How a phone call changed my life

August 31, 2016

My grandfather used to say that one phone call can change your life. These days that could be an SMS, Viber, Whats App, Whatever. Point is, life rarely––if ever––will go the way we plan it. And last May, I found that out the hard way.

I still remember that sinking feeling of the floor opening up under me when my brother told me on the phone, “mom has been diagnosed with cancer.

I didn’t hear much after that. Nobody ever does. Because cancer can be one of life’s most brutal punctuation marks. If you let it, that is.

I say ‘can be’ because if there’s anything I’ve learned from this dreadful disease is that it feeds off fear, pity and depression. It looks for it. Heck, it creates it if it needs to. And if it can’t get to you emotionally, it will get you financially. Which is why it is so important to be prepared for any health emergency.

Aside from my mom and my aunt––who were both diagnosed on the same day––I have many friends and relatives who have battled with this cowardly disease. And I’ve noticed that the only ones who have beaten it have only done so with an awesome attitude––which is difficult enough as it is, but pretty close to impossible when your savings give up before your doctor.

Scientists say that we all have cancer cells, but with proper diet, healthy lifestyle and regular exercise, doctors seem confident that we can always prevent it from dominating the healthy cells. Financial advisors say we all have bankruptcy cells, but unlike our health, with careful planning and the right insurance policies, we can guarantee our wealth. That much is in our control!

Last month, I joined AXA for their #FailProofYourHealth campaign launch. I was given the privilege to share my thoughts on the need to be prepared for the worst, highlighting the importance of prevention by living a healthy lifestyle. Not a conventional topic we want to talk about, sure, but one we have to before it’s too late.

Part of the campaign is introducing the Health Risk Score which is a free online quiz aimed to give Filipinos an indication of their current health condition. I have personally taken the test and it showed that I’m healthy as an ox! You could take the test yourself here:


AXA, global leader in insurance and investments, recently launched #FailProofYourHealth, a campaign to raise awareness on the prevention of lifestyle diseases and critical illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, and cancer, and protect oneself from its financial impact. Log onto to to know more about them.

About the Author

James Deakin
James Deakin is a multi-awarded automotive journalist located in Manila, Philippines. He has a weekly column in the Philippine STAR's motoring section, is a motoring corespondent for CNN Philippines and is the host of the Philippine motoring television show Drive, which airs every Sunday night at 10pm on CNN Philippines.