Sixth Pink Caravan breast cancer ride begins

SHARJAH // More than 100 horse riders will take part in the Pink Caravan cancer awareness campaign, which kicked off on Monday with 15 riders beginning the 10-day trek.

Leaving from Sharjah Equestrian and Racing Club, horseback riders of the sixth annual Pink Caravan will cross the seven emirates with a team of medical professionals to promote awareness about the importance of early detection of breast cancer and offer free screenings to residents through mobile clinics.

Medical students, business owners and CEOs were among the first to kick-start the first day 16.76km stretch towards Al Dhaid Hospital, in the central region of Sharjah.

Jordanian Arab Hamooda and her family members have been regular riders in the Pink Caravan.

“My two brothers and sister are riders and volunteers since the campaign launched,” said the 21-year-old Sharjah University student.

The Dubai resident will ride for the full 10 days, covering 198km across the country to promote the campaign.

“Our ride here is important, it shows our support for cancer patients and how vital to raise the awareness of the community, and proper testing and early detection,” Ms Hamooda said.

She lost a close member of her family to cancer, which motivated her to take part in the campaign.

“My love for volunteer work and horse riding, as well as the death of my aunt of cancer, is the force that keeps me coming and taking part every year,” said the 4th year student.

Joining the ride for the first time, Marwan Al Sarkal, CEO of Shurooq, the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority, said the event is for a great cause.

“Awareness is key to promote early detection of breast cancer; it is a great initiative and a good opportunity to contribute to the cause,” he said.

For the first time this year, an early detection clinic will be stationed on Al Majaz waterfront, said Dr Sawsan Al Madhi. “We responded to requests for having a stationed clinic during the Pink Caravan ride,” said Dr Al Madhi, the director general of Friends of Cancer Patients.

“We urge residents of all ages and genders to make use of these clinics and come in for a free screening.”

At the inauguration of the Pink Caravan ride by Sharjah Ruler Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, a mobile CareVan clinic that offers free breast cancer tests throughout the year was announced.

Since its launch, Pink Caravan has offered breast cancer detection examinations to more than 36,000 women and men of across the country, and 10,839 cases were referred for mammogram screenings.

Dubai business owner Lucy Mila is a rider and a volunteer. She will ride on the last day in the capital. “It’s a noble cause, to raise awareness and help the organisers in the ride,” said the German.

“I have two family members who are cancer survivors, one with breast cancer and the other had skin cancer, so I’m joining the ride to show my support and solidarity with them.”​

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