The success of Pink Caravan’s journey should not be measured by the kilometers it travelled in the past six years, but by the number of detections, free screenings and medical advice provided by brave giving women who completely committed to the nation’s health and safety, His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah has said.
He added, “The Pink Caravan Ride does not just give a call for breast cancer screenings – it takes awareness, hope and medical expertise from emirate to emirate, making early detection screenings and advice more than accessible to the citizens and residents of the nation. I call out to all women sitting at home to come forward and take a screening test during the PCR campaign. Early detection is one of the best ways of defeating breast cancer.”
The Ruler of Sharjah was speaking during the opening ceremony of the 7th Pink Caravan Ride on Tuesday.
The Sharjah Equestrian and Racing Club was dressed in the most vibrant shades of pink on a bright March morning, where the Ruler of Sharjah and his wife H.H. 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, arrived to attend the opening ceremony of the seventh annual Pink Caravan Ride (PCR), on Tuesday.
Themed ‘Seven Years.. For Seven Emirates’, the 10-day ride will cover all seven emirates from 7th to 17th March, offering free breast cancer screenings, raising awareness about the disease, and spreading the message of the importance of early detection.
“Everyone watching and listening to this, don’t stay away from the great actions that will be taken during this seventh ride. Its success depends upon your participation and giving,” Sheikh Sultan Al Qasimi added.
To conclude an inspiring address, the Ruler of Sharjah said, “Inshallah when we gather next year for another edition of PCR, I hope the Pink Caravan can share that all screenings undertaken came out cancer-free. This is achievable when everyone joins hands in safeguarding their own health and that of others.”
He inaugurated the ride’s first-ever fixed medical clinic, one located in every emirate offering free medical examinations until the 17th of March.
Praising the Pink Caravan’s efforts in her keynote speech, Sheikha Jawaher noted how they have transcended their traditional role of raising awareness to become a global example of humanitarian action, where individuals and organisations have united to ensure the safety, health and well-being of the entire UAE community.
“As we are travelling the ride of giving and goodness, we recall the efforts of the late Ameera Bin Karam, one of the key founders of the Pink Caravan, who directed the ride of love and giving with her humanitarian spirit, to raise awareness and give hope and ignite courage. Ameera supported the PCR since its inception, and she initiated preparations for the current edition of the ride, writing her final chapter with more love and giving,” Sheikha Jawaher noted.
“To memorialise her tireless efforts, we launched the ‘Ameera Fund’ in October, whose proceeds will be used to treat cancer patients. I urge everyone – private companies, banks, businesspersons and charity organisations to support the Ameera Fund, and help cancer patients,” she added.
She extended her profound thanks to the Ruler of Sharjah for his patronage of the PCR over the years. Sheikha Jawaher also thanked all sponsors, the organising committee, the jockeys, the medical team, and volunteers who work tirelessly to ensure the success of PCR.
The launch ceremony was attended by Her Royal Highness Princess Dina Mired, President of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC); Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq); Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of Sharjah Media Council; Abdul Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention; Dr. Hussain Abdul Rahman Al Rand, Assistant Under-Secretary for Health Centres and Clinics and Public Health at the Ministry of Health and Prevention; Reem Bin Karam, Chairperson of the Pink Caravan’s Higher Organising Committee, Jose Luis Castro, Chairman of the Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) Alliance; Erdem Ozan, Consul General of Turkey to UAE; Dr. Cary Adams, Chief Executive Officer of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC); Katie Dain, Executive Director of the Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) Alliance; and Dr. Arnold M. Baskies, CEO of the American Cancer Society.
Other notable attendees included Dr. Khaled Ahmed Saleh, Secretary-General of the Gulf Cancer Union, Shatha AL Dahash, Director General of Zahra Breast Cancer Association in Saudi Arabia, Dr. Saleh Al Othman, Deputy Executive Director at Gulf Centre for Cancer Control and Prevention, as well as Pink Caravan’s ambassadors and local, Arab and international media representatives.
Reem Bin Karam said that PCR reflects the values of giving and goodness, conveying a strong message of hope and love from all Emiratis to the rest of the world.
“The successive Pink Caravan rides have not just been carried out on horsebacks. It rides, more importantly, on the values of hope and giving, and draws from the big hearts of the UAE nationals – values that have been passed on to us by our nation’s wise and kind leadership,” she said.
“Our campaign has far exceeded its role as a cancer awareness initiative, and become a bigger initiative of ‘giving’. We hope this seventh edition surpasses all previous acts of giving and support, in a true celebration of the ‘UAE Year of Giving’. We are extremely proud of our nation’s collective goodness,” she added.
Congratulating Sharjah and the Pink Caravan for their efforts towards achieving the nation’s dream of health and happiness, Dr. Hussain Abdul Rahman Al Rand said, “About 24% deaths among women in the UAE is caused by breast cancer, and 11% of other cancers combining both men and women – a result of smoking and other poor lifestyle choices. I wish PCR the very best in their seventh annual journey for promoting and enhancing health and wellness across the UAE. I also extend my profound gratitude to the royal family of Sharjah for their continued guidance and support to this great cause.”
During the ceremony, a short documentary was shown, featuring achievements and milestones made by the Pink Caravan over the past six years, raising awareness about breast cancer and highlighting the importance of early detection across the UAE.
Over the past six years, the PCR has travelled over 1,440 km across the seven emirates, offering breast cancer screening worth AED 24 million for more than 41,000 people through 450 mobile medical clinics. It attracted over 400 riders and 600 volunteers, who did more than 200,000 volunteering hours, which equals 23 years of voluntary action. For the first time this year, the PCR will provide a fixed medical clinic in each emirate during the 10-day ride.
At the end of the ceremony, Sheikh Sultan Al Qasimi gave the go-ahead signal to launch the Pink Caravan Ride, which started from the Sharjah Equestrian and Racing Club, and stopped at Masafi Hospital, traveling 16 km.
In conjunction with the ‘Year of Giving 2017’ in UAE, donations for the Pink Caravan, as low as AED 5 can be made by sending an SMS to 2302 (Etisalat or du). Direct fund transfers can be made to Pink Caravan’s Sharjah Islamic Bank account. The global online social platform ‘JustGiving’, or PC’s official website, their Facebook account – ThePinkCaravan, or their mobile app – Pink Caravan, can also be used for making donations.