Plant living reminders at Relay For Life cancer walkathon

  • Tuesday 19, November 2019 04:48 PM
Sharjah24: Plant seeds of hope as a living monument to your loved one with Relay For Life’s newly introduced activity, ‘Give a Ghaf’. The 24-hour cancer walkathon organised by UAE-based Friends of Cancer Patients (FOCP), will be held on November 22 – 23 at the American University of Sharjah, where participants and supporters can opt to partake in the Ghaf planting activity on the evening of November 22 in memory of those who were lost to cancer, or in support of those who have either survived or are currently battling the disease.
Ghaf - the UAE’s national tree and the symbol of the 2019 Year of Tolerance, is widely recognised as a source of stability in a desert landscape, Relay For Life seeks to inspire energy and encourage amongst participants to carry forward the memories of those whose lives were lost or have been profoundly affected by cancer.

“Planting a tree is perhaps the most fitting memorial to remember lives lost and a meaningful way to honour those who have survived against all odds,” said Badr Al Juaidi, project manager for RFL. “Watching a seed you have planted, sprout and blossom over the years is life-affirming and aids the healing process as you watch it slowly take root and grow into a living reminder of someone you love. A tree is also a celebration of life as it represents longevity and grows stronger with each passing year.”

Relay For Life is not merely a fundraising event to improve lives of cancer patients, it also has a greater purpose and seeks to bring together survivors, patients and supporters in the spirit of kinship and togetherness, he added. “Apart from its intrinsic cultural value in the UAE, we have specifically chosen to plant the Ghaf and as a vital source of life that brought the once nomadic community together under its shade and sustained them in many ways. The Ghaf is also a true survivor, for it has flourished in desert environments.”

By sharing personal experiences, and through the symbolic ceremony of planting a Ghaf and decorating the pot as a gesture of love, Relay For Life participants can stand in solidarity with cancer patients and their families.

To be part of the event, people can register online at in three ways – as a full team (comprising of two or more individuals), join an existing team, or individually. On-site registration can also be done at the venue.

Those interested can support the cause throughout the year by registering with the newly launched ‘RFL UAE’ mobile app that connects personal health goals to fundraising for cancer patients. The app will be useful both before and after the RFL 2019 walkathon as it can track users’ steps all year round, enabling them to raise a particular value in funds upon completing the fitness goal attached to each. The app allows users to be in a virtual relay and connected with the global RFL community always.

Main partners of RFL 2019 include Crescent Petroleum and Bank of Sharjah. Supporting partners include American University of Sharjah, National Network Communication, Bee’ah and Qimah Volunteering Team.