Image Credit: Misha Ali Qadri

October has always been a busy month for students of The Westminster School, Dubai. We utilise this month to thrive and put across a poignant, yet extraordinary message. Being a part of this cross-cultured community that we call family, we have learned that standing together and lending a helping hand is a simple spark of humanity in a very complex world.

Every year, we come forward with fantastic ideas to be able to help those who are struggling with the agonising disease, breast cancer. In October, 2011, students of grade nine, 10 and 11 prepared a ‘bake sale’, where we sold various kinds of food. Additionally, the student welfare group (which comprises of students who take the responsibility to constantly improve the relationship between students and teachers) sold products from a beauty company and crafted beautiful brooches with the symbol of breast cancer awareness. As a team, we collected Dh10,550 and gave it to a charitable organisation, Friends of Cancer Patients (FOCP), based in Sharjah.

This year, we decided to take a leap forward. It was, indeed, a heartfelt month, as we took the opportunity to honour a health doctor from a private hospital, who spoke about numerous benefits that would be helpful for students if self-examination was done more often. Furthermore, a voucher for a free checkup was given to students and also to the ancillary staff, which would be valid in any branch of the hospital.

Rochelle Don Paul, a grade 11 student, said: “The doctor’s visit was a rather refreshing modification to our usual ‘pink month’ events. It was educational and motivating. It motivated us to stand up and lend a hand to breast cancer survivors, doctors, and humanitarians.”

Throughout the month, students participated in various activities, too.

To begin with, the art and craft club merged with the environmental club to involve recycling into the awareness cause. We made hand-made ribbons for pink awareness out of old chart paper.

Naqiyah Mustafa, a member of the art and craft club, said: “Being involved in this activity would not only help the mothers of our society, but Mother Nature, too.”

As the month progressed, students took part in a poetry slam, where each of them wrote poems about this dreadful disease.

Jene Viray, organiser of the poetry slam, said: “Awareness is a step closer to prevention and prevention is our main aim.”

To raise the bar and take the campaign to a surpassing level, Hira Khan, head of Sports house, motivated the students to take part in the Burjuman Pink Walkathon this year. She said: “By doing so, we can bail out at least one woman, who is battling between life and death.”

During the month, students also prayed for cancer patients.

Our concluding event was the formation of an awareness ribbon by the students to portray how much hope we have to offer.

One should always take the initiative to create awareness about breast cancer and similar diseases. Cancer is a disease that affects a person’s emotions. It not only impacts the body of a woman, but also the most important organ, their heart. The love might fade and so will the person, whether she is a mother, sister, relative or a friend.

The month of October was an eye-opener for me.

I know how it feels to go through this terrible disease as my mother is a cancer survivor. She is my role model and thus, I feel obligated to urge others to participate in awareness campaigns and encourage others to do the same, because together, we can beat cancer.

 

The reader is a grade 11 student at The Westminster School based in Dubai.

 

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