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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 September 2018

Brothers swim around Palm Jumeirah for diabetes research

Aim to raise awareness about the disease and promote a healthy lifestyle

Sherif and Omar Saadawi in a charity swim around the Palm Jumeirah to support diabetes research. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Sherif and Omar Saadawi in a charity swim around the Palm Jumeirah to support diabetes research. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Two brothers swam for more than four hours around the Palm Jumeirah on Friday morning aiming to raise funds for research into diabetes.

Sherif Saadawi and his brother Omar, of Egyptian-Irish descent, swam from 5am braving the heat and jelly fish, to raise awareness about the disease and in memory of their grandfather who suffered from diabetes.

“Diabetes has affected members of my family and it is a cause that is very close to my heart.

"My grandfather died due to an illness linked to diabetes. My wife’s uncle, who had diabetes, died due to a cardiac arrest almost a year ago. They were too young to die,” said Mr Saadawi who has another uncle who is a diabetes patient.

Money raised from the charity swim will be donated to the Al Jalila Foundation to fund research studies.

“Raising awareness about the importance of leading a healthy life can change the lives of many,” said the 28-year-old finance professional.

The Al Jalila Foundation conducts research to improve lives by developing prevention and treatment strategies for diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular ailments, cancer, obesity and mental health.

The UAE has the 16th highest rate of diabetes in the world. Almost one in five people living in the UAE have type 2 diabetes, related to lifestyle, according to 2015 figures from the International Diabetes Federation.

The brothers began preparations three months ago for the challenging swim.

“Among the challenges that we faced was the distance, the excessive heat, the water temperature was very hot, and getting stung by jellyfish,” Mr Omar Saadawi said.

The swimmers thanked the Fairmont hotel and its lifeguards for supporting their efforts on Friday.

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