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Doctors walk the catwalk

How the runway can save lives.

Saving lives has never been as fashionable as the recently held second annual benefit fashion show called "Rx: A work of heART", presented by the Sagip Buhay Medical Foundation (Philippine General Hospital) and Phi Lambda Delta Sorority (UP College of Medicine). The show, held last November 28, 2010 at Greenbelt 5, was a fundraiser to help indigent patients in the Medicine ward of the PGH.

When problems persist

State hospitals often cater to patients who cannot afford even simple medical procedures and treatments. As such, finance is now considered one of the main components of treatment, as it can contribute to the success or failure of management. This makes saving lives more challenging for doctors in state hospitals. Consultants and residents face such constraints on a daily basis, worsened by the misconception that PGH gives everything for free. However, resources are finite so patients have to buy their own medicines, syringes, even face masks.

Sagip Buhay Medical Foundation, a charity organization under the Department of Internal Medicine in PGH, solicits donations and provides financial support to those who are admitted to the Medicine Wards and ICUs of the hospital.

Fashionable saviors

To raise more funds, Sagip Buhay, which literally means “to save lives,” organizes an annual benefit fashion show. On its second year, doctors from PGH bought and modeled clothes from renowned Filipino designers showcased by Greenbelt 3 and 5 retailers Aranaz, Azucar, Arnel Papa, Jun Escario, Gaupo, Barba, Myth, Religioso, L Manila, and Big & Small.

The show wasn’t the easiest to pull together, admits Dr. Geraldine Zamora-Racaza, outgoing chief resident of the Department of Internal Medicine. The legwork took time and doctors were busy being doctors and had little time to rehearse. But the success of the show was worth the effort it took to mount it. Especially, Dr. Zamora-Racaza emphasized, because “the participants had fun.”

Spreading philantrophy

Making sure that it’s not going to be just another fashion show, organizers flashed on a huge screen in the background names of actual patients and what kind of help they’re going to receive. “Mang Jun’s life-saving antibiotics,” were seen on-screen as Barba apparels were modeled by some of the doctors, for example.

The fashion event also included kids walking side-by-side with their folks, showing how kids can also participate in saving lives. Dr. Zamora-Racaza with daughter Nala Gabrielle and Dr. Dom Albacite from Interventional Cardiology with daughter Nica were just some of the well-meaning, parent-child tandems.

Strength in number

There were close to a hundred doctors who agreed to walk the runway, a far cry from last year’s show where models numbered 30. Graduates, including HealthToday's Dr. Yves Saint James Aquino, and resident doctors (from Internal Medicine, Section of Dermatology, Ophthalmology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Orthopedics, and Pediatrics) gamely participated. Members of the Phi Lambda Delta sorority, together with other students of the UP College of Medicine, proved that when it comes to the catwalk, they can be as good as their seniors. The sorority, which partnered with Sagip Buhay, was ecstatic with the outcome.

Said the sorority’s outgoing Superior Sister Exemplar Ada Lyn Yao, “This is … in line with our core values of committing ourselves to service, and what better to do so than giving back to the hospital we're learning from.”

The fight to save lives doesn’t stop, but after the show, we realize that there are different ways to do it. And to paraphrase Dr. Zamora-Racaza, the event proved that fashion can be charity, and charity, fashionable.

To know more about Sagip Buhay Medical Foundation and how you can help save lives, visit

Dr. Geraldine Zamora-Racaza (middle) with her batchmates from Department of Internal Medicine

Lovely ladies of Phi Lamda Delata Sorority

HealthToday editor Dr. Yves Aquino

  • Photography | Trixie Ballesteros and Miguel Mondragon
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