health

24-hour walkathon to inspire hope for cancer patients

Jawaher Al Qasimi calls on Emirati community to participate in ‘Relay for Life’

Staff Report
17:43 November 13, 2017

Sharjah: Shaikha Jawaher Bint Mohammad Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and Founder and Royal Patron of Friends of Cancer Patients (FoCP), has called on all members of the Emirati community to play a part in the Relay for Life walkathon, the first-of-its-kind event in the Mena region.

Taking place on November 17-18 at the American University of Sharjah (AUS), Relay for Life is a community fund-raising event organised by FoCP in collaboration with the American Cancer Society to inspire hope for those who are fighting cancer and to provide support for them and their families.

Shaikha Jawaher, who is the International Ambassador of the World Cancer Declaration for the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and International Ambassador for Childhood Cancer for UICC, has urged the public to participate in the UAE’s inaugural 24-hour walkathon challenge and its associated activities to show their solidarity with cancer patients and their loved ones.

Addressing the Emirati community, Shaikha Jawaher said: “Relay for Life is a wholehearted expression of our appreciation for life and a reflection of our strong support for those who are battling cancer. It is also a show of solidarity for the families of patients who dedicate their time and effort in caring for their loved ones who are fighting this disease.”

She added: “There is no doubt that the support of family, friends and society is one of the most important factors in helping those with cancer fight the disease. We must work together as a community to inspire hope for those who are battling cancer and to show our support for the supporters.”

The Mena region’s first Relay for Life will take place around the athletics track at AUS, with the 24-hour walking challenge commencing at 4pm on Friday and concluding the same time the next day. The overnight element of the walkathon has been designed to promote community solidarity with cancer patients, who often feel lonely at night, and create a hallowed ambience where participants can remember and honour loved ones lost to cancer and as well as celebrate those who have survived the disease.

Relay for Life will generate funds through its registration fee, through merchandise sold at kiosks and through the individual ‘relayers’ and relayer team fund-raising activities. All proceeds generated from the walkathon will go towards supporting cancer patients and their families in the UAE.

Everyone is eligible to participate in the UAE Relay for Life. Tickets are priced at Dh100 for adults and Dh60 for children aged below 14 years. Individuals can register and encourage their friends and families to sponsor their participation and raise money for the cause. Further information about the event, how to donate funds and how to register, visit www.focp.ae/relayforlifeuae.

The first-ever Relay for Life took place in 1985 in the USA, when colorectal surgeon Dr Gordy Klatt organised an event in Tacoma, Washington and raised $27,000 for his local cancer charity. The next year, he succeeded in raising $33,000. Since then, the annual walkathon has gone on to become the largest fund-raising event for cancer in the world and one that now takes place in 29 countries. The UAE is the most recent addition to its global network. Relay for Life has to date raised more than $5 billion (Dh18.3 billion) in support of cancer patients worldwide.