Solenn Heussaff is the latest ambassador for Avon Kiss Goodbye to Breast Cancer (KGBC).
“If I can help someone, no matter what the cause, I will be there,” said Solenn when PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) asked what made her say yes to being Avon's ambassador for the campaign, during the launch held at the Conservatory of the Peninsula Manila.
She continued, “If I can be of help, if I can show any kind of support.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s breast cancer or any other type.
“Siyempre naman, I am also with Avon and they’ve been very supportive towards women. And they are very pro women also, so it’s nice to be a part of this also, in helping them and helping other people.”
KGBC has helped establish the Breast Care Center at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) Cancer Institute by providing a Mammography Unit and granting funds for the treatment of indigents since its launch in 2002. KGBC also established a regular support group for cancer patients and survivors.
WEDNESDAY GROUP. The Wednesday group is PGH’s Breast Care Center support group. Every Wednesday, patients and survivors come together for a small gathering. Most often they spend a day sharing stories and experiences, supporting each other’s strength in surpassing illness.
Solenn spices up their usual Wednesday gatherings by giving the women makeovers, helping the patients look good in spite their condition.
Solenn said she hasn’t done the makeovers often but she was truly moved, “We haven’t done it many times yet but they do have their regular Wednesday, the support group is there.
“So anyone can come and talk about their fears and their problems.
“If I have more time, of course, I’d love to do it. Because seeing the smile in their faces is really amazing.”
What other support can she share with the patients at the Breast Care Center?
“Just to be there. Thing is, I can’t really share an experience kasi mas may alam sila kaysa sa akin so I can just learn from them and listen. I think listening is already a big part,” says the KGBC ambassador.
Solenn recalled her experience when she joined the patients in one of their Wednesday sessions, “Before entering [Breast Care Center] I was told to be strong, matapang naman ako.
“I am strong pero kasi when you enter they share with you different stories, what they’ve been through, family issues.
“So, when you hear them talk about it and when you hear yourself complain about the traffic or some person you don’t like at work, parang ang liit-liit ng problema niyo.
“So you really just have to listen and learn from them and you will improve as a person yourself.
“Kasi you’ll forget all the little things that irritate you, that don’t really mean anything but the little things you can do to help someone else.”
Was there a story that made her cry?
She admitted, “A lot of them because every time they talk about it teary eyed sila, a lot of them were left by their husbands.
“I don’t want to say na mababaw yung mga lalaki pero a lot them once na wala yung isang breast, they left.
“I really don’t know what to say, e.
“You’re really just there to listen talaga.
“The first thing I said was ‘Naku yung mga boys, ayoko na mag-boyfriend’ pero at least nakikita mo kung gaano kababaw ang isang tao, di ba?”
Does being an ambassador for KGBC pose a challenge?
She answered frankly, “Of course, when we did the Wednesday group you really have to be strong kasi when they share their stories parang nakaka-sadden talaga.
“Some were left by their husbands, ganun, so it’s really about women's empowerment.
“It’s really about the support that they give to one another.
“Kahit stranger sila sa isa’t isa pero nagiging family siyempre sila, so you just have to be strong and give your support.
Does she feel any pressure being the ambassador, especially now that breast cancer is the number one killer of Filipino women?
Solenn replied, “For me it’s an amazing thing.
“For me, I am just a normal person, so I am so happy that I can help and contribute in my own way.
“Kasi kung ako lang, I won’t be able to do it on my own, if Avon hadn’t approached me.
“So, I am really happy that they’ve been organizing this and they’re doing this for the last 21 years and it’s getting bigger and bigger.
“They have a lot of machines now, so, exciting talaga and I am really happy to be of help in any way.”
SOLENN’S PLEDGE. As the newest ambassador of KGBC, what is her pledge or promise in helping the patients and survivors of breast cancer?
“Well, for me, as long as I can help I’ll be there.
“And, of course, help spread the awareness that you have to get regular check-ups kahit bata ka pa or a young woman.
“It’s something that you shouldn’t be shy about and there are places where you can get it for free like the PGH Breast Care Center, so don’t be shy, don’t think it’s gonna be expensive or anything, just go there and get at least consultation,” says Solenn.
What are her tips for women to prevent breast cancer?
Her simple advice, “For me, try to eat clean, if you can’t eat clean at least exercise kahit 30 minutes a day. It’s really nothing.
“Some people say, ‘I’m too busy’ but you can always find 30 minutes to kahit walk, walk your dog. You don’t even have to be hardcore in working out.
“So, for me, healthy lifestyle and exercise and wala masyadong merienda, merienda.”
#DOSOMETHINGBEAUTIFUL . Now with the help of social media, Solenn who has almost 1.4 million followers on Twitter helps spread awareness on Breast Cancer through the hashtag #DoSomethingBeautiful.
“I just try to do little things every day to people I don’t know, to people I know or even help out a friend or even show up at my dad’s office to have coffee with him.
“Small things like that, that makes people happy. It’s not only for breast cancer but in general,” Solenn said.
The actress encourages everyone to always do good deeds every day, which help bring a positive outlook in life. A simple gesture can change a person’s day or even a person’s life.
KGBC RUN AND WALK. Solenn invites everyone on October 13 to join Avon’s annual Kiss Goodbye to Breast Cancer Run and Walk event at the Mall of Asia Open Grounds.
Solenn explains the event, “On October 13, the KGBC walk and run. You can just buy the T-shirt and you can also join the 5k or the 10k walk and run.
“Tapos, by doing that you can help 100 women get a free treatment daily at the Breast Care Center and, of course, ipagpatuloy nila yung Wednesday group and support group.
You can walk or you can run. There’s a lot of support groups, cancer patients are gonna be there, family and friends. It’s just a casual walk.
“You’re not really contributing too much, monetary-wise pero you’re creating a big impact in the lives of other people because you give them the opportunity to have that Wednesday group, you give them the opportunity to get checked kahit wala silang pera.”
Registration for the KGBC Run is ongoing at the following Chris Sports Branches: SM North Edsa; SM Megamall; SM Mall of Asia; Glorietta 3, Makati; Festival Mall, Alabang; and Fitness and Athletics (The Fort).
Registration fee is Php550 for the 5k event and Php700 for the 10k event. Participants will receive the Avon KGBC Race Kit, which includes a singlet, race number, and giveaway.
Part of the proceeds is earmarked for the breast cancer fund, which benefits the Philippine General Hospital Breast Care Center and selected provincial hospitals.