Pink Caravan Ride to kick off on Wednesday to offer free breast cancer screening

Sharjah: If you see the army of men and women on horseback wearing pink any time between February 28 and March 6, it’s your chance to get yourself checked for breast cancer for free.

The Pink Caravan Ride will begin its eighth annual ride around the country on Wednesday to heighten residents’ understanding about how important early detection is as it is the key to making 98 per cent malignancies of the breast completely curable.

Since 2011, the annual nationwide initiative by the Friends of Cancer Patients (FoCP) has been travelling across the UAE to spread breast cancer awareness. Thousands of volunteers have come forward to serve the community in all aspects.

The Pink Caravan was launched in 2011 under the directives and support of Shaikha Jawaher Bint Mohammad Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah.

Shaikha Jawaher, Founder and Royal Patron of FoCP, International Ambassador for the World Cancer Declaration of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), International Ambassador for Childhood Cancer for UICC, and Patron of the Global NCD Alliance Forum, is determined to improve lives by equipping them with the knowledge and resources they need to tackle cancer. This has led her to pay special attention to the development and outreach of the initiative, which has contributed significantly to several milestones Pink Caravan Ride has reached in seven years.

The ride has been actively engaged in community initiatives and activities that aim to combat breast cancer, locally and regionally. It has successfully established a distinct identity in society — one that people look forward to seeing year on year.

“The Pink Caravan is a quintessential example of how the emirate of Sharjah pays great attention to the well-being of the people of the UAE, and is working non-stop to further their health and safety,” Reem Bin Karam, head of the Pink Caravan’s Higher Steering Committee, said.

“Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers that develop in women, and comprises 16 per cent of all cancer types that affect women worldwide. According to global statistics, 1.1 million women on an average are diagnosed with breast cancer every year.”

Bin Karam said Pink Caravan Ride has been successful in capturing the imagination and attention of thousands of UAE citizens and residents across the seven emirates, especially the young members. “Today, the Pink Caravan Ride is the most important breast cancer initiative in the nation, and one of most prominent voluntary initiatives that attracts community members of all nationalities and age groups who join the PCR volunteering teams and help us meet several campaign targets every year.”

Every year, the Pink Caravan Ride struts off from the emirate of Sharjah and navigates several routes, most notably the equestrian route, which is undertaken by 150 riders who travel hundreds of kilometres across the seven emirates before they wrap up the journey of breast cancer awareness in the capital, Abu Dhabi.

Along their journey, the horse riders interact with and encourage community members to learn more about the disease.

Free medical check-ups

The Pink Caravan offers medical clinics in every emirate that provide free medical check-ups to men and women of various nationalities. A number of awareness as well as fund-raising events and activities are also organised on the sidelines of the ride to shed light on breast cancer, its risk factors and methods of prevention and treatment.

The cost of one medical screening for early detection of breast cancer normally ranges between Dh500 and Dh1,000, but the Pink Caravan offers it for free to citizens and residents across the UAE.

In numbers

2017: Pink Caravan inaugurated one fixed clinic each in the seven emirates

7,843 people were screened for free

2011 to March 2017: 47 malignant cancer cases detected

48,874 people screened in total, including 9,643 men

578 fixed and mobile clinics

Dh24 million worth of free medical check-ups offered

1,640km covered by Pink Caravan across the seven emirates

Permanent mobile mammography clinic

Dh15 million is its worth

Offers a comprehensive package of medical services for women, including clinical breast cancer examination and cervical screening test (Pap smear), which is the first test to be added to a mobile medical unit globally.

Also provides 3D mammography, a revolutionary new screening and diagnostic breast imaging tool designed for early detection of breast cancer.

The clinic will also provide a range of other medical tests including checking blood sugar levels, blood pressure, osteoporosis and height and weight measurement.

Riders follow in footsteps of Zayed

Running from February 28 until March 6, the Pink Caravan Ride 2018 coincides with the ‘Year of Zayed’, and hence is expected to see an overwhelming turnout from all community segments, as it follows in the footsteps of the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding Father of the Nation, who placed human beings at the centre of nation-building efforts.

2018 schedule of medical venues

Day 1: Sharjah (February 28)

PCR medical clinics: 10am to 6pm in selected locations in each emirate.

Medical screening for both women and men: Kuwaiti Hospital

Medical screening for women: Al Dhaid Hospital, Directorate of Punitive and Correctional institutions, Al Qarain Health Centre

Fixed clinic: Available at Al Majaz Waterfront

Day 2: Fujairah (March 1)

Medical screenings for men: Masafi Hospital and the Fujairah Hospital

Medical screenings (unspecified): CosmeSurge and Emirates Hospitals Clinics

Fixed clinic: Fujairah Corniche

Day 3: Dubai (March 2)

Mobile clinics: Al Qudra Lakes, Ibn Battuta Mall and Zabeel Park (which will see men also),

Fixed clinic: The Dubai Mall

Day 4: Ras Al Khaimah (March 3)

Medical screening for men and women: Abdullah Bin Omran Hospital

Medical screening for women: Al Jeer Health Centre and Ras Al Khaimah Hospital

Fixed clinic: Al Qawasim Corncihe

Day 5: Umm Al Quwain (March 4)

Medical screening for men and women: Mobile clinics at Salama Health Centre and Falaj Al Mua’alla Health Centre; Umm Al Quwain Hospital (unspecified if for men or women)

Fixed clinic: Shaikh Khalifa General Hospital

Day 6: Ajman (March 5)

Mobile clinics: University College of Mother and Family Sciences, Umm Al Moumineen Women’s Association and Al Hamidiya Health Centre (will also receive men) as well as Musheirif Health Centre

Fixed clinic: Ajman Corniche

Day 7: Abu Dhabi (March 7)

Mobile clinics: Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Zayed University and Zayed Military Hospital will receive both women and men

Fixed clinic: Al Seef Village

Campaign route

Day 1: Flag off at 10am, Wednesday, from the Sharjah Equestrian and Racing Club and head to the Kuwait Hospital, and then to Sharjah Municipality and Supreme Council of Family Affairs before stopping at Al Majaz Waterfront at 6pm, travelling 33.1 kilometres.

Day 2: The riders will begin at 10am from City Centre Fujairah, passing by Fujairah Hospital and Fujairah Fort, to stop at Fujairah Corniche at 3pm, travelling 14.9 kilometres.

Day 3: The ride will kick off at 9am on Jumeirah Road in Dubai, and ride for 6.5 kilometres before stopping at the Etihad Museum on 1, Jumeirah Street at 11.30am.

Day 4: The riders will move from the Department of Economic Development in Ras Al Khaimah at 10am, heading to Saqr Hospital and then stop at Al Qawasim Corniche at 2pm, travelling 12.2 kilometres.

Day 5: The Pink Caravan Ride will move from Khalifa Hospital at 9.30am, passing through Umm Al Quwain Hospital and finally arrive at the Executive Council at 2.30pm, travelling 17 kilometres.

Day 6: The riders will begin at 10am from the Rashidiya Ladies Park in Ajman and head to Ajman Municipality and then Ajman Hotel before stopping at Ajman Corniche at 2pm, travelling 7 kilometres. Day 7: The ride will kick off at 10am from Abu Dhabi Corniche, heading to Shaikh Zayed Mosque and finally stop at Health Point at 4.30pm, travelling 34.9 kilometres.

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