Maggie Asuncion: Serenely Surviving the
Threat of Cancer through Christian Faith
By Apolinario Villalobos
It takes much courage before a person who is threatened by cancer can accept his or her fate. Initially, disbelief sets in, followed by denial. And, this is despite the factual medical findings, yet. But what happened to Maggie Asuncion is different. With all her heart and mind, she accepted her fate but also went through a “compromise” offered by the modern medical technology. She underwent a mastectomy, a gamble on her part, in the year 2000, as during the time, stories about immediate failure of operation were prevalent. The operation was followed by 6 months of chemotherapy, and 5 years of oral medication.
Maggie grew up in a Christian home that molded her personality according to her family’s strong faith. With a strong Christian foundation, she developed a steely personality that enabled her to face any kind of challenge in life. The worry that dawned on her when she was told about the growth of cancerous cyst in her breast did not last long. She did not suffer even just a bit from stigma, even after her operation. She went on with her life as if nothing has been taken from her body.
The more than five years of observation period during which she underwent rigorous medication, was patiently endured while participating in community outreach projects together with her supportive husband, Gene. The projects involved feeding of street children, clean-up drives, and random acts of charity, with the last, they did on their own. The projects served as an effective therapy, as she has practically forgotten about herself while spending her time with the less fortunate.
Their advocacy has in time, become an integral part of their life that today, every time they go out of their home, they would see to it that they have with them goodies for street children whom they might encounter along the way. They humbly admit that these are small tokens, though heartily given – things that they can afford.
Today, Maggie is a picture of serenity and dynamism, despite her age which is beyond sixty. If not with religious groups that undertake feeding programs for street children or with environmentalist groups doing clean- ups of Manila Bay, she bakes cake and prepares salads for the family. A time is also inserted in their schedule for visits to a bed-ridden friend. Every time there is an opportunity, she also gives testimonies in assemblies, assuring victims of the big C, that there is life after its riddance by operation, but with a reminder that the patient must do his or her share by following a disciplined way of life…plus, of course, strong faith in Him.
Maggie and Gene are blessed with four daughters, Gemma Lee A. Namit (38), Gracious Melody A. Torrijos (37), Genette Mae A. Shuler (34), and Geneve Maude N. Asuncion (26). Their only twenty day-old grandson, Gavril Matteo, unfortunately died of congenital heart disease.
Maggie showed that it pays by just leaving everything to God by virtue of strong faith….that praying should not always be for asking worldly blessings.