DUBAI // At five years old, Mayra Farook has two wishes. The first is to recover from her leukaemia. The second is for her family to be able to afford her school fees.
Next month, one of her wishes could be granted thanks to money donated to the UAE's Friends of Cancer Patients charity. Organisers of the Oil Barons' Ball on Friday at Dubai Media City Amphitheatre hope to raise more than half a million dirhams to grant the wishes of four child cancer patients.
Most of the money will be spent on a mobile breast cancer screening unit to travel across the Emirates, targeting poorer rural areas.
Mayra, who lives in Sharjah, is one of eight children picked by the charity to receive gifts they would otherwise not be able to afford.
Her father, 39-year-old Mohamed Farook, from Pakistan, describes his daughter as "joyful". Going to school was one of her favourite things, he said. Because her immune system is weak, Mayra often has to stay away from school if she has even a hint of illness.
Her father said that although the family could probably afford her school, it was what their daughter had asked for. "The support and the attention we are getting is nice. It is nice to know people care - that is the most important thing."
In its eighth year, the ball is one of the country's most successful fund-raising events. Guests can bid for a number of lots in a silent auction.
The event will be attended by Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, president of the Dubai Department of Civil Aviation and chairman of Emirates Group. To find out more about the ball, visit www.theoilbaronsball.com