• 5421 screening conducted across the UAE including 842 in Ras Al Khaimah
• A Pink Caravan documentary to debut in 2019
• Documentary developed by Bel Pesce, named inBBC’s list of 100 influential women on earth 2015
• 14.4km trek through RAK
• Pink riders march in the capital on Friday
Sharjah, February 29, 2019
Despite the rain showers and blowing winds in the northernmost emirate of Ras Al Khaimah yesterday (Thursday), horse riders of the ninth edition of the Pink Caravan Ride (PCR) were keen on engaging community members, raising awareness on breast cancer and the importance of early screening to prevent the disease.
The pink brigade began their last trek in the northern emirates at the Higher Colleges of Technology Ras Al Khaimah Women’s College towards Saqr Hospital, where scores of residents and staff members welcomed riders and volunteers into the emirate.
While the pink brigade marched in RAK, daily clinics had their doors open to visitors offering them free consultations and screening at six daily clinics located at the Saqr, Shaam, RAK, Abdullah bin Omran and Al Dhaid Hospitals, in addition to a clinic at RAK Economic Zone. The Permanent Clinic welcomed visitors at RAK Mall, and will continue its services in the emirate until March 2.
The Pink Caravan Medical Awareness Committee shared the total number of screenings in RAK as 842, which included 792women and 50 men. These included 161 locals and 681 expatriates, comprising 367 people in the 40+ age category and 475 individuals below 40 years of age. After the initial screenings, 406 walk-ins were given the safe card, 333 were referred for a mammogram, and 103were advised to undergo an ultrasound.
Organized annually by the Friends of Cancer Patients (FOCP) – a cancer charity, the pan-UAE initiative has gone from strength to strength, dispelling misconceptions about breast cancer. To boost its outreach, PCR has carefully nurtured community’s role by engaging thousands of volunteers in their annual campaigns. Many of PCR crew have been on the pink trail since the first ride in 2011.
Bel Pesce, a 31-year-old Brazilian entrepreneur and writer, has been volunteering with PCR since 2017. She got introduced to the FOCP initiative in 2016 and made sure to take part in the annual ride since.
“All my life, I searched for things to nurture my soul, and I show my gratitude by sharing it with the rest of the world. There are a few initiatives that exist to make the world better, PCR is one of them.”
Pesce, listed in BBC’s 100 influential women on earth 2015, is amazed of the amount of work put in the initiative. “As an entrepreneur, I’m amazed how it is put together, the logistics, operations, teams, it is not an easy task to have this ride planned and organized to perfection. It only can succeed by having a dedicated team who are truly passionate to the cause, and have unwavering devotion, and stamina to make PCR what it is today.”
Her love for PCR and its noble cause prompted her to create a documentary about the annual pink ride. “I am working on documentary that will highlight two aspects of PCR. One showing the impact of the ride on the community, and the other showing the mammoth operations to have the PCR marching across the country.”
The best-selling writer in brazil is aiming to finish the documentary in 2019 to inspire people around the world to replicate the Pink Caravan Ride in their countries.
Horse riders continued their second leg of the journey from Saqr hospital to Manar Mall, before ending their northernmost trek at the stunning Al Qawasim Corniche, covering a total distance of 14.4km.
For 36-year-old Emirati twins, Hamed and Khaled Al Hamed, volunteering is embedded in their DNA. Hamed has been volunteering with his friends since his teens.
“I have been on the pink trail since itsdebut ride in 2011. PCR is my home and everyone taking part in it is considered a family member. Every year, we trek in every emirate and we are greeted warmly by residents. It is a beautiful feeling when you know that your work has helped lives.
“We get a sense of accomplishment when we see people flocking to our clinics to get consultations and be screened by the medical teams.”
His 8-month daughter Ameera, is the youngest volunteer in this year’s trek across the UAE.
Meanwhile, Khaled, hopped on the pink trail 4 years ago, to help out his twin brother and contribute in raising awareness of the community. “The Pink Caravan Ride is my home for at least 7 days annually. Since my first experience in the ride, I have loved the passion and eagerness of both the volunteers and the UAE community towards PCR’s noble cause.”
“Over the years, the Pink Caravan Ride became a house hold name, we get a lot of inquiries from people wanting to volunteer and become part of this bigfamily. I am confident that PCR will continue trekking to success every year, offering free screenings and ensure that the public receive a clear message about the necessity of early screening to prevent cancer,” said the Public Relations coordinator at Sharjah Children.
On Friday, the pink brigade headed to the capital for the final leg of the annual march passing by Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the Louvre Museum. The closing ceremony of the 9thedition of the Pink Caravan ride was held at the Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort and Spa.