FORTEnors concert benefit children with cancer

After the FORTEnors belted out their finale number, the Ilonggo crowd gave a standing ovation.

“I’m glad I came! They are so amazing,” said Mary Rose, one of the Ilonggos who trooped to the CPU University Church last Friday, November 29 to watch FORTEnors perform in a concert that was meant to raise funds for the victims of typhoon Yolanda and children with cancer.


The FORTEnors is a quartet of young, dashing and dynamic tenor vocalists David Ezra Cruz (broadway tenor), Christian Nagaño (classical tenor), Jenmai De Asis (crossover tenor) and Johann Enriquez (pop tenor).

The group is a 2012 Aliw Awards Awardee, 2013 Dangal Ng Bayan Awardee and 2013 Gawad Musika Best All-Male Quartet awardee.

We have this stereotype of tenors as middle-aged men singing boring songs. But it was not the case with the FORTEnors. In fact, they seem to have so many fans among the college students who were eager to meet them and have their pictures taken after the concert.


They sang original Filipino music, pop, broadway, jazz and gospel using operatic vocal techniques.
For Enriquez, the concert was his contribution to ease the ordeal of those affected by typhoon Yolanda in Iloilo. He believes that becoming channels of blessings to fellow Filipinos is their moral and social responsibility.


Meanwhile, the menace of cancer is so familiar to De Asis because his father is a cancer survivor.
 “I experienced how my family was just praying and believing what the doctors will tell us to do just to fight that dreaded disease. More so, I can't even imagine how it is if a child has that big C. Because of the talent that God gave, I know we can also be of help to these children in order for them to appreciate life to the fullest,” he said.

Nagaño hopes that children would be spared from cancer so that they can enjoy their childhood.

Another magical performance that night was by the CPU Handbell Ringers, the only five-octave handbell group in the Philippines. They were well-coordinated and their movements were fluid.



A CELEBRATION OF HOPE
Dr. Ma. Socorro Martinez, president of Mga Kaibigan ng mga Kabataang May Kanser (KKK), the organizer of the event, said that the concert was a celebration of hope.

"Imagine spending Christmas when your home with everything in it has just been destroyed and you have just lost some members of your family to Yolanda. Imagine having to line up for your family's meal and not knowing where your next meal will be coming from. Imagine having your child diagnosed of cancer, and though you have sold most of what you own and have borrowed from all the people you know, the money is not enough to pay for your sick child's chemotherapy. But these scenarios are not fiction, fantasy or imaginings. This is reality,” she said.


"This concert is meaningful because it brings together people who believe in the cause of our group KKK, which stands for “Mga Kaibigan ng mga Kabataang may Kanser”. Our group has organized events and collaborated with other groups to raise funds used to pay for the chemotherapy of our children beneficiaries ---- all cancer-diagnosed children from indigent families.  KKK started 6 years ago supporting 3 children. Since then we have had a total of 21 recipients coming from the provinces of Iloilo, Guimaras and Capiz. Sadly, some of them have passed away and at present, we are supporting 9 children with ages ranging from 1 ½ to 13, all of whom are being treated in the different hospitals in Iloilo city," she added.

"Let this night be a symbol of hope. Hope, which is very fragile, and at times elusive, especially for one who has lost his home and everything he owns,  for one who is suffering from cancer, or for a parent of a child with cancer, who has no means to pay for his child's treatment.  But working for KKK for 6 years have taught me that more than the financial support that we give the recipients, is the hope that we bring to their parents and families. A parent of one of our recipients once told me, at the time after her child passed away, that she was so grateful to KKK, because KKK gave her the courage to fight and not give up," she further said.

PAIN OF LOSS

Almost all the KKK beneficiaries and their families were present at the concert. Even the mothers of children who have passed on were there.

Michelle Buizon spoke before the audience and shared how painful it is to lose a child.

She lost her son Russel to leukemia after six years of struggle in going to the hospital for chemotherapy sessions and finding the means to support a sick child.

She expressed gratitude to KKK and donors who made possible the chemotherapy treatments, day camps where child-parent bonding was fostered, and support in flying Russel’s body from Manila to Iloilo.
Buizon said that the support such as these gives them hope.

As she was speaking, another mother sits quietly at the pew, teary-eyed because she also lost a child to cancer. Lara Alolor, mother of Kurt was also one of the volunteers in the concert.



RE-BUILDING

Meanwhile, the houses of four KKK beneficiaries were also damaged by the typhoon. Just imagine how hard it is for a child with cancer to live in an evacuation center or not get the nourishment he needs to get well.

But God is so good he brings people together. On the day of the concert, KKK received news that a group headed by Florence Hibionada, a journalist will visit these families’ homes to assess the damage made by “Yolanda” and embark on a re-building mission.

Dr. Martinez thanked this group during the concert as well.

As of today, Sunday, the group is travelling to the towns of Barotac Viejo, San Dionisio, and Ivisan and Panit-an of Capiz for an assessment of these homes.

SPONSORS

KKK would like to thank the FORTEnors for their volunteerism and for bringing joy to Ilonggos. The group would also like to thank the following sponsors: Panay News, VJS, Tonino's, ABS-CBN, Mr. Gerry Malilin, Mr. Edwin Huan, Lea Duenas, Feline's, Merkado Seafood Restaurant, Central Philippine University, University Church Youth, Makinaugalingon, Vista Inn, Fuselink Digital Arts and Prints, Miss Ma. Wanda Martinez, I-Mart, Pavia Feed Milling Corporation, Carl dela Paz, Heavenly Cafe and Hongkong Kitchen.

HOW TO HELP

For inquiries on how to help, please message KKK Mga Kaibigan ng mga Kabataang May Kanser in Facebook./Purr

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