F.C.N.A. STEERING COMMITTEE. Members of the steering committee of the Filipino Cancer Network pose for a souvenir photo. They are (seated, from right) Ma. Ellen Porte, Arcie Gemino, Billie Belen, Betsy Henry, Remy Solarte, Cloty Sitchon, Sofy Bole, Lulu Martinez, Connie Sumalde, (standing, from right) Cesar Solarte, Bert Sitchon, Tony Kho, Owen Diaz, Willie Dechavez, Fred Porte and Ryan Rosario. Other committee members (not in photo) are Becky Tungol, Eden Alfaro, Joyce Kettley, Ernie Mac, Lavinia Mateo and Cesar Gemino.
F.C.N.A. STEERING COMMITTEE. Members of the steering committee of the Filipino Cancer Network pose for a souvenir photo. They are (seated, from right) Ma. Ellen Porte, Arcie Gemino, Billie Belen, Betsy Henry, Remy Solarte, Cloty Sitchon, Sofy Bole, Lulu Martinez, Connie Sumalde, (standing, from right) Cesar Solarte, Bert Sitchon, Tony Kho, Owen Diaz, Willie Dechavez, Fred Porte and Ryan Rosario. Other committee members (not in photo) are Becky Tungol, Eden Alfaro, Joyce Kettley, Ernie Mac, Lavinia Mateo and Cesar Gemino.

Twenty volunteers have been tapped to compose the steering committee of the newly formed Filipino Cancer Network of America-Michigan (FCNA-MI), a community-based outreach program providing cancer-related information, referral and support services to Filipinos and Filipino-Americans.

FCNA was organized under the auspices of the Philippine American Cultural Center of Michigan (PACCM) which is a 501-(c) 3 organization. It is a joint undertaking with the local chapter of the American Cancer Society.

The steering committee is composed of the following: Cloty Sitchon and Remy Solarte, co-chairpersons; Rebecca Tungol (PACCM president), Eden Alfaro, Billie Belen, Sofy Bole, Menchu Concepcion, Willie Dechavez, Owen Diaz, Arcie Gemino, Betsy Henry, Joyce Kettley, Tony Kho, Ernie Mac, Lavinia Mateo, Ellen Porte, Lulu Rodriguez, Ryan Rosario, Connie Sumalde and Rosemary Aquiler-Angeles, members.

The spouses of the committee members are de facto members.

FCNA’s vision is to have a well established and thriving community-based program that collaborates with similar organizations dedicated to cancer prevention, support advocacy and care, specifically among Filipino-Americans diagnosed and afflicted with cancer.

Its missions:

  • Provide assistance and support to individuals with cancer, and those who are survivors, as well as their families and caregivers
  • Maintain and promote quality of life through education, networking and referrals
  • Utilize effectively community resources

Its goals: Facilitate formation of one or more Filipino cancer support groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area

  • Provide educational activities addressing cultural/ethnic perceptions/myths about cancer in the Filipino community
  • Disseminate information about the Filipino Cancer Network of America (FCNA) to the Filipino American Community as well as to civic, professional and faith-based organizations and the local Filipino media

The first phase of this initiative calls for the collection of data on the Filipino population in Michigan.  According to the U.S. 2010 Census, there are 22,047 pure-blood Filipinos in Michigan. Together with the mixed-blood, the Filipino population is 28,000. 

A letter requesting for a list of Filipinos living in each major city has been drafted. It may be mailed or personally taken to the concerned city office by a member of FCNA-MI. A compiled list will become the target population that will potentially include those Filipinos that may require the services of FCNA-MI. 

Promotional activities were discussed by the steering committee. These activities include the following:

  • Arrange to do a presentation on the FCNA-MI at a meeting of the Filipino American Community Council (FILAMCCO).
  • Have a booth with flyers and information about FCNA-MI at the Health Fair in May and at Kalayaan Picnic in June

Members of the steering committee have been brainstorming on ways to raise funds . To establish seed money, members are encouraged to give tax-deductible donation to PACCM and earmark the amount for FCNA-MI. When the logos and slogan are finalized, these will be printed on T-shirts that will be available for sale to FCNA supporters and community members.

The second phase will focus on an ongoing support group sponsored by the American Cancer Society (ACS). It is designed to help patients and their families and friends to better understand and learn to live with cancer. Group meetings will provide opportunities for individuals to share common experiences, problems and solutions in a supportive atmosphere.

There are two categories of FCNA-MI membership: Facilitators who will be trained by the local ACS Chapter; and support group members who include cancer survivors, care givers, families and friends

The specific roles and responsibilities of the volunteer members will be further clarified in succeeding updates. (Submitted by Remy Solarte and Cloty Sitchon)

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