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Stories of Courage and Survival from the Horse’s Mouth at 7th Pink Caravan Ride

Mar 16, 2017

Breast cancer survivors say early detection was the only reason they survived    
959 breast cancer screenings conducted yesterday, including 207 males
Jennifer Wright, 5-year breast cancer survivor: “I thought I was perfectly healthy till I underwent a mammogram.”
Olympia Tabsh: “It was on one of my mother’s regular screening appointments that her cancer was detected.”

For immediate release
Sharjah, 16 March 2017

“I did not have the slightest clue when I went in for a mammogram as I was observing the Pink October month campaign in the US, that I will detected with breast cancer,” said Jennifer Wright, a 5-year breast cancer survivor, who was on horseback campaigning for Pink Caravan Ride’s pan-UAE breast cancer awareness campaign in Dubai yesterday, 14 March.

It was an emotionally charged day for the 7th Pink Caravan Ride in Dubai, as first-hand accounts of battling with breast cancer were shared by both survivors of the disease, and by those who went through it with a family member. Though the stories were shared by several different people, the underlining message of each remained the same – the importance of early detection through regular screenings and checkups. 

“I missed the Pink Caravan Ride registration last year, but when I saw them advertise this year I decided to get on quickly. Riding today with all these advocates of breast cancer awareness has been an emotional journey. The message here is simple, but really important. Go and get checked – if you get checked early, everything will be fine. It is initiatives like these that can change and save lives. I urge people to do their part, for their own good,” said Wright who has been a UAE resident for four years.

The Caravan began Day 2 at City Walk Dubai, and travelled the Jumeirah road, touching various landmarks like Dubai Canal and BOXPARK. The ride was joined on foot and on horses by Reem BinKaram, Chairperson of the Pink Caravan’s Higher Organising Committee; Saeed Hareb; Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council with his daughter and Aisha Saeed Hareb, who owns and runs Social Bandage – a social non-profit business in the UAE and several Pink Caravan ambassadors, Olympia Tabsh; Mohannad Al Hasouni.

“I am the daughter of a breast cancer survivor. She survived and she is perfectly fine today because it was on one of her regular screenings that her cancer was detected. That is the main reason why I have been supporting the Pink Caravan’s cause for the past three years, and I am here today. Our company Anfasic Dukhoon, makes oriental perfumes, and one of our fragrances, ‘October’ is dedicated to breast cancer awareness. Part of our company’s sales proceeds go to Pink Caravan,” said Tabsh.

“Also, I love riding and have a horse, and there is no better reason to ride,” she added with a big smile on her face.

The day’s ride ended at Kite Beach, and was followed up with one of the seven awareness events of the campaign – Pink Regatta. Several pink boats took to Dubai waters and campaigned on sea, circling the route along the Marina Canal and Jumeirah Beach Hotel, finally ending the boat parade on the shores of The Palm. On one of boats, about 20 breast cancer survivors who belong to an informal support group ‘Pink Ladies’ joined in to show their support.

“I was diagnosed with cancer in 2013, when I went in for a mammogram. I have been cancer-free for three years, and have been going for screenings and mammograms at the Pink Caravan Ride clinics since. Regular checkups and screenings must be part of every woman’s life. Those are the key to safeguarding one’s health and mental peace,” said Nafisa Mohammed Hussain, a Pink Ladies member.

It turned out to be a busy ninth day at the Pink Caravan Ride’s medical clinics. The day ended with 959 screenings, including 172 locals and 787 expats who underwent 254 mammograms, 629 regular screenings and 76 ultrasounds. Of the total number of visits, 648 walked into the daily clinics, and 311 were at fixed clinics operating in the seven emirates. There were 752 female walk-ins versus 207 males. 

This seventh edition of Pink Caravan Ride will conclude today (17 March), with a closing ceremony at Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi. The ceremony will be preceded by the event ‘Pink Strides’, a 7-km breast cancer awareness walk open for public participation. To register, visit: https://www.premieronline.com/event/Pink_Strides_Abu_Dhabi_2546.

To enhance people’s participation and charitable acts in the ‘UAE Year of Giving 2017’, donations for the Pink Caravan, as low as AED 5 can be made by sending an SMS to 2302 (Etisalat or du). Direct fund transfers can be made to Pink Caravan's Sharjah Islamic Bank account. The global online social platform ‘JustGiving’, or PC’s official website, Facebook account - ThePinkCaravan, or their mobile app – Pink Caravan, can also be used for making donations.