Two-time Olympian and Asia’s sprint queen of the 1980s Lydia De Vega-Mercado got a huge financial boost on Wednesday as she continues to battle cancer.
Known Philippine sports patron Chooks-to-Go, through its president Ronald Mascarinas, extended a helping hand to the 57-year-old runner once hailed “Asia’s fastest woman”.
De Vega-Mercado is currently in critical condition after undergoing brain surgery earlier this month.
“Madame Lydia is a living legend in Philippine sports, a true queen,” Mascarinas said of De Vega-Mercado. “During her heyday, she was someone we looked up to as she broke barriers for the Filipina athlete. Imagine, she won numerous Asian championships and dominated the Southeast Asian region for years. And she did it with class and flair that have yet to be matched up to this day.”
The embattled runner’s daughter, Stephanie and son-in-law David Koenigswarter, received the PhP 250,000 check that helped in the family’s hospital expenses.
“Sobrang heartwarming because hindi naman kaila sa atin na my mom left for Singapore to work there. Ngayon kasama na natin siya. We are very happy at we are very thankful sa lahat nang sumusuporta sa kanya at tumutulong para maka-recover siya,” Stephanie, a former volleyball player, shared.
“Hindi maganda ‘to ngayon na nangyayari sa buhay niya. Sinasabi nga namin na ito ‘yong pinakamalaking karera sa buhay nya. And we are happy na si Chooks-to-Go, kasama namin na tumutulong at nagdarasal para maka-recover ‘yong Mom ko dahil lahat gusto na mas matagal natin siyang makasama at hindi tayo nag-gi-give up for her, so lahat ng tulong binibigay natin para maka-recover siya.”
In a touching moment, it were Olympians Eumir Marcial (Tokyo 2020 bronze medalist) and Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco (Atlanta 1996 silver medalist) who handed the check personally to De Vega-Mercado’s kin.
One of the greatest Filipino athletes of all time, the bemedaled De Vega-Mercado won nine Southeast Asian Games gold medals from 1981 to 1993 across multiple athletics events (100m, 200m, 400m, 4x400m relay).
She also brought home a grand total of 10 medals — four golds, three silvers, and three bronzes — from her participation in the Asian Athletic Championships from 1979 to 1987.
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