In between showbiz commitments, business and filial management, action star Derek Dee (“Sa Bingit ng Kamatayan,” “Rumble Boy,” “Matira ang Matibay,” “Angel on Fire,” Maglulupa Man Ako,” etc.) engaged in a socio-civic project called HepCured, an online drive in the awareness, prevention and treatment of the dreaded Hepatitis C.
“HepCured isn’t an organization. It’s just a personal initiative,” clarified Derek in an exclusive interview in Makati City recently.
The campaign all started when Dee was belatedly diagnosed with Hepa C, a disease caused by HCV that usually affects and inflames the liver, which could lead to cirrhosis if not immediately addressed.
According to Derek, he was in Bangkok, Thailand with his former partner to undergo an In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) when the doctor found out during the blood test he had HCV in his system.
“I readily sought the medical advice of professionals. It was an ordeal,” he said.
The prescribed meds were very expensive and rare, which could only be bought in the US.
What Derek did was to research and look for other pharmaceuticals, particularly in Asia, which could deliver a relatively cheaper cure of HCV. He eventually found one in India which was less expensive than the US brand.
The actor had endured the rigid treatment and found a lot of improvement. Now, he is completely healed.
According to Derek, he was sure he contracted the HCV from using contaminated needles during her drug addiction in the 70s.
He was hooked on drugs for years because of peer influence. Then he suddenly realized his shenanigans when he thought and decided to place himself in a rehab. As a matter of fact, Derek was reformed at DARE Foundation, the same refuge center where actor Rafael “Bembol” Roco, Jr. was housed. “Bembol was in Landas (Baguio) when I entered rehab and I was in Silahis (formerly at Fort Bonifacio). When I got to Baguio, Bembol already had graduated,” recalled Dee.
Three women in Derek’s life are happy he has been cured of Hepa C, namely, his former wife 1979 Miss International Melanie Marquez and their daughters Maxine and Michelle Dee, the latter the 2022 Miss Universe PH Tourism.
While Melanie and Maxine are mostly abroad, Michelle is the one physically closest to him as the latter is based in the Philippines. “I entrusted Michelle in the management of our real estate business,” informed he.
At the moment, Derek helps friends and strangers in their diagnosis and treatment of Hepa C, especially in finding reasonably priced meds. “Just link with me through my Facebook account, Derek Dee, and I’ll do the rest,” he assured.
Meanwhile, in his movie career, Derek said he’s taking his time to appear in film and television. “I want more challenging roles. I don’t harbor illusions that I am still a young actor.”