More than just your daily afternoon drama, The Greatest Love has become an honorable advocacy to spread the word on Alzheimer’s Disease.
Neurologist Dr. Darwin Dasig, president of the Dementia Society of the Philippines (DSP), asserted this in the show’s Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Forum on Thursday, September 29, at the ABS-CBN 9501 Restaurant, emphasizing that the show is indeed groundbreaking.
“I want to commend the show, especially Ms Sylvia Sanchez, in making this an advocacy, not just a plain TV drama,” Dr. Dasig said. “It seeks to portray a real picture of the disease, and how it affects the patient, and most especially the carers, relatives and other concerned people.”
The show organized the forum, coinciding with Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, o further educate people on the illness.
“On behalf of the DSP, I would like to extend my gratitude,” he added.
To be effective in this advocacy, Sylvia revealed that she immersed herself in the challenging role of Gloria, a victim of the degenerative disease.
Part of this is her spending time with an Alzheimer’s patient, who would show sordid symptoms of the disease, including easily forgetting events, information, and identities of even the people closest to her.
“Noong sinabi ko ako si Sylvia, sinasabi niya na ako si Sylvia La Torre,” she said. And even if she told her she was not the legendary singer-comedienne, the patient would insist she was right.
She then said her round-the-clock carer, Maribeth, came out and the patient told her “Sino ka?”
When Maribeth mentioned her name, the patient said, “Maribeth Bichara?,” referring to the popular dancer-choreographer-actress in the 1980s.
Learning first-hand how Alzheimer’s affects people was necessary to make her portrayal of Gloria credible and believable, she said.
“Inaamin ko na kulang ang kaalaman ko sa Alzheimer’s kaya importanteng makausap ko ang isang nanay din na may Alzheimer’s. Para malaman ko kung paano sila umiyak, kung paano sila magwala.”
Sylvia admitted that after her encounter with an Alzheimer’s patient, she wished “Sana wag mangyari sa akin.”
But even if she gets afflicted with the disease, as she depicts in “The Greatest Love,” she was confident that such love will still prevail and would not be taken for granted by family and friends.