Actress and social media darling Ivana Alawi can't help but feel emotional when talking about her sister Mona's battle with Type 1 diabetes.
Mona was first diagnosed in 2011, the same year she started her showbiz career.
In an interview with Ogie Diaz for his YouTube vlog on October 13, 2021, Ivana said she was willing to give up everything for her family's health and well-being.
She said, "Uubusin ko lahat. I don't need money. For my family's health, lahat iyon ibibigay ko."
The actress added that she is continuously looking for better treatment options for her younger sister, whose type of diabetes is characterized by a condition in which "the immune system destroys insulin-making cells, a.k.a. beta cells, in pancreas. so it used to be called juvenile diabetes.
Ivana revealed, "Kahit hanggang ngayon, naghahanap kami ng ano yung mas better. Minsan nga sinasabi ni Mona, 'Ate, tama na, ang mahal ng ganito, ang mahal ng ganyan.'
"Sabi ko, 'Mona, kaya nga ako naggaganito because I want to give you the best.'
"Alam mo yun, na bakit pa ako nagtatrabaho kung hindi ko naman ibibigay sa pamilya ko? Kasi that's what inspires me. Mona, my mom, my brother, my sister."
HER SISTER'S KEEPER
Ivana admitted that she cries when she sees her sister struggling with her disease at times. But she does her best to keep it together to give Mona the support she needs.
Ivana told Ogie, "Umiiyak na lang ako. Sabi ko, 'Mona, lumaban ka...' Kasi minsan, merong mga time na napanghihinaan siya ng loob.
"Na parang, puro sakit e. Every day, all she feels is pain. So parang kami, 'Mona, kung mawawala ka,' sabi ko, 'Hindi na ako magiging ganito, yung kuwela, yung masayahin.'
"Siguro, hindi ako makaka-move on."
Ivana is hopeful that one day her sister will live a normal, diabetes-free life.
She said, "I believe kasi in miracles. Alam kong isang araw gagaling siya."
For now, Ivana is thankful that Mona is "a very, very strong person" who now feels much better after receiving treatment for her condition.
Ivana said, "Ngayon, gumaganda na yung pakiramdam niya. Masaya siya kasi nagpa-ano kami, yung blood test, nakita na almost normal na naman so nakakatuwa. Ang bait ni Lord."
In a YouTube vlog dated May 31, 2021, Ivana revealed that her sister was hospitalized several times over the past year because of her diabetes. This was also the main reason why Mona did not appear on her YouTube channel for a while.
Ivana said, "Ilang beses siya na-ospital nung pandemic. 'Tapos alam mo yun, hindi kami makadalaw. Pero isang beses, dumalaw ako.
"Wala akong pakialam, wala akong trabaho. 'Tapos nag-PPE ako 'tapos nagpunta ako doon sa room nila...
"Kasi ilang beses na siyang na-ospital dati. So ngayon, umo-okay na."
Mona also got candid about her condition and talked about how she’s coping with it over the last few months.
The former child star said, "I’m Type One diabetic and for a while, hindi talaga controlled yung sugar ko even though nagtutusok naman kami.
"Recently, hindi ako okay. Alam mo yung nagkakasakit ako? Nag-start din ako dito sa pump. And then nung um-okay na yung sugar ko for the first time in ten years."
She continued, "Kasi dati lagi akong high, 300 or 400. And ngayon, nasa normal na ako which is 90 to 140 ganun. Puwede pa sa akin yun kasi nagbibigay naman ng insulin— 120 normal kapag normal ka, pero 140 kapag sa diabetic, normal."
Mona, however, faced another challenge: she was recently diagnosed with diabetic neuropathy, a type of nerve damage that occurs in individuals who have diabetes.
Mona said, "After nun, nagkaroon ng problems yung nerves ko kasi nagulat yung katawan ko. Sanay kasi sila sa mataas na sugar.
"So yung nerves ko, nagulat sila tapos nagkaroon ako ng diabetic neuropathy. Pero I will get better. Hindi naman siya incurable."
Mona reassured their supporters that she's now recovering and hopes that she’ll get better in time.
She said, "May gamot siya but it will take some time para umokay ako."