The official launch date of the Pink Caravan Ride, the annual breast cancer awareness drive, has been set for March 7th by Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of the Ruler of Sharjah, Founder and Royal Patron of the Friends of Cancer Patients (FoCP), International Ambassador of the World Cancer Declaration for Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and International Ambassador for Childhood Cancer for UICC.
The Pink Caravan Ride 2016 will run from March 7 to 17 and will see over 100 horseback riders, medical teams and volunteers promote public awareness about breast cancer, the importance of early detection examinations and to offer free screenings for everyone.
Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi expressed pride in the Pink Caravan’s achievements made over the past five years which have seen a progressive leap forward in the way the disease is understood and dealt with in the UAE.
Through educational and awareness programs the Pink Caravan has helped to dispel myths related to the disease and encouraged thousands of women and men of all nationalities and ages to undergo early detection screenings and regular checkups.
To date, Pink Caravan has succeeded in offering free screenings to 36,332 women and men throughout the UAE’s seven emirates. The Pink Caravan has also gained considerable success in raising awareness about the importance of early breast cancer detection.
HH Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi said, “The Pink Caravan Ride will continue as long as the challenge imposed by breast cancer still exists. We therefore call on all community segments, government entities, private institutions and civil society organisations, to support and interact with the Pink Caravan’s activities and programmes. It has been proven that collaboration and solidarity between citizens and residents can make a big difference and positive impact. This is why we will continue to mobilize support and unite all efforts to raise awareness about breast cancer and the need for early detection and regular examinations to prevent its consequences and offer free screenings to all Emiratis and residents.”
Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher added that the Pink Caravan Ride is part of the UAE’s strategy to ensure people’s happiness and the wellbeing of its residents saying, “We urge everyone to actively engage in its activities and contribute to helping it pursue its mission and achieve its goals. We do not want any Emiratis or residents living in the UAE to suffer from the physical and psychological pains caused by breast cancer. We neither want any family to suffer from the painful, grave effects caused by all types of cancer that are curable, treatable and survivable if detected early.”
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer affecting women worldwide with approximately 1.1 million women across the world diagnosed with breast cancer every year, 410,000 of whom will die of the disease. But if found in the early stages, 98% of women can be completely treated and cured and figures show that 80% of women’s breast cancers are detected by women during self-examination.
Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi urged all organisations and individuals in the UAE to contribute to supporting the Pink Caravan Ride in realizing its aims to ensure the health and well-being of the UAE community. “With faith, determination, a firm will and patience, we can achieve what we aspire to do. Despite the short span of its experience, the Pink Caravan has achieved real success and received praise and appreciation from prestigious medical institutions, experts and specialists from all over the world,” she said.
The Pink Caravan organizes an annual horseback expedition that travels across all seven emirates, accompanied by its riders, mobile clinics and media teams. The ride kicks off from the emirate of Sharjah and concludes in Abu Dhabi. During the 10-day ride, the medical staff offer free breast cancer screenings to all community members, and raise breast cancer awareness through distribution of brochures and organizing lectures and workshops on how to perform self-examination, methods of dealing with the disease and to provide support to patients.
Since its inception in 2011, the Pink Caravan’s efforts have greatly contributed to dispelling misconceptions related to breast cancer, and provided financial and emotional support to patients and their families. The Pink Caravan has also played a major role in achieving early diagnosis in the region through free screenings offered to citizens and residents across the UAE. Launched in 2010 by Friends of Cancer Patients (FoCP) on its 10th anniversary to further the work of the FoCP, it seeks to dispel misconceptions surrounding breast cancer and early detection, while offering free breast cancer examinations to all across the country, both Emiratis and expatriates. It also aims to unify efforts to fight breast cancer and promote the culture of voluntarism and charitable work.