PCR Ambassadors from government, sports and arts sectors, including Saeed Hareb, Hessa Tahlak and Emirati artist Fayez Al Saeed set examples for future generations of volunteers
Sharjah, February 6, 2023
For the past decade, the Pink Caravan Ride, a pan-UAE breast cancer awareness campaign, has been powered by a dedicated team of volunteers from diverse backgrounds, all united in their efforts to raise awareness about the crucial importance of early detection and self-examination in the fight against breast cancer, and offering free screenings.
In addition to the selfless efforts of volunteers, the annual awareness campaign, organised by the Friends of Cancer Patients (FOCP), has also received support from a wide range of public and private institutions as well as influential figures in the UAE. Together, they have built a solid foundation and made tireless efforts to ensure the message of the campaign reaches as many members of the community as possible.
HE Hessa Abdul Rahman Tahlak, Assistant Under-Secretary for Community Development at the Ministry of Community Development, has a professional and personal stake in the annual pan-UAE awareness campaign.
She said: 'PCR is a distinguished societal and humanitarian campaign with an amazing reputation locally and internationally. It is our duty to engage with all community members, including children and youth, men and women, residents and citizens, to raise awareness about cancer and encourage them to avail the free checkups offered by PCR.'
She added that government bodies, civil institutions, private entities and individuals gather annually to support PCR, which she considers an investment in the future and the sustainability of health and wellbeing. Having lost a family member to cancer, has steered Tahlak to take a more proactive role in the cause. 'I do not want anyone else to experience the loss of a loved one. For this reason, I am here as a rider to raise awareness about the importance of early detection and self-examination,' she said.
Meanwhile, HE Saeed Hareb, Secretary-General of the Dubai Sports Council and a PCR Ambassador, walked Dubai streets supporting and raising awareness alongside the pink brigade. Over the years, he has become a role model for volunteers and officials through his unwavering commitment and dedication to PCR.
He said: 'PCR is a highly-regarded national volunteer-based awareness campaign that brings together a diverse group of professionals from various fields, including medical, sports, and artistic sectors. This distinctive approach effectively raises awareness and underscores the critical importance of healthcare in our society. Furthermore, it offers free medical checkups at various locations across the nation.'
The PCR Ambassador added: 'Over the years, I’ve made sure to join the noble campaign and actively participate in this voluntary initiative. We send a powerful message to the wider community, emphasising that enhancing healthcare and reducing patients' pain is not solely the responsibility of the medical professionals but a societal obligation. Through our collective efforts, we will ensure the stability and wellbeing of our society.'
During the opening ceremony of the 11th edition of the PCR, Emirati artist Fayez Al Saeed performed a special tribute to the campaign. As a PCR Ambassador, he emphasised the role of artists' in supporting national campaigns and raising awareness in the community.
He said: 'Artists have a unique advantage over traditional media. They can reach a wider audience through their fanbase and social media following, particularly the younger generations. This makes them an ideal tool for delivering important messages and raising awareness about important causes, including the national PCR campaign.'
In addition to his performance, Al Saeed joined the pink brigade on Sunday, marching in Dubai alongside his three children to raise awareness about breast cancer. He said: 'My children, 10-year-old Hamdan, Hind, 8, and six-year-old Mohammed, were eager to join me in this noble cause, despite their young age.'
The Emirati noted that his children understood the significance of PCR and its role in raising awareness and promoting wellbeing. He added that he constantly encourages fellow artists to support initiatives like the PCR to actively champion community causes.
Since 2011, the PCR has been travelling across the seven emirates annually to raise awareness on the importance of early detection of breast cancer, offering free medical consultation and screening to UAE residents. To date, 910 volunteers have dedicated over 400,000 work hours, 820 equestrians from many different nations have travelled more than 1,950km, and 986 PCR medical clinics have conducted over 75,000 free screenings, including 13,000 screenings for men.