Second edition of Relay for Life Cancer walkathon to be held at American University of Sharjah

Sharjah: Following the huge impact the first Relay for Life event made in the lives of people touched by cancer in the UAE, Friends of Cancer Patients (FOCP) has announced the second edition of the UAE ‘Relay for Life’ walkathon, to be held on November 22-23, this year.

The 24-hour walkathon will continue to raise funds and increase awareness about fighting cancer in the region. Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Founder and patron of FOCP, Wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, endorses the second Relay for Life, which will be held at the American University of Sharjah.

Organised in collaboration with the American Cancer Society, Relay for Life is the largest fundraising event for cancer in the world and was held for the first time in the MENA region by FOCP -the UAE-based civil society organisation dedicated to raising awareness and funds for cancer treatment – in Sharjah in 2017.

Sawsan Jafar, Chairperson of FOCP Board of Directors, said: “We are proud to announce the second edition of Relay for Life in the MENA region, in collaboration with the American Cancer Society. With this walkathon we seek to build on the success of the 2017, which witnessed 2,500 people participating in the 24 hour event, with a large number of individuals and institutions involved. Around 52 schools, six universities, eight partners, in addition to 37 institutions from the public and private sectors and 84 cancer survivors, worked together with us to make a huge impact.”

She added: “Relay for Life is not only for people suffering from cancer and their families, but also for cancer survivors who showcase their stories of victory as a beacon of hope for everybody. It seeks to awaken the community spirit in all of us to stand in solidarity with those who suffer, remembering the loved ones we lost to cancer, and help in raising awareness and funds to fight the disease.

“We encourage everyone to join us at the American University of Sharjah on November 22 and 23 to walk, run, contribute or volunteer, or just be there to encourage the participants and their commitment to fighting cancer.”

The process of registration to participate in the event will be announced soon.

The Relay for Life UAE event will feature a series of sporting and other activities aimed at raising awareness and getting the UAE community to rally around those suffering and recovering from cancer.

A ‘Luminaria’ candle illumination event will be held as part of the activities in memory of loved ones whose lives were lost to cancer. Survivors will boost the morale of those suffering and their families at the ‘Survivors’ Tent’ by relating their experiences in defeating the disease and provide inspiration to patients who have been newly diagnosed. Several food and refreshment stands will be available at the venue. Their sales proceeds will be donated to FOCP.

The first Relay for Life was organised in the USA back in 1985 by a colorectal surgeon Dr. Gordy Klatt, who raised $27,000 for his local cancer charity. Since then the event has been adopted by the American Cancer Society and has gone on to become the largest fundraising event for cancer in the world. Currently taking place in more than 30 countries, Relay for Life has to date raised more than $5 billion in support of cancer patients worldwide.

Founded in 1999, FOCP was established to help alleviate the financial and emotional burden that cancer often imposes on patients and their families, and to promote awareness about the six early detectable forms of the disease; breast, cervical, prostate, skin, testicular and colorectal cancers. Apart from its awareness role, FOCP is committed to providing moral and financial support to thousands of patients and their families of all ages and nationalities across the UAE. To date, FOCP has provided support to more than 4,500 cancer patients and their families.