MANILA, Philippines – Asian track legend Lydia de Vega is back home in the Philippines continuing treatment for stage 4 breast cancer, her daughter Stephanie “Paneng” Mercado-de Koenigswarter confirmed.
Mercado-De Koenigswarter said while the 57-year-old sports icon is unable to speak, their family remains positive that De Vega can hear them talk to her, and that she will continue fighting for her life.
“She is stable but still in critical condition,” Mercado-de Koenigswarter told Rappler on Thursday, July 21, adding that her mother is “unable to take visitors right now” in the hospital.
Despite contracting the debilitating disease back in 2018, De Vega continued her work as a coach in Singapore until she recently had to be flown back home for treatment.
De Vega was the sprint queen of Asia in the ‘80s and the Philippine record holder of the 100m dash for over 30 years.
“I’m asking everyone to pray for my mom, that she may recover, and she gets over the biggest race of her life,” said Mercado-de Koenigswarter, who also shared updates on her mother’s condition with television sports host Dyan Castillejo on Thursday.
“It’s really difficult, because we all know my mom is a very nice person, a very humble person, and she keeps all her challenges, as much as possible, just to herself because she doesn’t want her loved ones to worry.”
Mercado-De Koenigswarter led the family’s social media brigade on Wednesday afternoon as they pleaded for financial help, noting De Vega was in “very critical” condition.
“As the disease is progressing, her condition is quickly worsening despite undergoing many procedures including brain surgery,” Mercado-De Koenigswarter, a former La Salle volleyball standout, said in the post.
The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), where Asia’s former track queen briefly worked, was reportedly one of the first organizations to extend a helping hand.
“I know she is very thankful to the people who are helping out, and I told her that we can’t wait for her to wake up, because we still have a lot to talk about,” Mercado-De Koenigswarter said.
The De Vega family is still accepting donations through BPI account number 3209095644. Well-wishers may also contact them through cellphone number 09196005224.