Justine Felizarta Talks About Breast Cancer and the Mental Health Stigma
Breast and cervical cancer are among the leading causes of deaths of women around the globe. Miss World Philippines Tourism 2022 Justine Felizarta shares with Showbiz Beat Media exclusively the reason behind her advocacy and her thoughts regarding breast cancer awareness month.
It’s Justine’s third time joining the competition so she admitted that it was such a relief when her name was finally called. “And, for me to have that hard work show on stage and to just give it to my fans’ supporters, and family, it was a very magical moment for me…something that I’ll never forget. So, I’m happy that they’re able to take decent photos kasi after, I was crying a lot already,” she recalled.
Justine admitted that she had her misgivings at first when joining for the second time. But, thankfully, she was reassured by fellow beauty queens who also joined the same pageant multiple times. Aside from breast cancer awareness, her main advocacy is to advance overseas Filipino workers’ rights because she can relate to their plight.
She and her parents had to move to Canada when she was just 6 years old. It was a 360 degree shift for her: “Kasi, here, we were very comfortable. We had all the help we had. We had family. But, when we moved abroad, my parents went from being pharmacists to working at retail. They really started from the ground up. So, and I saw the sacrifices that they made, everything that they had to do for us. And even though at times, it was really hard for them na, they kept going kasi for the love of their kids, which is us, just so we can have a brighter future.”
She coped with the situation by just striving to get better grades, because she knows there is nothing to do much to help with the situation. The beauty queen made sure the house was in order so that her parents can relax when they got back home from work.
For Justine, what the government can do is create awareness when it comes the OFWs mental health, so that they can freely talk about their feelings and ease their burdens. “There’s stil that stigma where mental health can be seen as baliw or crazy, and of course as someone who’s the pillar of that family, you don’t want to be that weakness. But, it’s not a weakness, because if you talk about it openly, you can spread awareness, and to know that you are not alone in this.”
As for breast cancer awareness, she deems it important because according to what she knows, it is the third leading cause of death in the Philippines. “As a woman myself, I have seen and experienced my aunt who had breast cancer, and of course, it’s not a very easy journey, and, it happened because there was no early detection. So, because Rotary Club and Circle of Friends of Philippine Cancer Society is giving us the opportunity of free testing or early detection, it can actually make the treatments more manageable.”
“So, instead of finding out at Stage 4 and having limited time, we can detect it early and actually do something about it and survive from it,” she explained. What Justine Felizarta attended is the free breast and cervical cancer testing program organized by the Rotary Club of Makati Circle of Friends and Philippine Cancer Society last October 25. For her, initiatives like this communicate to people that they are not alone in this fight.
*Cover Photo/Thumbnail Photo from Instagram (@justinefelizarta)