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  • Geoff Gimena

My Ideas Positive Experience: A Roller-Coaster Ride

It was a ride that I will never forget - or, to phrase it more correctly, an experience that I will always remember.

It was a ride that I will never forget - or, to phrase it more correctly, an experience that I will always remember.

Joining Ideas Positive was like a roller-coaster ride, and I was one of the passengers. The ride began slowly, gradually inclining, and I first felt the high when we sent in our entry. We had to think of what the health problem was, and who our chosen community would be.

When we got the results, we were very surprised that our team made it to the Live Screening. The feeling was amplified further when we learned that we were one of the top 14 teams to be awarded seed money amounting to Php 100,000. Back to the roller coaster metaphor – this part definitely felt like reaching the highest point. We were ecstatic! We joined the Boot Camp, and learned things that we would need when we started implementing our project. We also better understood the true meaning of the word “BAYANIHAN.”

The ride continued, and we were ready for the implementation phase. We called our Breast Cancer Awareness (BCA) project for San Pablo City, Laguna, “Go PINK! San Pablo.” We found out that San Pablo has the third highest rate of breast cancer victims in the Philippines. It was a challenge for our team to reach our project’s targets, and also to touch the lives of the community, because we were not fully trained to give information for BCA.

But through BAYANIHAN, we were able to work in partnership with the Kasuso Foundation. They taught us, and helped us to educate Barangay Nutrition Scholars (BNS) and Barangay Health Workers (BHW) about BCA. Through our partnership, we were able to echo the information in every barangay in San Pablo City.

Like all roller-coaster rides, there were unexpected dips. We faced challenges in terms of the city’s denial when it comes to breast cancer, as well as the lack of support from the business sector. Some of the establishments that we sought partnership with tended to look for what they could get in return if they supported us. But we remained unfazed and stuck to the ride.

Five months later, our project yielded outstanding results. San Pablo City’s awareness on the signs and symptoms of breast cancer increased from 39% to 87%; awareness about risk factors increased from 34% to 89%; while awareness about breast self-examination increased from 28% to 81%. To ensure the sustainability of this advocacy, we integrated it with the NSTP of STI College San Pablo, wherein students will be immersed in the communities and educate them regarding BCA.

Indeed, Ideas Positive has been the best ride of my life. It really changed me for the better, not only for myself, but also for the community that we’ve touched. Like a roller-coaster ride, even though we didn’t know what would happen next, we knew that in the end, we, Team Lunar Lunas, enjoyed every second of it. We will always be on the lookout for ways to help our community in the best way that we can, as we build a healthier Philippines, one community at a time.

Geoff is now an area ambassador of Ideas Positive, who helps in the recruitment of entries for Ideas Positive Run 5. His team, Lunar Lunas, won fifth place at the Ideas Positive Run 4 for their project Go Pink! San Pablo. During his free time, Geoff loves to doodle, blog, and surf the net.

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