What happens when the country’s finest join forces together for a worthy cause? It is not everyday that a virtuous and exceptional event that redefines fashion, resilience, and philanthropy happens. In celebration of its 10th anniversary, the I Want to Share Foundation (IWTS) recently held its First Charity Gala at Shangri-La the Fort where the country’s showbiz, media and affluent crowd banded and bonded together for noble reasons.
What made the occasion memorable in a distinctive way was the resilience and beauty displayed by the young cancer patients as they graced the runway in couture masterpieces crafted by renowned designers in the industry. The night was truly a heartfelt celebration of their unwavering strength and an opportunity to shine the spotlight on their incredible battle to survivorship.
“My own journey as a cancer survivor has been a significant catalyst in my devotion to this cause. God’s healing grace gave me another lease on life, and I honor that everyday by helping children at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) to have hope for a brighter future,” says Sheila Romero, Founder and Chairman of I Want To Share Foundation, during the charity ball.
Hailed as masters in their craft, fashion designers Mark Bumgarner, Rajo Laurel, Andrea Tetangco, Martin Bautista and Avel Bacudio, along with prominent people from a variety of professional fields including business and showbusiness proved that that fashion can be a force for good and has potential to serve a higher purpose. The undertaking was indeed a living testament to their industry’s boundless compassion to reach out to the ones who need it most.
“How does it feel to be part of the I Want Foundation Gala? It feels wonderful. It feels good, because we continue a cycle of bringing goodness and hope to all these unfortunate children,” Rajo beams with honor.
“It’s an honor to be part of this—to be able to showcase my talent, and share my creations to these people,” Andrea Tetangco adds with pride.
For young cancer warriors, the night was an attestation to their resounding statement of empowerment, a chance to regain their sense of control over their appearance, which may have been compromised along their journey to survival. It was a resonant reminder that they can be whoever they want to be, outside the realm of their medical condition.
The guests greeted the children with a resounding warm applause the moment they took the stage and rolled the red carpet woven with stories of hope and resilience. The unwavering bravery and relentless battles they conquered on the way to victory was not only inspiring, but it truly deserved all the accolades from everyone.
This extraordinary event combined art and the spirit of sharing and giving. An incredible array of artwork and jewelry pieces during the live auction featured Master Sculptor Daniel Dela Cruz, Contemporary Artist Andres Barrioquinto, and Dino Gabito.
Modern angels worked hand in hand to meet the target proceeds of P12M during the prestigious affair. In what could be called a grand way to celebrate the weekend, the night exceeded everyone’s expectations as a staggering amount of P19M was raised for the beneficiaries.
A notable gala, the IWTS has endeavored to transform and uplift lives by raising funds for the establishment of the Childhood Cancer Helpline, a newly launched initiative that aims to increase the country’s cancer survival rate from 30% to at least 60% so young individuals will find the strength and resources to thrive beyond their diagnosis.
Of the 5,300 Filipino children who develop cancer yearly, many are undiagnosed, consult late, refuse or abandon treatment, resulting in an estimated survival rate of only 30% nationwide. “This charitable gala also seeks to secure funding for the construction of two specialized rooms at the Bone Marrow Transplant Center in PGH, marking a pioneering achievement in the country where the chances of healing will be increased. In addition, the IWTS will also support the funding for the Pediatrics Hematology Oncology of PGH,” Romero shared proudly during the event.
The Charity Gala is proud to partner with equally passionate brand sponsors. The success of the event was made possible by the following sponsors — Maserati, Rulls, SM Supermalls, Vivo, Arthaland, The Lind Boracay, Denim Hub, Silicon Valley, Moss Interior Event & Design; as well as its media sponsors including Philippine Star, Manila Bulletin, Lifestyle Asia, and Stargate People Asia. Their participation signified a commitment to make a difference, demonstrating how their abundant resources and sphere of influence can be channeled into life-changing endeavors.
From its humble beginnings as a small fundraiser, the I Want To Share Foundation has steadily grown into a transformative institution, creating a life-changing impact for thousands of Filipino children.
Since 2015, their mission has been dedicated to turning extraordinary dreams into reality as they organized “SHINE! Dreams Do Come True” program, fulfilling the young warriors’ desire to experience a prom alongside sought-after actors and actresses, becoming stars in their own right. Even in the midst of the pandemic, they were able to launch the “I Want to Share my Hair” campaign, opening doors for children to reclaim a part of themselves, their crown of hair.
Annually, an average of 600 kids seek assistance for chemotherapy at PGH. Last December 2022, around 150 graduated from chemo. They fought hard, believed, and beat cancer and truly deserved a fitting tribute. The milestone was celebrated by providing the warriors an avenue to graduate like normal students.
“IWTS will continue in its mission to make a difference and contribute to society as we lead a purpose-driven life. The gala is a testament to what we can achieve when we unite to pursue a shared objective,” Romero shared. “Together, we can inspire others, reshape lives and illuminate the path for those who need it most.” Romero emphasizes.
For more details and to follow the campaign, like and follow, I Want to Share Foundation (@iwanttosharefoundation) across all social media platforms.