Fast Break


Cancer is one of the leading causes of death not only in the country but throughout the world. In athletes, it is a complete opposite of grabbing medals and hard-earned trophies to enduring the side effects of medical treatments.

/ 18 September 2020

Having survived cancer did not just win their toughest battle in life, but conquered near-death experiences and opening doors of new beginnings. It is truly not a sprint in combating cancer, but it is a marathon of praying, believing, and hoping to get better day by day. 

While there are a lot of courageous stories regarding cancer survivors, let us empower women who combat this malignant disease. From being a daughter, a sister, a friend, a wife, and a mother, you certainly cannot hide the fact that they have the best driven, emotional, and moving storiesthey are women!

Sofia Ildefonso  

It seems impossible to get back on the road again, the certain feeling athlete endures every bit they fight the deadly disease. But for the talk of the town, Sofia Ildefonso had grown over the nightmare and is healthier than ever.

Sofia faced an uphill battle that changed her life. It was when she was only six years young when she was diagnosed with embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare cancer in the muscle tissue that caused a growth of tumor in the abdomen. 

Danny Ildefonso, the two-time PBA most valuable player shares his daughter’s heroic story of how she faced cancer one-on-one. 

“The first thing we noticed was that she had no appetite. She would also complain that she had difficulty urinating,” said Danny.

Sofia underwent six chemotherapy sessions in all. After every session, Danny would observe that her daughter has a lot of energy left, “The other kids in the hospital would be a little weak from the sessions. But Sofia would be jumping around and would always play with her siblings when they got home. She was never tired.”

After the success over cancer, Sofia started to be hooked in sports. She started swimming, then became a triathlete, which helped her channel her energy and relive new beginnings.   

The rising star now is a hot topic in the volleyball community as a new Ildefonso is bound to shine in UAAP this time in the volleyball scene. Fans are hoping for intense action as Sofia joins the heartstrong community.

Daniela dela Pisa

Nothing is as much greater than overcoming cancer and bagging medals in the SEA Games for an ovarian cancer survivor and gymnast like the award-winning Daniela dela Pisa. 

The story of a 15-year-old girl has left mats with trails of memories and inspirations that everybody should take from. 

From a young age, the Cebuana athlete had overcome many circles enough that left her a formidable athlete. Dela Pisa was diagnosed with the disease when she was only 4-years-old. 

With cancer, the family of the athlete was devastated and did not think any more of their daughter pursuing gymnastics. “Noong nalaman ko na may cancer na si Daniela, nawala na sa isip ko yung mag-gygymnast pa siya kasi grabe eh,” Darlene, mother of Daniela Dela Pisa, said. 

But the road did not end there for Daniela, after she overcame the disease with operation and chemotherapy, Daniela continued her athletic dream with the support of her mother and the rest of her family. 

At the age of 11, the athlete already has vouched for titles in the below 10 category of the sports event in Palarong Pambansa 2014 and was named the Most Outstanding Athlete in the National Milo Olympics in back-to-back years from 2013 to 2014.

Later on, in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, the gymnasts struck gold in the rhythmic gymnastic hoop event and also bagged two bronze medals in rhythmic gymnastics ball and clubs.

Teofila Ladera

In line with the upcoming Breast Cancer Awareness Month, let us be moved by the story of the eldest member of the Cebu Pink Paddlers, a champion rowing team, Teofila Ladera, a 60 years old member of the dragon boat squad.

Ladera, ready to take her reaps of retirement from 37 years of work, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Ladera thought that it was the end of the decades of her hard work and opportunities. As she realized that there is no road anymore for her take. 

But, a twist came to her life and that is joining the Cebu Pink Paddlers. At first, she thought that “it does not seem right,” in spite of the fact that she had undergone major surgery of removing her breast. 

It was later on that Ladera understood the purpose of the team: find a new family and help other cancer survivors.

As Ladera shares new moments with her family, she is in deep gratitude for the experience she shared with her co-survivors. Ladera now belongs to a team of champs, and of fighters. 

These women may not have expected the longest nightmare they have gone through, now they are living a dream of successes and triumphsKudos