The UAE-based non-profit, Friends of Cancer Patients (FOCP), has announced its half-yearly performance statistics for 2019. The numbers reveal they have been going strong in continuing their cancer awareness advocacy and treatment support efforts. Having accumulated over 5,000 beneficiaries since their inception, FOCP has already brought 215 new patients and their families within their support radius in 2019.
17 events to boost patient morale
In keeping with its focus on ensuring the mental well-being of cancer patients and their families to cope with the demands of the disease, FOCP has rolled out 17 different activities to boost the morale of cancer patients. These included enabling them to perform Umrah rituals. They also continued their Iftar gathering tradition for the 11th year in a row, for it is a great opportunity for patients and their families to meet and connect with others in a similar situation.
FOCP’s popular child-support initiative, Joy Cart, has made eight visits to children cancer wards in UAE hospitals, bringing smiles to the faces of numerous children undergoing treatment and taking their minds off their arduous journeys through a multitude of fun activities.
‘Color my World’, on the other hand, has already been organised by FOCP seven times this year. The patient-focused activations featured on this programme included leisure trips, sports activities and skill-enhancing workshops.
Leading advocacy efforts continue
FOCP has set in motion a total of six advocacy efforts during this period. They organised a Cervical Cancer Forum titled ‘Turning the tide on HPV and Cervical Cancer’.The forum aimed to turn the attention of the region’s stakeholders towards the importance of concerted action to introduce the HPV vaccine and screenings for cervical cancer, which would prevent thousands of future cases in the MENA region where it’s one of the leading causes of cancer mortality among women.
In March, FOCP signed a partnership agreement with the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to increase the global impact of their activities to combat cancer in 2019–20. It won the prestigious ‘Global Good Governance (3G) Service Excellence Award for Social Sector and Philanthropy’ for the second year consecutively, and in March, hosted the first edition of the Global Forum on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) for Children in collaboration with the Global NCD Child.
The non-profit also participated in the International Society of Paediatric Oncology’s conference, 12th SIOP Asia 2019, held in Abu Dhabi in April in addition to hosting the Childhood Cancer International.
FOCP has continued to engage cancer patients, their families, survivors and the UAE community at large in awareness and advocacy programmes in the first half of the year. The popular Pink Caravan Ride mapped the UAE once again in 2019, offering free screenings and clinical examinations to about 7,200 women and men. This has resulted in multiple cases of breast cancer being diagnosed, who are all currently receiving treatment support from FOCP.
The second edition of Ana-vation School Championship, a one-of-a-kind youth initiative to educate children about the importance of early detection of paediatric cancers, resulted in tremendous success. A total of 180 students from 15 schools across the UAE participated and submitted excellent projects containing details of simple inventions to detect the most common signs of paediatric cancer, using their STEM knowledge. The cancer charity established a presence at the popular Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival 2019 for a sixth consecutive year. They consider it a great platform to heighten the knowledge and awareness of the thousands of children and youth who visit the festival, about paediatric cancers.
It also organised a mini Relay For Life this year in collaboration with Chalhoub Group, a team fundraising event to raise awareness of cancer and spread the importance of a healthy lifestyle in addition to supporting those who are battling cancer.
Dr. Sawsan Al Madhi, Director General of FOCP, said: “FOCP aims to serve as a key resource for cancer patients, their families and caregivers by raising awareness on the causes of cancer, methods of prevention and screening, types of treatments, and the available support services in the UAE. We are pleased that our efforts this year have already benefited 215 individuals in the UAE whom are in need of cancer support. We look forward to continuing these ever-more strongly in the second half of 2019.”
She added: “Our continuous endeavour is to minimise the impact of cancer by providing various other types of assistance to needy patients and their families all over the UAE. To be able to do this successfully, we need the continues support of our patrons and donors, and hope compassion comes in from more quarters. We also encourge the UAE society to take full responsibility of their wellbeing and come forward to benefit from our engagement efforts.
Friends Of Cancer Patients is a non-profit organisation, founded in 1999 under the directives and patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of the Ruler of Sharjah, Founder and Patron of the Friends of Cancer Patients, International Ambassador of the World Cancer Declaration for Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), International Ambassador for Childhood Cancer for UICC and Patron of the First Global NCD Alliance Forum.