diagnosis of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), a blood cancer in which the bone marrow produces an abnormally increased number of immature lymphocytes affecting other healthy blood cells. Even though children are commonly afflicted with this disease, advances in treatment have resulted in a good chance for a cure.

Kianna Chrizia Kasayan childhood photo while fighting cancer | Contributed Photo

When that dreaded diagnosis was pronounced, Kianna had no idea that cancer was a delicate and terrifying disease. She was too young to understand that leukemic cells in her body will make her vulnerable and frail. All of a sudden, she encountered severe pain and her life was altered profoundly. Kianna recalled, “Battling cancer was not easy. I felt that my body was burning. I had episodes of vomiting and mood swings. My food intake was also deranged and I had a hard time coping up.”

Yet despite all these seemingly insurmountable challenges, Kianna felt safe and secure by the affection lavished on her by her family especially her grandparents who nourished her with so much love since she was very young. It was her grandmother who sought help from Kapwa Ko, Mahal Ko Foundation Inc. – Cebu. The organization, which instituted the “Pangga-a Sab Ko” project to serve children with cancer patients by providing for their medical and psychosocial needs, embraced Kianna into the program. “During those moments when I was down, Kapwa Ko, Mahal Ko lifted me up. Their gifts and activities made me happy. I considered the Foundation as my second home, a family that I can turn to. They made me realize that I was not alone. They kindled in my heart the hope and will to survive,” she said.

During Kapwa’s psychosocial activities dubbed, “A Day Away from Chemotherapy,” Kianna loved the games and relished the memories of meeting new friends. She recounted, “The parties brought us to different venues. As a cancer fighter, seeing those beautiful places calmed my nerves and brought me peace of mind. Those moments made me forget that I was battling a serious disease.”

Aside from the emotional care that the Foundation bestowed on her, Kianna also appreciated the program’s medical support. She noted, “Kapwa Ko, Mahal Ko also helped us purchase the expensive medications needed for my chemotherapy. Our family does not have the means to sustain the costly expenses of my treatment.” 

On October 2011, Kianna was declared cancer-free after three years of chemotherapy. “I will not forget that day for the rest of my life. God has blessed me with a new lease on life. I can feel His love and kindness by letting me survive cancer,” she expressed.

Now 21 years old, Kianna makes the most of her life. Counting her blessings with glee, she lives contentedly and positively. “My life is full of happiness now. I don’t want to dwell on all the pain and suffering that cancer has brought me. Rather, those difficult times transformed me into a strong and beautiful person. It also empowered me to become a young woman with lofty dreams for my life,” Kianna reflected.

Kianna Chrizia Kasayan current photo | Contributed Photo

Indeed, Kianna’s beauty and elegance stood out as she was crowned as Miss Environment during the Mr. and Ms. Cordova 2019. She also bagged other special awards: Best in Talent, Ms. Photogenic, and Ms. Congeniality. 

Kianna’s wisdom, commitment to excellence and hard work propelled her to achieve high honors in her studies. During the academic year 2020-2021, she was consistently on the Dean’s List. She had also received the Academic Excellence Award for her outstanding scholarship and diligence as a Bachelor of Arts major in Political Science student at Cebu Normal University. As a graduating student, she is getting close to pursuing her dream to study in law school and become a well-respected lawyer someday. Kianna said, “By beating cancer, my life was renewed for the better. I am now resilient and full of ambitions. All the pain, trials, and struggles were just stepping stones that God laid out for me to be successful in life.” “My dream of being a lawyer comes from my earnest desire to help the poor, especially those who lack the courage and means to seek legal counsel,” she added.

Kianna’s success also made her very grateful to Kapwa Ko, Mahal Ko and its benefactors. She said, “For many years, Kapwa was there embracing me with love and instilling hope in me. I truly value your unending support that had paved the way for me to achieve my dreams. Your help was more than enough for me. I will always cherish your kindness and generosity. Thank you very much.”

This month of November, Kapwa Ko, Mahal Ko Foundation Inc. – Cebu marks its 30th year of service. For three decades, the Foundation continues to be at the forefront in developing a healthy community.

With heartfelt gratitude, KKMK-Cebu wants to thank its family of benefactors, donors, partners, volunteers, countless anonymous individuals, and members for their significant contributions in helping the Foundation spread and sustain its work. The Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI), Alpa Foundation Inc., JEG Development Corporation, SM City Cebu, International Pharmaceuticals Inc., Simon Enterprises Inc., RGMA Network Inc., CDN Digital, Chateau de Busay, and the City Government of Cebu are some of the notable institutions that propel Kapwa Ko, Mahal Ko to fulfill its objectives for the community that it serves. Truly, they have exemplified unfaltering support and boundless generosity. To all of them, we say, “Daghang salamat sa inyong padayon nga pagpangga!”

Thus, as we press on with our noble work, we encourage everyone to help advance the fight against childhood cancer. More than ever, these dear children are leaning on your kindness and benevolence for them to survive and thrive. During these uncertain times, a donation of any amount will immensely benefit the patients in their quest towards being cancer-free. 

You can be a part of the community helping end childhood cancer. As a home to almost 130 cancer survivors, the Foundation will not stop until no child dies from cancer.


Those who wish to extend help may contact Kapwa Ko, Mahal Ko Foundation Inc. – Cebu through these cellphone numbers: 0945-712-6657 or 0932-443-7135. You can also deposit donations directly to Unionbank under account name: Kapwa Ko, Mahal Ko Foundation and account number: 00-112-000066-2. Thank you very much.

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