It’s been eight years since Arnel Pineda received that fateful email from Neal Schon of Journey inviting him to audition to be the lead vocalist of the legendary band.
It was an audition that set off a series of events that would change Pineda’s life forever, steering him toward a new course that was 20 years in the making. A personal journey, that is as fascinating as it is inspiring, from living in the streets to living it big and performing to jam-packed crowds all over the world.
And Pineda continues to have the time of his life.
“We just finished 55 shows this year in the US and Canada, so the band is taking a break muna, doing our own thing and preparing for another tour next year,” Pineda told The Standard.
“I’m committed to two more years with them so that would be around 120 shows, and I’m looking forward to my first decade with them” he added, dispelling rumors that he has left the band.
Pineda is also trying to finish a solo album every time he’s in the country– that is when he’s not busy appearing on TV as a guest or making up for lost time with his family.
Also keeping him busy are his advocacies, one is the Arnel Pineda Foundation, Inc. (APFI) that provides underprivileged children quality education, health services and medical attention, and the other is being the ambassador for the Win Against Asthma campaign of GlaxoSmithKline.
Together with actress Kim Chiu and Olympic Figure skater Michael Christian Martinez, Pineda is encouraging asthmatics to get proper treatment and not let their condition stop them from fulfilling their dreams.”
“I only found out that I had asthma around five years ago, which was also the busiest and most challenging years of my career. I found out that my asthma was triggered by allergies, mold, dust, and cigarette smoke. Being a singer its hard to have asthma attacks especially when you are just about to take the stage, so I always bring my medication with me and somehow developed a routine whenever I feel like I am going to have an attack.”
“My advice for asthmatics is to consult with your doctor and get properly diagnosed to see what triggers your asthma. Don’t be discouraged and don’t let asthma take over your life.”
Search for winners against asthma
Pineda met with 10 young asthmatic achievers at the awarding ceremony on Oct. 7 at Makati Shangri-la.
Launched in February 2015, the Search For Winners Against Asthma had more than 2,000 entries from young asthmatic achievers aged 30 years and younger who were eager to share their stories.
In the youth category 19 years old and below, Christian Lacza, a student from Navotas City was judged grand prize winner.
Christian is one of the 2014 Kabayan Ten Outstanding Public School Students, and 2014 Ten Outstanding Youth Leaders of Navotas City. He also was an awardee of the 2010 Gawad Huwarang Kabataan of the Antolin Oreta Sr. Foundation and Gawad Modelong Kabataan: Galing at Dangal ng Malabon of the Arnold Vicencio Foundation. He is also the youngest recipient of the Orator of the Year Award in Navotas National High School.
“Instead of letting asthma stop me I stopped asthma from interfering with my life as I pushed myself as a holistic learner– excelling in academics, student leadership and in various competitions.”
The runners up in the youth category are 15-year old student and dancer Christina Chua; taekwondo twins Andre Rafael and Anton Joachim Montero; consistent scholar Kenneth Angelo Bagay and Dave Andre Labaton who is also a medalist in taekwondo.
In the adult category, incoming third year medical student Teesha Banta was the winner. The 23-year old student at St. Luke’s College of Medicine was a full scholar in her first two years of med school and graduated cum laude at the University of the Philippines Los Baños with the degree of BS Biology major in Wildlife Biology.
She is a lifetime member in two international honor societies but besides her academic achievements, she is also actively involved in community service. As an active Girl Scout, Teesha received two of the highest awards given by the organization– the Chief Girl Scout Medal and is one the 75 GSP National Young Awardees. She had represented the country in national and international events, specifically as an advocate and a National Peer Educator on Adolescent Female Health.
“Asthma runs in our family but symptoms of severe asthma began when I was in college, which, unfortunately, was also the time when I was so involved in my schoolwork and scouting. My mother, who is a doctor and is also an asthmatic, helped me through most of my journey by taking care of me and reminding me to ‘ take my medicines. Actually, because of my asthma, I had to temporarily stop med school because bed rest was advised. But it did not stop me from taking a part-time job as a high school Science teacher. Besides being a doctor, teaching was my second dream job, Teesha narrates.
The other winners in the adult category are UP student Ianna Engaño an athlete, musician, artist and social activist; Yasmin Versoza a firefighter and member of the Marikina City Fire Truck crew; Christianne de Vera a triathlete; and Yliah Nina Bosch a registered nurse who is working as an Emergency Nurse Responder at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
The winners received the following prizes: Huawei P7 Smart Phone; P5,000 worth of gift checks from Folded & Hung and P25,000worth of Sodexo gift certificates.