The annual BurJuman Safe and Sound campaign, one of the region’s largest, most comprehensive breast cancer awareness campaigns, once again invites UAE residents to put their best foot forward to support breast cancer awareness and fund raising by taking part in the 2012 ‘Pink Walkathon’ at the Zabeel Park in Dubai. Image Credit: Abdel-Krim Kallouche/Gulf News

Dubai: More than 13,000 people participated in the annual BurJuman Pink Walkathon in support of Breast Cancer Awareness yesterday morning.

People sporting BurJuman Safe and Sound Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign T-shirts and caps gathered at Zabeel Park where the walkathon was held this year.

The BurJuman Pink Walkathon, which is in its ninth year, featured a two kilometre, non-competitive walkfollowed by a post walk Pink Party that featuredlive music and dance as well as bouncy castles, arts and crafts activities and free face painting.

The walk started with the releasing of thousands of pink balloons after which the participants were led down the route by breast cancer survivors.

Sabina Khandwani, spokesperson of Safe and Sound and Head of PR and Marketing at BurJuman, told Gulf News, that she launched the Safe and Sound campaign when she joined BurJuman in 1999.

“The mall had already started the Breast Cancer initiative, but I regrouped under the umbrella of Safe and Sound, and since then our whole intention is to make a wide ranging community platformand bring people from all walks of life and ages together.”

“It is certainly bigger this year. The intention was to give people a great morning out, not just doing the walk, it’s also about spending a good day with their families.”

Khandwani added that every person who participates helps make a difference as the funds raised through registration fees directly serve the campaign’s outreach and patient support activities.

“This year we have also received overwhelming support from schools, universities, corporate groups, individuals and families”, she noted.

Corinne Emery, 38, one of a 36 person team from Ocean View Real Estate Company that got together to do the walk said, “We thought it would be a good idea to get the company together for a good cause.”

The team was organized by Barbra Holder, who has been a regular at the Pink Walkathon with her daughter Nikki Holder.

Nikki, 23, Junior Therapist at Child Early Intervention Medical Centre (CEIMC), said she and her mom have participated in each pink walkathon since they came to the UAE 10 years ago.

“I am here to walk for those I have loved and lost and those who continue to fight.” Nikki said that she had lost many family members to the disease. “It is one of the many causes that we as a family support.”

Sri Gunaseelan, a 23-year-old research officer, whose grandmother is a breast cancer survivor, had recently heard about the walkathon from her friend and decided to join. “Walkathons bring the community together and allows the participation of the whole family. Itis also for a good cause. It promotes good health- as it makes you walk! so it hits all the right markers” she added.