The Pink Caravan Ride wrapped up its 10 day awareness campaign today after screening more than 5000 people across all seven Emirates in the UAE. The initiative, a pan-UAE breast cancer awareness drive by the Friends of Cancer Patients charity (FoCP), has now screened approximately 35000 men and woman of all nationalities since its inception five years ago.
The nationwide horseback trek covered 243km offering free breast cancer examinations to 5,000 male and female Emirati citizens and expatriates, bringing the total number of people examined to over 35,000 men and women of various nationalities and ages, over five years.
On the final day of the tour, the riders started from Sheikh Zayed Mosque, riding through Zayed Sports City, Yas Waterworld and finished at Galleria after traveling 17.3km. The riders stopped to distribute educational brochures and pamphlets and direct community members to the mobile clinics to get free examinations conducted by medical and nursing staff.
In its 5th year, the Pink Caravan has been honoured with the participation and continuous support of the UAE's wise leadership who showed their support by participating in its activities and events. This year saw the attendance and participation of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, HH Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, daughters of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum , Sheikha Salama and Sheikha Shamma, Sheikha Alia bint Khalid bin Saqr Al Qasimi, and Sheikh Sultan bin Khalid bin Saqr Al Qasimi.
An elite group of official figures, renowned artists, media personalities and sportsmen also took part in the 2015 ride, including Pink Caravan ambassadors, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Thani, Chairman of the Department of Statistics and Community Development in Sharjah, and TV presenters, Saoud Al Kaabi and Ameera Al Fadl, as well as artist Fayez Al Saeed, and Marwan Jassim Al Serkal, CEO of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq). Other prominent figures included Hala Al Gergawi, Executive Managing Editor of 'Zahrat Al Khaleej', Mohammed Al Musharakh, Member of FoCP's Board of Trustees, and Olimpia Tabbash Mascolo, Director General of Retail Department at Mohamed Hilal group, founder and partner of "Anfasic Dokhoon.
A highlight of this year's ride was the participation of world-class jockeys, including Tadhg O Shea, Richard Mullen, Pat Dobbs, Royston French, Sam Hitchcott, Adri de Vries, Paul Hanagan, Dane O Neil, Harry Bentley and Oisin Murphy. The jockeys participated in popular championships in the UAE and the region, winning many titles.
Ameera BinKaram, President of the Board of Trustees, founding member of FoCP and Chairperson of the Higher Organising Committee of the Pink Caravan Ride, said, "I’d like to thank all those who contributed to the success of the fifth annual ride, including partners, volunteers, sponsors, supporters, riders, doctors, nurses, media professionals and community members, whose cooperation and interaction have contributed significantly to the success of the Pink Caravan Ride and enabling it to offer examinations to over 5000 people throughout the journey."
Ameera said she believed this year's major success was in helping to break the barrier of fear and concern in some community members who were reluctant to undergo examinations for fear of discovering they have the disease, adding that mobile clinics saw dozens of entire families who came to benefit from early detection screenings. "Even children contributed to the Pink Caravan Ride by encouraging their parents to have a free medical examination in order to ensure they have the best possible chance of living a long and healthy life. The Pink Caravan will carry on with its mission and expand its scope of awareness campaigns and free examinations to ensure that everyone can have access to its services in all emirates throughout the year, thanks to its partners and supporters and the people's growing awareness about breast cancer," she said.
Ameera paid special tribute to Sharjah Media Corporation and Sharjah Islamic Bank for their ongoing support, adding that the Pink Caravan has succeeded in turning cancer from a personal issue to a community concern with members of society working together to beat the disease.
The Pink Caravan organised a host of educational and awareness-raising events, most notably the "Pink Bite" at Galleries Lafayette in Dubai Mall where a new record was set for the highest price paid for a burger at AED 25,960 ($7,000) during a charity auction. In total the event raised AED 72,180 thanks to Pink Caravan ambassadors who were divided into three teams to prepare burgers and sell them at the highest price.
To celebrate Mother's Day and raise awareness about the campaign, the Pink Caravan organised an event called "Mommy & Me", with the Women Sport Department at Sharjah Ladies Club and Children's Centres in Sharjah, at Al Majaz Waterfront. The event featured entertainment programmes for children and families and free mammogram screenings were also offered to mothers and girls who participated in the event. The medical and nursing staff presented instructions and guidance on breast cancer and ways of disease prevention.
Since its inception in 2011, the Pink Caravan has sought to raise awareness about the importance of early detection of breast cancer, and highlight the impact of the disease throughout the UAE. The Pink Caravan's efforts have contributed to dispelling misconceptions related to breast cancer, and providing financial and emotional support to breast cancer patients and their families. The Pink Caravan has played a significant role in reducing breast cancer’s incidence, and diminishing its progression to advanced stages through free screenings that help protect the lives of citizens and residents across the country.