Sharjah: Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and Founder and Royal Patron of Friends of Cancer Patients (FoCP), has called on all members of the Emirati community to play a part in the Relay for Life walkathon, the first-of-its-kind event in the MENA region.
Taking place on November 17-18 at American University of Sharjah (AUS), Relay for Life is a community fundraising event organised by FoCP in collaboration with the American Cancer Society to inspire hope for those who are fighting cancer and to provide support for them and their families.
Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi, who is the International Ambassador of the World Cancer Declaration for the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and International Ambassador for Childhood Cancer for UICC, has urged the public to participate in the UAE’s inaugural 24-hour walkathon challenge and its associated activities to show their solidarity with cancer patients and their loved ones.
Addressing the Emirati community, Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi said, “Relay for Life is a whole-hearted expression of our appreciation for life and a reflection of our strong support for those who are battling cancer. It is also a show of solidarity for the families of patients who dedicate their time and effort in caring for their loved ones who are fighting this disease.”
Her Highness added, “There is no doubt that the support of family, friends and society is one of the most important factors in helping those with cancer fight the disease. We must work together as a community to inspire hope for those who are battling cancer and to show our support for the supporters.”
Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi continued, “Raising awareness about cancer and its causes and providing psychological support for patients are just as important as generating funds to combat the disease. Relay for Life is a sublime human expression and a beacon of hope that represent great community efforts to provide all forms of support for patients and their families and to stand by their side during their cancer journey.”
Her Highness said, “We look forward to the day when cancer becomes a thing of the past. This can be achieved by concentrating our cooperation and working together. Relay for Life is a significant step in this direction and I take this opportunity to invite Emiratis and expatriate residents in the UAE to participate in the event, express their commitment to the fight against cancer and show their solidarity with cancer patients and their families.”
The MENA region’s first Relay for Life will take place around the athletics track at AUS, with the 24-hour walking challenge commencing at 4pm on Friday, November 17 and concluding the same time the next day. The overnight element of the walkathon has been designed to promote community solidarity with cancer patients who often feel lonely at night and to create to create a hallowed ambience where participants can remember and honour loved ones lost to cancer and as well as celebrate those who have survived the disease.
Relay for Life will generate funds through its registration fee, through merchandise sold at kiosks and through the individual ‘relayers’ and relayer team fundraising activities. All proceed generated from the walkathon will go towards supporting cancer patients and their families in the UAE.
Everyone is eligible to participate in the UAE Relay for Life. Tickets are priced at AED 100 for adults and AED 60 for children aged below 14 years. Individuals can register and encourage their friends and families to sponsor their participation and raise money for the cause. Further information about the event, how to donate funds and how to register, can be found at: www.focp.ae/relayforlifeuae.
The first ever Relay for Life took place in 1985 in the USA, when colorectal surgeon Dr. Gordy Klattorganised an event in Tacoma, Washington and raised $27,000 for his local cancer charity. The next year he succeeded in raising $33,000. Since then, the annual walkathon has gone on to become the largest fundraising event for cancer in the world and one that now takes place in 29 countries. The UAE is the most recent addition to its global network. Relay for Life has to date raised more than $5 billion (AED18.3 billion) in support of cancer patients worldwide.
Friends of Cancer Patients (FoCP) is a non-profit organisation that was founded in 1999 with the aim of spreading awareness about the six early detectable cancers; breast cancer, cervical cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer, testicular cancer and colon cancer. In addition to its awareness role, FoCP provides moral and financial support for thousands of patients and their families, irrespective of their nationality, creed and age. To date the organisation has provided support to 3,700 cancer patients and their families in the UAE.