‘Let us Relay for Life,’ says FoCP board chairperson - GulfToday

‘Let us Relay for Life,’ says FoCP board chairperson


The organisers of the “Relay for Life UAE 2019” led by Friends of Cancer Patients-Board of Directors chairperson Sawsan Jaafar (fifth from left). Kamal Kassim/Gulf Today

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

Time to be inventive or creative again. Time to scramble for something new or old for a good cause.

The good cause is the “Relay for Life UAE 2019” or RFL from the Friends of Cancer Patients (FoCP) for fund-raising purposes since the first time in 2017.

The UAE is the 30th country in the world and the first in the Middle East and North Africa to adopt RFL since American colorectal surgeon Dr Gordon Klatt turned his hobby of evening track walks in Washington into a fund-raising campaign for research by the American Cancer Society. 

A new feature this 2019 is the RFL downloadable mobile application to help participants during and even after the Nov.22 to 23 evening walkathon/marathon at the American University of Sharjah (AUS) football field keep track of their health and fitness for cancers prevention.

Individual and team/group registrations at Dhs25 each with children under age 13 free, were open over www.focp.ae since Tuesday, according to Programme manager Badr Qasem Al Jaidi. 

Al Jaidi presented the flow of activities to the media on Tuesday.

Two cancer survivors, Nahla Sherif and Jessica March, talked about how the 2017 edition unceasingly help them to be grateful to God.

Sherif thanked the FoCP for her “medical journey and full recovery.”

She claimed it was the RFL which egged her on to be forward-looking: “It promotes hope. It is a big support to (all of us cancer victims and survivors).”

Sherif would join this year alongside 20 friends.

March learnt of her cancer a week after her participation with colleagues at the “Wadi Adventure Race” and continued attending her regular gym workouts to spare her husband and children from worries over her state of health and the necessary medications. She enlisted for the RFL in 2017, “I said let’s go for it. Cancer does not sleep. I hope to join this year. RFL makes patients feel like they are in a big circle of friends.”

Al Jaidi said the Dhs25 registration fee is part of the fund-raising campaign. RFL mementoes or souvenirs are on sale over the FoCP website.

He pointed out that all the fund-raising during the RFL must be FoCP-approved, when Gulf Today asked for other means to raise money at the event.

Al Jaidi mentioned of a family able to sell their personally designed bracelets; some sold home-made cookies; others brought in minimally-priced old literary stuff and books.

A Luminaria Ceremony is on the agenda wherein participants are encouraged to write a verse or two about their loved ones who had passed on and let them be the light and guide to the rest of the world.  Other activities for all ages have been lined up. AUS chancellor Prof. Kevin Mitchell anchored the participation of the university on one of their three mission and goals, the “commitment to civic responsibility.”

He said that though the university has no medical college, it has students endeavouring in the field of biomedical sciences and research, a big factor in the discovery of much better cancer therapies.

Information on the RFL to all the 5,000 AUS students and 339 faculty would be out soon.

In her welcome speech, FoCP-Board of Directors chairperson Sawsan Jaafar stressed: “Life gives in abundance and we should come forward and give back. Let us Relay for Life.”

According to the “Global Oncology Trends 2018 of the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science, worldwide spending on cancer therapies and support care products was at $133 billion in 2017 as against $96 billion in 2013. 

On Monday afternoon, Sharjah Health Authority (SHA) with the Medcare Hospitals and Medical Centres launched its four-month cervical cancer awareness campaign targeting all the women residents of the emirate to undergo cancer screening and learn about preventive measures.

SHA chairman Abdullah Ali Al Mahyan said: “Our mission is to provide and manage a sustainable healthcare system to the community that adopts international standards and continues to preserve the well-being of the emirate. Our partnership with Medcare to launch an emirate-wide drive that focuses on cervical cancer is critical to building a strong and healthy community.”

Al Mahyam and Aster DM Healthcare founder/chairman/managing director Dr Azad Moopen underscored that early detection is still the best way to prevent cancers to become “invasive cancers.”

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