x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

UAE donations help Imran Khan's cancer hospital hit funds target early

The Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre in Lahore offers free treatment to 80 per cent of its patients.

DUBAI // A fund-raising appeal for the Pakistan cricket legend Imran Khan's cancer hospital has reached its target of Dh5.5 million - six months earlier than expected.

The Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre in Lahore relies on donations, particularly from expatriate Pakistanis living in the UAE.

This year's appeal was launched in February with a gala dinner in Dubai, attended by Mr Khan and other celebrities from Pakistan and India.

The event raised Dh2.3m for the hospital, while donations from the UAE during Ramadan hit Dh2.7m.

"We haven't had the final figures in yet but we managed to get between 40 to 50 per cent of our yearly target for the [Arabian] Gulf region during the Holy Month," said Rahma Yunus, the hospital's Gulf marketing manager.

"We have been very happy with the response we've had during Ramadan and it's allowed us time to prepare for fund-raising events at the beginning of next year."

Most of the money came through direct donations to the hospital's charity account by bank transfers.

"The vast majority of the money we receive is from the Pakistani community, although we do get some people from the Arab community also helping," Ms Yunus said.

Mr Khan, a 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 treatment to 80 per cent of its patients.

"We're now looking to put together the plans for the next event, most likely in the first quarter of 2013," Ms Yunus said.

"These kinds of things take a lot of planning.

"At this stage it's difficult to say if Imran will be attending because he has a lot of other commitments, including the political side of things.

"If we can't get Imran then we'll look at bringing in other celebrities."

Ms Yunus said Mr Khan visited Dubai regularly and met companies that wanted to sponsor or donate to the hospital.

"We try to keep the fund-raising side of things as lean as possible," she said.

"However, we rely heavily on volunteers to help us out when we are putting together a fund-raiser.

"Anyone interested in helping can send us their details and we'll put their name in our database, then we will contact them to see if they are available for any event we are planning."

To volunteer, email skmtgulf@skm.org.pk

nhanif@thenational.ae