x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Imran Khan's hospital hopes to pass its UAE fund-raising target

Former Pakistan cricket star's hospital offers free cancer treatment to 80 per cent of its patients.

Imran Khan arrives at a fundraising gala dinner at Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai.
Imran Khan arrives at a fundraising gala dinner at Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai.

DUBAI // A fund-raising drive to support the cricket legend Imran Khan's cancer hospital in Pakistan is almost two-thirds of the way to its target of Dh5.1 million in donations from the UAE.

The Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre in Lahore has reached about 65 per cent of its goal, largely through a February charity gala that raised Dh2.3m.

"We are hopeful of meeting our target and possibly even beating it," said Rahma Yunus, the Gulf marketing manager for the hospital's charity.

"Most of our funding comes from Zakat donations during Ramadan so I'm hopeful we will be able to beat our target."

Mr Khan, the Pakistani politician and former cricket captain, set up and named the hospital in memory of his mother, who died of cancer. It was opened in 1994 and provides free cancer treatment to 80 per cent of its patients.

"We have had a fantastic response from people in the UAE to the cancer hospital, and not just from Pakistani expatriates but also people from Arab communities," said Ms Rahma.

"People realise the work the hospital does and having Imran's name associated with it gives people confidence that the money is being used in the right way to help people."

The hospital bought a new MRI scanner with the money raised at February's event at the Atlantis, The Palm hotel.

"We are planning to hold awareness events in the coming months for things like breast cancer and antismoking," Ms Rahma said.

"There is also a strong possibility that we will hold another fund-raising concert or gala in the UAE towards the end of the year."

The charity is now looking to expand to Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

"There are large Pakistani expatriate communities in these countries," Ms Rahma said.

"At the moment we are going through what we would need to do in those countries in legal terms to start operations there."

nhanif@thenational.ae