Sultan sends off equestrians for 10th Pink Caravan Ride from Sharjah Equestrian and Racing Club on Wednesday morning. Kamal Kassim/Gulf Today
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah and Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of the Ruler of Sharjah and Founder/Patron of the Friends of Cancer Patients (FoCP), led the flagoff of the 10th “Pink Caravan Ride” (PCR) from the grounds of the Sharjah Equestrian and Racing Club on windy Wednesday morning.
Slogan-ed “Plenty Is Not Enough,” the caravan offers a glimpse of the growing volunteerism and interest in humanitarian endeavour across the seven emirates.
Six hundred people of various nationalities—100 volunteers, 150 first-time and repeat participating horse riders, and 350 doctors and health professionals – would be touching lives with those who have the time for the 10-day breast cancer awareness campaign-cum-consultations in 75 volunteer clinics operational from as early as 9am to 10pm alongside the technologically-advanced mobile clinic, starting Wednesday afternoon in Sharjah.
Among the riders is Sharjah Department of Government Relations chairman/PCR special envoy/global advocate Sheikh Fahim Al Qasimi.
The calendar: Feb.27 (Thursday), Sharjah; Feb.28 and 29 (Friday and Saturday), Dubai; Mar.1 (Sunday), Fujairah; Mar.2 (Monday), Ras Al Khaimah; Mar.3 (Tuesday), Umm Al Quwain; Mar.4 (Wednesday), Ajman; Mar.5 and 6 (Thursday and Friday), Abu Dhabi.
At the opening ceremonies, Sheikh Sultan and Sheikha Jawaher underscored in their respective speeches the value of volunteerism and its positive consequences.
Sheikh Sultan urged everyone to do their part in ingraining in children volunteerism and help them grow with it so that they value life more and do all they can to preserve it.
“Society does not develop and grow without combined efforts. We want to pass on to our children the values of volunteerism and community service. We want to tell our donors and supporters that their contribution of Dhs1.00 is worth one million when we put in the hands of those who are tackling the increasing number of cancer cases in the UAE and around the world.”
Sheikh Sultan said there is no let-up in the pursuit of a cancer-free society which Sheikha Jawaher had initiated through the first PCR in 2011.
“On behalf of Sharjah, Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher has led tremendous efforts to establish several centres dedicated to cancer awareness, treatment and research around the world. In mid-March, the UAE will witness the launch of the Sharjah Research Centre for Cancer. Also, a new building for the National Cancer Institute in Cairo University will be inaugurated. Please thank Her Highness for her tremendous efforts.”
Sheikha Jawaher said she has seen progressing breast cancer awareness and zealousness for volunteerism since 2011.
“I see a reflection of every human and cultural value our Emirati society is built upon. I am assured that the hope and determination you carry in your hearts will forever safeguard our future. Our nation’s continued progress is not based on material possessions, but an abundance of human wealth.”
Sheikha Jawaher also said, “Our son Sheikh Fahim Al Qasimi joins the 10th (PCR).”
A panel discussion on “Social Returns on Investment: A Driver of Sustainable Access to Quality Cancer Screening was moderated by PCR-Medical and Awareness Committee head/FoCP director general Dr Sawsan Al Madhi.
On the sidelines, panellist Gulf Centre for Cancer Control & Prevention (Saudi Arabia) deputy director/oncology consultant Dr Saleh Al Othman reiterated what he had stated regarding the implications of credible data collection on all cancer cases by all governments and the private sector.
“Data gathering is the pathway for us to have solutions to all cancer cases. In the last 15 years, (over) 50 per cent of what we had recorded were already in the advanced stages. We are only going to beat and solve cancer cases at a 95 per cent success rate if we have data collection, early detections and diagnoses. The GCC has a young population and by 2030, (if we are unable to track these down at the earliest stages because of poor data collection, the situation would be grimmer).”
Wide Impact senior consultant Dr. Salam Slim said long-term health advocacies depend on abounding community service and volunteerism.
With 64,012 free medical screenings, support of 795 medical clinics, and over 300,000 volunteering hours since its inception in 2011, Pink Caravan — an initiative dedicated to raising awareness for early detection of cancer, rides resolutely into its 10th year
There are seven “fixed clinics” across the country at the ongoing 10-day Pink Caravan Ride free breast cancer awareness-cum-consultations of the Sharjah-based charity organization Friends of Cancer Patients.
There are many myths regarding the disease that has led to delays in detection and treatment that could have possibly saved lives.
Only 6 women tested positive out of a total of 11,007 people screened; 4,296 checkups and screenings in Sharjah. Amongst the six cases detected at the 10th edition of the Pink Caravan Ride, two women were from Egypt and one each hailed from Morocco, Iran, Jordan, and Bangladesh.
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