PCR asserts intention to keep rolling with 10th edition slogan

  • Monday 24, February 2020 12:44 PM
Sharjah24: When the Pink Caravan begins to roll its ‘caravan’ for its annual awareness-and-detection drive across the seven emirates from February 26 to March 6, it will be for the tenth time since its inception in 2011. The latest edition of the Pink Caravan Ride (PCR) – a breast cancer awareness initiative of the Sharjah-based non-profit Friends Of Cancer Patients (FOCP) – will be the biggest one so far.
There will be over 350 medical experts available for consultations at over 70 fixed and mobile clinics, while 150 equine volunteers will join them in spreading awareness about breast cancer over a period of 10 days.

The reason for this year’s ramped up programme is explained by its slogan: ‘Plenty is not Enough’. The ride has grown in size over the years not only because of the positive response it’s events and activities has been evoking over the years and the number of lives the campaign has touched across the UAE. It is a reaffirmation of the campaign’s efforts to promote health and well-being, and is aligned with the UAE’s National Wellbeing Framework and human-centric development within its Vision 2021.

Thus, despite conducting a total of 64,012 free medical screenings worth over AED 30 million delivered through 795 medical clinics; traversing 1,800 km across the UAE with 670 volunteering equines; mobilising 810 volunteers who put in a total of 280,000 volunteering hours; and being supported by numerous medical partners who helped the campaign test 75 individuals positive for breast cancer over the past nine years, the PCR keeps growing in size and importance because however many screenings and awareness sessions it conducts, ‘Plenty is Not Enough’ to contain breast cancer, which is on the rise along with other common malignancies, as indicated by international sources.

The good news is that 98 percent of breast cancer cases are curable if detected early. Initiatives such as Pink Caravan are helping to make the UAE’s goal of bringing down cancer fatalities by 18 percent before 2021 attainable.

“The idea of the Pink Caravan Ride stems from the fact that since cancer is a taboo subject, most people would rather ignore it than take action,” says Her Excellency Reem BinKaram, Head of Pink Caravan’s Higher Steering Committee. “That is why PCR chose to go beyond awareness programmes and take early detection and screening tests to the people without waiting for them to respond to our appeals to get tested. When a person sees a fully equipped and staffed mobile screening unit waiting right there after she or he is made aware of the advantages of getting tested, then chances that they will get themselves screened immediately, are almost as high as 100 percent.”

She added: “Thus, in keeping with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and his wife, Her Highness Sheikha Jawahar bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Founder and Patron of FOCP, PCR reaffirms its commitment to the people of our country as the campaign turns 10. Plenty is not enough because there is always more that can be done to empower communities with awareness and access to better healthcare services.”

Future plans
Pink Caravan plans to increase the number of screenings in the coming years to keep pace with the growing number of people who come to get tested at its clinics. Consequently, they are planning to increase the number of clinics and recruit more medical personnel an volunteers to man them, in order to service not only the UAE but also part of the Gulf region so as to benefit a larger number of people and create more positive outcome in the region.

This follows a study from the World Health Organisation that shows that the number of new cancer cases is expected to increase in both high and low/middle income countries over the years.

She concluded: “The fight against breast cancer means doing whatever it takes to ensure that everyone has the access and education to get tested as often as medically suggested, and treated, regardless of their gender, age, background, financial situation, and location.”

In recognition of this, PCR aims to hold at least 10,000 screenings during this edition. As their slogan proclaims, plenty is never enough.