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Raising hope for cancer patients, UAE turns pink.

Summary: Dr Shaikh Sultan signed an agreement to buy and equip a mobile clinic which will be sent to the University Hospital-Sharjah, UHS.

His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, launched the Pink Caravan Ride 2016 on Monday at the Sharjah Equestrian and Racing Club.

The ride under the theme "Soldiers of Pink Hope" will run until March 17, aiming to enhance community awareness about breast cancer, the importance of early detection, and to offer free breast cancer screenings for men and women across the country during the 10 days of the ride.

In his keynote speech, Dr Shaikh Sultan confirmed that the UAE will always be the land of hope and praised the humanitarian role of the Friends of Cancer Patients organisation, established in 1999, and its various initiatives, particularly Pink Caravan, that have widely contributed to the spread of hope and awareness.

Dr Shaikh Sultan added: "Today the Soldiers of Pink Hope are setting off on the sixth march of the Pink Caravan, riding all over the UAE, calling everyone for a check-up. Let's support them by repeating the same call, as it means hope in life".

He thanked the members of Friends of Cancer Patients society and members of the Pink Caravan initiative led by Shaikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi. "Let us cooperate in spreading the message of the Pink Caravan," he added.

Dr Shaikh Sultan signed an agreement to buy and equip a mobile clinic which will be sent to the University Hospital-Sharjah, UHS, which will manage its operation, in cooperation with the Friends of Cancer Patients and Gustave Roussy Institute.

A short documentary featuring the achievements and milestones made by the Pink Caravan over the past five years was screened during the event.

In her speech, Ameera BinKaram, Founding Member and President of FoCP's Board of Trustees and Chairperson of the Pink Caravan's Higher Steering Committee confirmed that the initiative came out of a society which manages to exemplify the values of mutualism, solidarity and collaboration to the whole world. She added that Pink Caravan distinguishes itself, as it comes from within the community to serve the same community.

"We watched some unforgettable moments of the Pink Caravan Ride during the past five years accompanied by the inspirational words of wisdom by Dr Shaikh Sultan who said: "You guide others to do good deeds, and the good deed guider is the same as good deeds actor." The Pink Caravan's higher organising committee approved the theme for its sixth annual ride to be "Soldiers of Pink Hope" in recognition of all individuals and organisations who have dedicated their time, effort and money to do good deeds and help in spreading the "Pink Hope" in the UAE.

Mobile clinic

BinKaram announced the inauguration of the CareVan mobile clinic that offers free breast cancer tests throughout the year, with the grace of Dr Shaikh Sultan, patron of the Pink Caravan. The state-of-art mobile mammography unit will be equipped with the latest technological devices in this field thanks to the Sharjah Media Corporation for its generous donation, and Sharjah Islamic Bank for its continuous support.

BinKaram called on community members to follow the Pink Caravan's news and updates via its pages on social media (ThePinkCaravan) and Pink Caravan's app. She urged people to help convey the message of spreading awareness and hope, and to give the entire Emirati community an opportunity to benefit from free screenings offered by the Pink Caravan. BinKaram also called on people to donate and raise funds by setting up their own page on Pink Caravan's JustGiving page .

Shaikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Sharjah Media Corporation, said: "The initiative enjoys the immense support and follow up of Shaikha Jawaher, who wanted to spread awareness, the message of love and hope for a better and healthy future for all community members. The Pink Caravan became the focus of global attention due to its unprecedented achievements of promoting breast cancer awareness all around the globe.

Shaikh Sultan bin Ahmed reaffirmed the support for the Pink Caravan by all radio stations and television channels that fall under the umbrella of the Sharjah Media Corporation, by expanding their coverage of this year's ride, to enable it to deliver its message to a wider audience in the UAE and beyond.

Dr. Cary Adams praised the efforts made by Dr Shaikh Sultan in supporting the Pink Caravan, as well as his donation of Arabian horses from Al Qasimi Stables to support the initiative's efforts in spreading awareness about breast cancer and providing free examinations to people in the UAE.

Adams emphasised that the patronage and support of Shaikha Jawaher allowed the Pink Caravan to become this shining beacon of hope in the lives of those who are concerned about breast cancer. Her work within the realm of cancer is a source of inspiration to all doctors, nurses, horse riders and volunteers to work together against breast cancer. He noted that Islamic teachings and the UAE leadership's directives for the concept of "giving", is great humanitarian work that must be emulated by the entire world.

Andre Freeman, Managing Partner of IIN Healthcare Company, which supervises the design of the mobile clinic, CareVan, illustrated that the mammography unit will be equipped with the latest devices for the early detection of breast cancer and other related tests. He confirmed that the unit will provide free screenings throughout the year in various parts of the UAE.

At the end of the ceremony, Dr Shaikh Sultan gave the go-ahead for the start of the Pink Caravan Ride, which started its 10-day journey from the Sharjah Equestrian and Racing Club, and stopped at Al Dhaid Hospital, at 4.30pm, after travelling 16,76km.

On the second day, today, riders will move from Al Dhaid Hospital at 9am to reach their stop at Masafi Hospital at 4:30pm, travelling 21.5km.

On day 3, Wednesday, the horseback expedition will flag off from City Centre Fujairah at 9am, heading to Khorfakkan and arriving at Oceanic Khorfakkan Resort at 4.30pm, cutting 22.8km.

Prior to the start, the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) announced that it will allocate one of the tour buses of the City Sightseeing Sharjah, which was launched in collaboration with the City Sightseeing Worldwide, the world's leading open top bus tour operator, for the Pink Caravan. The proceeds of the tour bus for a whole month will go to the Pink Caravan. The bus and its sight-seeing stations will be decorated with the colours and themes of the Pink Caravan, to promote its mission and encourage community members and tourists to donate.

Breast cancer centre

Following the ceremony, Dr Shaikh Sultan inaugurated the Sharjah Breast Centre, the first of its kind medical facility that offers comprehensive and multidisciplinary breast cancer treatment in one visit.

The Sharjah Breast Centre offers advanced cancer treatment and surgical solutions as it is the only centre-based programme for breast cancer treatment in the UAE that offers comprehensive and multidisciplinary treatment that includes rapid diagnosis of breast lesions, the development of a treatment pathway, breast cancer surgery - including oncoplastic (reconstructive and plastic surgery) and the administration of chemotherapy.

Abdulla Ali Al Mahyan, chairman of the Board of Trustees, University Hospital Sharjah said: "Under the direction of Dr Shaikh Sultan, University Hospital, Sharjah, has opened the Sharjah Breast Care Centre, which will represent a significant step forward in the battle against the most prevalent form of cancer for women in the UAE."

"The hospital's newest facility will not only offer a unique concept to the UAE healthcare market by working with Pink Caravan and Europe's leading oncology centre, Gustave Roussy, but will also provide a service that will alleviate the anxiety of the tests for many patients - with the 24-hour diagnosis and treatment services," Al Mahyan added.

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Publication:Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:Mar 8, 2016
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