SHARJAH, 23rd February, 2018 (WAM) — Over the past seven years, thousands have benefited from the free medical services offered by the Pink Caravan, whose clinical cadres and administrative committees have dedicated many volunteer hours to the cause. Since its inception, a total of 48,874 women and men have benefited from free medical examinations and consultations, worth AED 28.3 million.
Pink Caravan Ride, the annual pan-UAE breast cancer awareness campaign, was launched in 2011 under the vision and guidance of H.H. Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of H.H. the Ruler of Sharjah, and Founder and Royal Patron of the Friends of Cancer Patients (FoCP), to heighten the public’s knowledge about breast cancer and make increase awareness about the difference early detection can make in successfully treating the disease.
Such a remarkable outcome would not have been possible without the unfailing volunteerism of the Pink Caravan’s unsung heroes, including doctors, nurses, administrative and supervisory committees, riders and volunteers who joined the campaign from across the UAE and represent diverse nationalities. These volunteers have invested a total of 280,000 hours in selfless community service – hours that add up to working 24 hours straight for 32 years.
These volunteers have aligned their efforts with Pink Caravan’s mission to achieve one goal – combat breast cancer, heighten community awareness and disperse misconceptions related to the disease.
The Pink Caravan Ride would have remained a dream had doctors, nurses, volunteers, riders, administrators and volunteers from across the nation not considered the campaign’s objectives as their own, and dedicated 280,000 volunteer hours, equivalent to 32 years of 24/7 volunteering to the cause. This reflects the overall sentiment towards humanitarian causes in the UAE, which is known for the kind of charitable giving that surpasses religion, race, ethnicity or any such consideration.
With regard to the Pink Caravan’s medical team and staff members at mobile clinics, the average number of participating medical staff members each year is 83. The average working hours per volunteer is 15 hours per day, bringing the total hours to 165 hours per person in 11 days, and 13,695 hours in total. The seven-year cumulative comes to 95,865 hours.
The Pink Caravan Ride volunteering responsibilities range from caring for the horses to participating in the ride. Other responsibilities include ensuring that mobile clinic locations are ready to receive the public. They also offer technical and logistical support needed by teams accompanying the ride.
With respect to the Pink Caravan’s riders, the average working hours per rider is 13 hours a day, making it 143 hours over the 11-day ride. A total of 492 male and female riders have participated in the seven rides, dedicating 70,499 hours to the campaign.
Charitable efforts are not limited to field work, but extend to include administrative, supervisory and regulatory works undertaken by administrative bodies and subcommittees overseeing the Pink Caravan Ride who hold weekly meetings, starting in September each year.
The Pink Caravan has offered free medical check-ups to 39,231 women and 9,643 men. The typical cost of a breast cancer clinical examination is valued at AED 250, while the cost of one mammogram or ultrasound is AED 1,000.
The Pink Caravan offered mammograms to 3,454 people in 2011 to 2,152 persons in 2012, and 1,197 people in 2013. This figure rose to 1,546 people in 2014 and increased again to 1,722 persons in 2015. A total of 1,655 people benefited from mammograms in 2016, and 2,542 in 2017, constituting the second largest figure attained in Pink Caravan history. This brings the total number of people who benefited from mammograms to 14,287 over the past seven years.
From 2011 to 2016, Pink Caravan offered ultrasounds to 1,802 people, of whom 386 were checked in 2011, 325 in 2012, and 189 people in its third year. The number rose to 286 people in 2014, while 176 people benefited from ultrasound screenings in 2015, before the number rose dramatically to 440 persons in 2016. No ultrasounds were conducted in 2017 because all cases were referred for mammograms.
As for the total value of all examinations and breast screenings provided by the Pink Caravan over its seven years, statistics show that clinical examinations are valued at AED 12.2 million, while mammograms were worth AED 14.3 million and AED 1.8 million was spent on ultrasounds. This brings the total amount to AED 28.4 million that has been spent to offer free screenings and examinations to 48,874 people over the past seven years.
Reem BinKaram, Chairperson of the Higher Organising Committee of Pink Caravan Ride, note, “The Pink Caravan has made great efforts since its inception in 2011. It has provided crucial support to the UAE’s efforts in fighting cancer in general, and breast cancer, in particular, by offering free medical examinations and clinical screenings to thousands of UAE citizens and residents, both men and women. Today’s figures show that Pink Caravan has been, and still is, a pioneering agent in influencing positive change in society through charitable and voluntary work.”