What many people didn’t know about Derek Dee is that aside from fighting bad guys in his action movies like “Rumble Boy” (2007) and “Sa Bingit Ng Kamatayan” (1996), is that for years he’s been fighting in real life his toughest opponent ever – the dreaded HEPATITIS C

hepatitis c

Businessman, photographer and movie producer Frederick Timothy Yui Dee also known as DEREK DEE is a Filipino actor who starred in a couple of films during the late 90s and early 2000 (mostly action movies).

He is also the proud father of uprising 21 year-old Filipina model Michelle Dee who was recently introduced as one of the newest faces to model for homegrown fashion brand Bench. Michelle is Derek’s daughter with 1979 Miss International winner Melanie Marquez.

His other daughter with Melanie is 22 years old Maxine Dominique Marquez Dee-Bumgardner, former model and now a grade school teacher in Sandy, Utah U.S.A.

For the uninitiated (and I hope you don’t get to know this disease on an intimate level), here are some facts about Hepatitis C that I have gathered from the WHO webpage:

  • Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus: the virus can cause both acute and chronic hepatitis infection, ranging in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness.
  • The hepatitis C virus is a blood-borne virus and the most common modes of infection are through unsafe injection practices, inadequate sterilization of medical equipment, and the transfusion of unscreened blood and blood products.
  • Globally, between 130–150 million people have chronic hepatitis C infection.
  • A significant number of those who are chronically infected will develop liver cirrhosis or liver cancer.
  • Approximately 700 000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver diseases

“Four years ago, having Hepatitis C was a death sentence because there was no cure yet,” Derek Dee said during an interview. “The thing with Hepatitis C is, the symptoms don’t show up until it is too late, until you are already very ill. One of the most common causes of liver-based sicknesses is Hepatitis C.”

Derek is still here today telling his stories about his fight with the disease because HE WON!

That is also the reason why he decided to share his experiences and insights about the disease with other Hepatitis C patients and the public in general through his Facebook page, @hepcured and his website, hepcured.net.

“I had so much doubt getting into this because of the stigma. I didn’t really want to come out, I just wanted to keep quiet. But the mission came up when a friend I haven’t talked with in many years suddenly showed up and the first thing he told me was that he has Hepatitis C and he didn’t know anything about it, he was not aware that there is already a cure. Shortly after that incident, another friend got in touch with me, with the same story. That’s when I decided to speak up. It doesn’t matter what people will think of me, if my advocacy can save the lives of even a few, then it would have been worth it,” Derek explained.

Derek’s life was saved by his own persistence in researching for a cure. His initial search for a solution to his illness brought him many heartaches and disappointments. The only options he found were drugs which had deadly side effects and low cure rates.

After getting the treatment, he is now free of the virus and is officially cured. But he realized that these drugs are not affordable and accessible to many. This started him on a virtual journey looking for generic medicines, which led him to India. There, the cost is so much less (USD1,000) than the original price of USD90,000. With the new generic treatments that are very affordable and just as effective as the originals, the cure is now available to all.

hepatitis c

Derek believes that it is through constant updating and sharing of knowledge that the disease can be identified, battled, and defeated. Through HepCured, Hepatitis C patients can be part of a community of seekers for the cure, called The Cure Club. The Cure Club endeavors to search for treatments and remedies that are more accessibly priced and can be found in non-traditional sources.

Derek would like everyone to know that Hepatitis C is just a word, not a sentence. There is a way to beat it!

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