x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Pink Caravan breast cancer ride postponed until next year

The organisers will focus on their SMS fundraising campaign in the hope they can purchase their own mobile mammography unit, which would expand the scope of their awareness and screening campaigns.

The Pink Caravan's annual ride for breast cancer awareness was slated to begin on Saturday but will be postponed until next year so organisers can concentrate on a fundraising campaign. Jeff Topping/The National
The Pink Caravan's annual ride for breast cancer awareness was slated to begin on Saturday but will be postponed until next year so organisers can concentrate on a fundraising campaign. Jeff Topping/The National

ABU DHABI // The Pink Caravan annual ride that was expected to start on Saturday has been postponed until next year.

The breast cancer awareness initiative, where riders travel on horseback to remote regions to raise funds for cancer research and perform on-the-spot screenings, has been rescheduled for early next year.

The Friends of Cancer Patients society, which organises the Pink Caravan, said the move would allow the charity to focus on raising money to buy its own advanced mobile mammography unit through a SMS fundraising campaign.

“We hope to be able, by the support of the community, to buy and operate the mobile mammography unit, which will make it possible for us to avail free screening services all year round, not only during the Ride’s 11 days every year,” said Ameera Binkaram, president of the board of trustees and a founding member of the Friends of Cancer Patients.

Purchasing the unit will enable Pink Caravan to offers its services to more people throughout the year and reach a wider population, organisers said. The initiative had been renting a unit at high costs.

The SMS campaign aims to raise Dh15 million.

The annual event had already once been postponed from its original February starting date.

The Annual Ride had travelled more than 900 kilometres across the seven emirates, with participation from more than 250 riders and 200 volunteers. Lectures and presentations were delivered at more than 100 schools and more than 250 mobile medical clinics offering early breast cancer detection examinations have been carried out.

In February, the initiative held mobile medical clinics in all seven emirates. The fully-operational mobile mammography unit was staffed with a doctor for check ups and further referrals.

The Pink Caravan screened 5,214 people in February at its mobile clinics, bringing the total to 28,091 people screened for free in four years. Nearly 6,500 men have also been screened.

Last year, only 16 per cent of cases in Abu Dhabi were diagnosed at a late stage compared with 64 per cent in 2007, meaning women in the emirate have a better chance than ever of surviving breast cancer.

To donate Dh5, text PINK to 2302; for Dh10, text 2303; for Dh50, text 2305; for Dh100, text 2307 and for Dh500, text 2308.

“Every single dirham counts and will go to save precious lives,” Ms Binkaram said.

newsdesk@thenational.ae