#MakeTimeForDad: Celebrating World COPD Day

By Mommy Donna and Kib - December 11, 2015

I attended last year's celebration of World COPD Day (please see my blog about this event here), and I was blessed to be invited again this year.  Although my father didn't have that disease, I have a huge concern on parents having an incurable disease so that is why I really made an effort to be a part of this celebration.  This is also my way of honoring my father for having a strong conviction on maintaining a good health.  I know how it feels to see your parent suffer from a life-threatening disease and you, as a child, can only do so much.  It's really hard to see a loved one slowly deteriorating and you cannot break down in front of them.  You have to show that you're strong; most of the time you cry silently.

COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) became popular due to Comedy King Dolphy.  He died of that illness.  Dolphy's journey as a COPD patient has become the most familiar patient story for Filipinos as his constant hospitalizations and deteriorating health were always part of the news.  He was an epitome of a total entertainer whose talent in acting, singing, and dancing was honed through years of experience and hard work.  His talent was equaled only by his work ethic as he lived by credo, "The show must go on," even after he got sick and was diagnosed with COPD.

Dolphy's battle with COPD

In the last few years of his life, while Dolphy continued to make people smile, his family was desperately trying hard to keep theirs, know that their patriarch was risking his health with every performance.  Actor-director Eric Quizon, one of the sons of the Comedy King, said that his father was a heavy smoker.  Dolphy started smoking when he was a teenager.  Dolphy stopped smoking at the age of 45 after being diagnosed with emphysema.  However, Dolphy's lungs were already so black.

The damage to his lungs continued to progress with age, and by the time that Dolphy was 79 years old, he was diagnosed with COPD.  During that time, only his lifelong partner Zsa Zsa Padilla knew of his condition.  Dolphy tried hiding his illness to his children, but eventually Eric grew suspicious when he was asked to buy an oxygen concentrator.

The once vibrant Comedy King had become lethargic.  Aside from frequent coughs and shortness of breath, Dolphy would also complain of tiredness after taking few steps of walking.

From his yearly medical check-ups, Dolphy's hospital visits became more and more frequent until his doctors diagnosed him with COPD.  That was the time Dolphy decided to talk to his 18 children about his condition.  When the whole family learned about his illness, it became one of the difficult times for them, knowing that there is no cure for the illness.

In mid-2012, Dolphy was once again hospitalized and after battling 13 bouts of pneumonia, Dolphy succumbed to the disease on July 12th at the age of 83.

Kib with Mr. Epy Quizon during the celebration of World COPD Day.  He shared the struggles the whole family had during the time that Dolphy had COPD.

What is COPD?

COPD, or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, is a progressive lung ailment that makes breathing difficult and invariably leads to death.  COPD ranked 7th on the list of killer diseases in the country.  Sadly, only 2% of the 4.2 million Filipinos are properly diagnosed with the disease.  Those who suffer from the disease are mostly males.

According to the studies done by World Health Organization, cigarette smoking causes 80-90% of COPD cases.  Pollution, both indoor and outdoor, can also cause COPD.

People with COPD experience shortness of breath, abnormal sputum characterized by a mix of saliva and mucus, and chronic cough.  Most of the time, the diagnosis for COPD occurs when a person is in their 50s and 60s, but the symptoms can already start to manifest in their 40s.

Spirometry is a simple breathing test that gauges how much and how quickly air mves out of the lungs.  It measures the lung function in patients and determines the progression of the disease.

If COPD is detected on its early stages, patients will have fewer limitations on their activity.


COPD is a familial problem.  Once a family member is affected, the rest of the family assumes the responsibility of taking care of the patient and they play an important role in a patient's treatment journey.

As part of the commemoration of World COPD Day, Glaxo SmithKline and the Philippine College of Chest Physicians (PCCP), are spearheading a new campaign called #MakeTimeForDad.

#MakeTimeForDad...before it's too late

The campaign encourages family members to upload 30-second videos on Facebook and Instagram, stating a list of things they want to do or wish they could have done with their loved fathers.  This would serve as a reminder for them to act now if they feel that their loved ones are at risk for COPD, and value each moment they spend with them.

Check this video about family members wish they had to do with their loved ones:

When this video clip was shown during the celebration of World COPD Day, I shed a tear.  I miss my papa so much.  I know I've never been expressive of my love for him, but I know I have been a good daughter to him.  Wherever he is, I know he is watching over me and Kib.

This campaign is a good reminder that we must love our loved ones while we can.  It's not yet too late.  Let us make our fathers know that we are there for them in good times and bad times.  

Cherish the moments with your Dad

To end my blog, may this song inspire you to spend more quality time with our fathers.  

Love Them While We Can

They tied our shoes, took us to school, patched our worn-out jeans
They soothed our tears and calmed our fears, and listened to our dreams
Somewhere along their golden years, their hair has lost its sheen
The notes to hymn one hundred ten crackle when they sing
And now they are alone, no children's voices fill their empty homes

We must love them while we can, we must love them while we can
For time just seems to hurry by, and the days slip into years
And the moments that we have will disappear
So love them while we can

The folks that taught us our first words, still have much to say
The silver secrets of the world, lie beneath those crowns of gray
As they approach the end, we change our role from children to best friend

For more information about COPD, you may visit www.pinoycopd.com.

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