CEBU CITY, Philippines — Mary Joy Bagares, a 22-year-old artist, made quite a stir here in July 2020, when a video of her sharing the challenges of having her mother treated at a hospital went viral.
At that time, Mary Joy had to walk 2.6 kilometers from Barangay Tinago just to bring her mother to the hospital. This video garnered the attention of so many kind-hearted netizens, who managed to raise more than P100,000 for the treatment of Mary Joy’s mother, Helen.
Four months later, with the help of netizens, Mary Joy said her mother has regained her strength after completing a month and ten days of radiation therapy.
“A lot helped us and it is really a huge blessing,” she said. “My mom continues to have oral chemotherapy and there are some medicines that are needed.”
Amid the struggles her family has faced, Mary Joy has always put on a smiling face on her social media accounts in Facebook, Tiktok, and YouTube (Joy Bagares).
Bagares is a natural actress and comedian, and she uses her acting skills to bring happiness to the world amid the struggles. Her Facebook page, Joytv, contains various self-made videos. The theme of most of her contents is usually comedic and happy-go-lucky, a contrast to her struggles in real life.
“Being funny is also my way of coping with stress. Aside from being amused myself, I find it satisfying that I bring joy to others. Though it’s kind of difficult, it’s still a way for us,” said Bagares.
Bagares is also known for her unique art, which she has used to fund her mother’s sessions because even after completing the sessions last July, her mother still has many more sessions of chemotherapy to go.
She juggles taking commissions with her regular day job as a marketing assistant in a pharmacy chain based in Cebu as well as taking care of her mother.
Mary Joy and her friends launched the Art for a Cause to fund her mother’s sessions, and though she limits the commissions for now, she keeps doing art to sell.
“I make art for a purpose,” she said.
This Christmas Mary, Bagares hopes to make more videos to make more people happy, especially after a difficult year.
“I pray for this Christmas and for the coming year na everyone will have better days. After this really gloomy year, everyone will shine. I pray for my mom’s shining years too. I hope to bring and build peace to the world. It may be common to hope for world peace, but this is very relevant nowadays. May everyone take part to be peace builders so love will conquer everyone’s heart,” she said.