Pink Caravan Ride Embarks on Nationwide Journey for Breast Cancer Awareness with its First Mobile Mammography Unit

• The eighth edition of the annual campaign is being supported by 230 equestrians, and will be featuring a specialised mobile mammography van for the first time
• The equestrian route of PCR 2018: Sharjah, Fujairah, Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain, Ajman, Abu Dhabi
• Free breast screenings and medical consultations will be offered at 30+ fixed clinics across the seven emirates

Sharjah, February 28, 2018 – Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, and 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), and in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Salem Al Qasimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, the eighth edition of the Pink Caravan Ride set off today (Wednesday) on a weeklong tour of the seven emirates to continue spreading breast cancer awareness and highlight the importance of early detection through its provision of free medical screenings and expert consultations to members of community.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Salem Al Qasimi, Royal Princess Ghida Talal, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the Amman-based King Hussein Cancer Foundation and Center; and HE Reem Bin Karam, Head of the Pink Caravan’s Higher Steering Committee witnessed the launch of Pink Caravan’s first permanent mobile mammography clinic, which will tour the seven emirates along with the campaign offering free breast and cervical cancer tests. The AED 15 million unit is equipped with state-of-the-art diagnostics equipment and latest technologies, and was brought to fruition through the generous patronage offered by the Sharjah Media Corporation (SMC).

After having toured through the emirate of Sharjah, the Pink Caravan Ride will be in Fujairah tomorrow. They will continue their journey into Dubai March 2 (Friday), and campaign across Ras Al Khaimah on the fourth day of the campaign (March 3). The fifth day of the ride (March 4) will cover the emirate of Umm Al Qurain, and on Day 6 (March 5) the campaign will be in Ajman. Staying true to tradition, the final day (March 6) of the awareness ride will be spent in the capital of Abu Dhabi, where the eighth edition’s closing ceremony will also be held.

This year, Pink Caravan Ride is witnessing participation from the largest number of equestrians who have volunteered in its seven-year history – 230 horse riders, including 150 locals, 65 from across the GCC and greater Arab region and 15 from Europe. More than 100 volunteers and over 200 medical practitioners have signed up to facilitate the proceedings of the campaign, and 30 fixed clinics have been set up across the seven emirates to offer free breast screenings and medical consultations.

The opening ceremony took place at the Sharjah Equestrian & Racing Club, in the presence of a galaxy of prominent local, regional and international figures including Sheikh Abdullah bin Majid Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Sharjah Equestrian Club and Racing Club; Sheikha Aisha Khalid Al Qasimi, Director of Sajaya Young Ladies of Sharjah; Royal Princess Ghida Talal; Major General Saif Al Zari Al Shamsi, Commander-in-Chief of Sharjah Police; Major General Saif Al Zari Al Shamsi, Commander-in-Chief of Sharjah Police; H.E. Abdullah Ali Al Mehyan, Chairman of Sharjah Health Authority; H.E. Ali Salim Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Airport Authority; Noura Al Noman, Chairperson of the Executive Office of H.H. Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi; Salem Al Qaseer, Chairman of Sharjah Labour Standards Development Authority (SLSDA); Mohammed Ahmed Abdullah Chief Executive Officer of Sharjah Islamic Bank; H.E. Reem BinKaram; and as well as heads and members of the Pink Caravan Ride’s committees and the ride’s partners and supporters, were also present at the event.

Also in attendance were Thabet Salem Al Turaifi, Director General of Sharjah Municipality; Mohammed Al Zarouni, Director of Sharjah Medical Zone; Modhi Mohammed Al Shamsi, Chairperson of the Department of Family Development Centres; Khawla Al Serkal, Director General of Sharjah Ladies Club; HE Salem Al Ghaithi, Director of Sharjah TV; and Tariq Saeed Allay Director, Sharjah Government Media Bureau.
In her opening ceremony keynote, HE Reem Bin Karam outlined the milestones achieved by the Pink Caravan since it was brought to existence in 2010.

“We stand here today to launch the eighth edition of the Pink Caravan Ride, a story whose chapters began in 2011 with immense support of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Founder and Royal Patron of the FoCP. The ‘community-to- community’ initiative was mainly launched to correct misconceptions and dispel myths related to breast cancer, enhance the awareness of the importance of early detection and educate the public and equip them with the knowledge of breast cancer, ways of prevention and significance of regular checkups to encounter the repercussions of the disease.”

Bin Karam added: “When we started, our dreams were big and our steps were modest, but with sincere faith and resolve, we have succeeded in taking our mission of spreading awareness further. Breast cancer is often associated with complete surrender, and hence many have not taken regular screenings seriously. Also, men have rejected the idea of getting examined for breast cancer, mistakenly assuming that they can never be at risk.”

She continued: “We started as a small team and worked several hours, equipped with the determination and hope. The first year of the campaign faced several difficulties due to community misconceptions. We have strived to change these with increasing awareness and hope with each passing year, and we have seen the reward in the number of people that have come forward firmly supporting our mission.”

Bin Karam went on to say: “Inspired by the strong belief cultivated in us by the support of His Highness Sheikh Sultan Al Qasimi, we now see our dreams realising faster than before, and see dozens of equestrians holding our banners of ‘pink hope’ spreading the Pink Caravan’s message of the importance of early detection and promoting awareness about breast cancer, which if detected early has a 98 percent chance of being completely cured.”

She referred to the big milestones achieved by the Pink Caravan, thanks to the support of government and private organisations, overwhelming community engagement and participation of unsung heroes – combined and effective efforts that have sensitised the public increasingly about the importance of early detection and the role undergoing regular medical screenings can play in ensuring the same.

An awarding ceremony was organised to honour the campaign’s long-standing sponsors including the Sharjah Islamic Bank, Sharjah Media Corporation, The Sharjah Equestrian & Racing Club, Sharjah Police General Directorate, Sharjah Health Authority, and dozens of other partners and ambassadors.

“Today, we are reaping the fruits of eight years of hard work and dedicated efforts, with the launch of the Pink Caravan’s Medical Mobile Clinic with generous support from the Sharjah Media Corporation, and the inauguration of dozens of medical clinics across the emirates. We have been recognised internationally too as we receive invitations from them to launch the Pink Caravan Ride in their countries. We deserve to be proud of all efforts that have stood tall and transformed the Pink Caravan Ride into a symbol of hope,” Bin Karam concluded.

During the ceremony, a short documentary highlighting the achievements and milestones of the Pink Caravan Ride in heightening awareness among community members and educating them about the disease over the past seven years was showcased. The documentary also shed light on the campaign’s activities and efforts that contributed to dispersing misconceptions surrounding the disease, and the major role it has played in empowering people with the knowledge of how to curb risk and prevent breast cancer from progressing to advanced stages through the free medical tests. ■