It is that time of year in the UAE when Sharjah-based Friends of Cancer Patients’ (FoCP’s) annual cancer campaign, the Pink Caravan Ride, is back and will carry out a 10-day cancer awareness drive across the seven emirates from 7 to 17 March.
This will be the Ride’s the 7th edition under the theme ‘7 Years.. for 7 Emirates’, and celebrates the union of the seven emirates. It also strongly upholds the ‘spirit of giving’, as it boldly continues its mission to promote breast cancer awareness, spread the importance of early detection and organise free screenings across the UAE, regardless of age, sex or nationality.
Being held under the generous patronage of Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi, wife of the Ruler of Sharjah, Founder and Royal Patron of FoCP, International Ambassador for the World Cancer Declaration of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and International Ambassador for Childhood Cancer for UICC, the itinerary of this horseback expedition, including its equine route, medical route, fundraising initiatives, and events, was announced by the Higher Organising Committee of the Pink Caravan Ride at a press conference held on Tuesday at Flag Island.
In her welcome speech, Reem BinKaram, Chairperson of the Higher Organising Committee of the Pink Caravan Ride, said: "For the first time, the Pink Caravan Ride will see the inauguration of seven stationed clinics in the seven emirates. Medical teams at these clinics will receive people who want to undergo screenings, and take up visitor queries. These clinics will be stationed at Al Majaz Waterfront in Sharjah, Dubai City Walk, Abu Dhabi Corniche, Ajman Corniche, Al Hamra Mall in Ras Al Khaimah, Al Khazzan Healthcare Clinic in Umm Al Quwain. In Fujairah, it will be located at Al Khazan Health Center."
Bin Karam elaborated: "We are all here today – organisers and sponsors, doctors and nurses, riders and volunteers, media persons and audiences – to send a message of goodness far and wide. This is a reinforcement of our dedication to our community to help them lead a healthy life, and prepare a society fully aware of breast cancer. I would like to wholeheartedly thank all members, supporters and sponsors, who have taken us from strength to strength in helping us fulfill our vision and broaden the scope of our goals each year."
Expressing his pride in how the Sharjah Media Corporation (SMC) has been working hand in hand with the Pink Caravan as their media partner and support sponsor, Mohamed Khalaf, Manager of Sharjah TV and Radio, said: "Pink Caravan’s invaluable contribution to society propels us to continue to provide excellent media support and sponsorship. This initiative has been able to truly make a difference to the UAE, and has helped us fulfill our social and philanthropic mission in society. Six years ago, we assisted the Pink Caravan in their first purchase of a mobile clinic, and have not looked back since."
Praising all efforts made by the late Ameera BinKaram, former Chairperson of the Pink Caravan Organising Committee, he added: "She was the one who took the Pink Caravan from being a mere idea to making it an internationally recognised cancer awareness campaign."
Representing another sponsorship partner, Sharjah Islamic Bank, their Head of Organisational Excellence, Jassem Al Bloushi, said: Sharjah’s strong commitment in providing a good life to human beings irrespective of gender, age, or nationality deserves our complete support. We, at Sharjah Islamic Bank, are keen to fully participate in every FoCP and Pink Caravan initiative to safeguard the comfort and happiness of all."
"Despite dear Ameera’s passing, we will continue this march," he added.
Dr Ayesha Suhail, Director of Primary Healthcare, Ministry of Health and Prevention, said: "I hereby declare the Ministry of Health as full partners of the Pink Caravan Ride, which will set off on 7 March. We are well prepared for the campaign, and will provide free screenings and mammograms throughout the Ride."
Dr Sawsan Al Madhi, Director General of FoCP, and Head of Pink Caravan’s Medical Awareness Committee, along with Badr Al Juaidi, Head of Logistics Services Committee, discussed the categories of routes that PCR will undertake during the 10-day cross-emirate campaign.
Nada Askar Al Naqbi, Head of Events Committee, took stage to take the attendants through the Pink Caravan Ride’s activities and events itinerary.
"For the first time in Pink Caravan’s history, we will be hosting a ‘Pink Caravan Children’s Ride’ on Friday, 10 March at the Desert Palm Dubai from 2pm to 5pm. This Ride is aimed at teaching the nation’s youth the importance of humanitarian causes, thereby increasing their participation in the same," Al Naqbi said.
"A new highlight this year is ‘Pink Yoga, an exclusive event for women, organised in collaboration with the Dubai ladies Club," she added.
A special programme marking the closing ceremony of the Pink Caravan Ride will be showcased in Abu Dhabi on 17 March.