Former Miss Pacific faces new battle

By Ilia L. Likou ,

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STILL SMILING: Manamea Apelu is a fighter and through it all, she continues to inspire with her courage.

STILL SMILING: Manamea Apelu is a fighter and through it all, she continues to inspire with her courage.

Former Miss South Pacific and Miss Samoa, Manamea Schwalger, is facing a new battle.

Having already been diagnosed with breast cancer, the latest medical report shows she now has a rare and incurable lung disease.

This time a Givealittle page has been created to gather support to help her foot the bill for the new round of chemotherapy treatment she needs.

The Givealittle page was created by Tina D, a long time friend of Manamea and her family.

“Mana's latest oncology reports (28 Nov 2016) show that the cancer has now metastasised into her lungs and her overall immune system is very weak,” the page reads.

“Her oncologist has recommended a chemotherapy treatment plan that begins almost immediately (05 Dec 2016) with a round of Herception at a cost of NZ$11,000." 

“Depending on how well Mana tolerates this, it will be closely followed by Taxol and Pertuzumab, bringing the cost of each chemotherapy cycle up to approx $NZD20,000." 

“On top of those costs will be further radiological expenses (scans etc), plus the ongoing oncologist attendance. The number of chemotherapy cycles will be decided by Mana's oncologist as she very closely monitors Mana's tolerance of each treatment.”

The page says that funding is needed so that these treatments can begin immediately. 

“At this point, almost all of Mana's and her family's personal funds are exhausted. Luckily, Mana's sister Via and her family live here in Auckland, so accommodation and transport is largely taken care of." 

“Being a Samoan national, Mana is not entitled to any NZ funded chemo treatments, which is why we must pay for them."

“Please help us raise funds to contribute to Mana's continued treatment here in Auckland, in order that she may have the opportunity of more years to enjoy watching her children grow, and to spend more time with her family and loved ones. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for any help you can give, and we intend to pay this forward in the future.”

About Mana 

She is a mother of five who lives in Tanumapua, Samoa.

Her first rounds of chemo and surgeries (2015) were covered by the Samoan Medical Scheme, but that funding is limited.

A former Miss South Pacific and Miss Samoa, Mana decided to use her speaking skills and public profile to go public with her breast cancer battle in Samoa, and has become the unofficial 'face' of breast cancer for women in Samoa. 

Mana wanted to raise awareness on the contributing risks to breast cancer in Samoa, and found that many Samoan women shied away from discussing breast cancer.

 In going public with her story, Mana hopes to shed light on the importance of early detection and recognising the symptoms of breast cancer.

The following is the link to the page: https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/healing4manamea?_ga=1.168130404.459627008.1478155535#

People in Samoa wanting to give can contact Tina D on 7771212.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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