Sharjah-based Friends of Cancer Patients (FOCP) has been putting in tremendous effort to reduce breast cancer fatalities in the nation, for almost a decade. Their Pink Caravan Ride (PCR) breast cancer awareness campaign has mapped the UAE entirely, offering 64,000 free medical tests and screenings worth more than AED 37 million since it was launched in 2011.
In the process, the campaign has detected several positive cases and changed people’s lives by supporting expensive treatment costs – fuelled by the continued generosity of public and private sector entities as well as compassionate individuals who believe in FOCP’s cause.
Nearly AED 37 million cost of free medical examinations since 2011
The 2019 edition of the ride ended with 7,200 successful free medical examinations including breast screenings, bringing the total number to 64,012 with a total cost of more than AED 16 million since 2011. Each exam costed AED 250, while the ultrasound costed AED 1,000. PCR carried out 2,945 ultrasounds, which brings the cost to AED 2,945 million
Since the first ride, more than 18,630 suspected cases were referred to hospitals for mammogram test. Each test costs 1,000 bringing the total figure spent to AED 18,630 million.
In the 2019 PCR unearthed 11 positive cases, all of whom are receiving free treatment in leading cancer facilities in the UAE.
The non-profit has spent AED 1.77 million this year in patient support, with an additional AED 300,000 invested in genetic testing introduced this year to make treatment plans more effective.
The funds that PCR raised since 2017, AED 4,332,000 million was dedicated to the treatment of the 34 breast cancer patients detected through the PCR in the last 3 year. Bound by similar rules as any other non-profit in the world, FOCP has emphasised that for their outreach to be more widespread, their medical research to flourish and to be able to support more patients who cannot afford high treatments costs, they need the UAE’s populace to come forward to support this national cause ever more strongly.
Reem BinKaram, Head of PCR Higher Steering Committee said: “A proof of the Pink Caravan Ride’s success is the 73 beneficiaries we’ve been able to support through their arduous breast cancer journeys since 2011. This has been made possible by the unquestioning generosity and community spirit of the people of the UAE – citizens and residents, public and private organisations – who have been central to our furthering our mission of creating a healthier future for our country. The extent we can go to, to heighten people’s awareness about breast cancer, educate them about the benefits of early detection through regular check-ups, and offer patient support, is directly proportional to the UAE’s charitable spirit. Their willingness to create positive change in society.”
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are 3.1 million breast cancer survivors in the United States alone from 1989 to 2015. Worldwide, WHO’s study revealed that breast cancer survivors has doubled since 1990 attributed to the level of public awareness and the importance of early screening. Based on these facts, WHO declared October as the Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
“The UAE is determined to bring down cancer fatalities by nearly 18 per cent by 2021. So, it is now more important than ever, to double our efforts towards attaining this goal. I call on every individual in our beloved nation, celebrated globally for our humanitarianism, to continue supporting us in our mission to fight one of the most widespread cancers in the UAE and worldwide,” BinKaram added.
Up until 2018, PCR has attracted more than 600 medical experts, 810 volunteers, 674 riders. Together, these volunteers have spent more than 311,000 hours working for the cancer awareness rides.
The Pink Caravan Ride is organised by the UAE-based civil society organisation, Friends Of Cancer Patients (FOCP), under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah; and his wife Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, 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.