The Mercithon of 2017 helped raise over half a million dirhams for needy cancer patients. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Saint Mary’s Catholic Church of Dubai has once again come to the aid of needy cancer patients by announcing the ‘Mercithon’, a day-long walkathon that will take place at Creek Park on February 19.

The church’s first Mercithon (Walk for Hope) was organised in 2017 to mark 50 years of Saint Mary’s Catholic Church. Over 12,500 people of different nationalities and religions came together to support the cause, with over half a million dirhams being raised to treat six cancer patients.

This year, the church has received 53 appeals for help from cancer patients from different nationalities, including Pakistanis, Filipinos, Indians, Indonesians and Lebanese. The aim is to raise over Dh3.8 million for their treatment through the Mercithon.

Fr. Lennie Connully, Parish Priest of the church, said: “St Mary’s Catholic Church, Dubai, will never leave a stone unturned when it comes to aiding the needy, irrespective of their religion or nationality. We commend the spirit and the strength of cancer patients and survivors, because their inspirational lives serve as a reminder that cancer can never shatter hope or silence courage. Via Mercithon, we resonate our emotions and support for cancer patients in action and Mercithon blends wonderfully with the UAE’s commitment to humanitarian causes and religious tolerance.”

The aim of this year's Mercithon is to raise over Dh3.8 million for cancer treatment. Image Credit: Supplied

Who are the beneficiaries?

The following recipients have been selected for support though this year’s Mercithon based on their inability to pay for regular cancer treatment:

• Nanny SD from the Philippines who needs Dh427,000 for treatment

• Cleaner BR, also from the Philippines,who requires Dh273,000

• NS from Indonesia who needs Dh209,000

• Domestic worker PRJ from Sri Lanka Dh40,000

• 22-year-old AR from India who is unable to complete her education, PD from Pakistan, AH from Lebanon who has not been able to do her tests due to unavailability of funds.

Widespread support

The Mercithon has received widespread support already.

The event has been approved by the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department and supported by the UAE Dubai Municipality, Sports Council and Dubai Police.

The Mercithon has received widespread support already. Image Credit: Supplied

Colm McLoughlin CEO, Dubai Duty Free, said, “Happy that Dubai Duty Free can once again support this event. Hope you enjoy your time and realise that you are contributing to something very important.”

As Fr. Connully said, “We are seeking corporate support for raising the targeted amount for the treatment of patients. We are sure that companies and organisations will be generous in extending their support for this worthy cause. As cancer treatment is an on-going expense, we plan to make this an annual event on the church calendar to help those in need.”

Margaret Francis, Mercithon Committee member said, “Mercithon is a very special and commendable event organised by the youth of St. Mary’s Church specifically for the purpose of treating needy cancer patients. I congratulate them for their tireless efforts and dedication. To all our heroic cancer survivors, thank you for renewing our hope and teaching us patience and resilience.”

Event details

Mercithon, which is being organised by the Samaritans Ministry and the youth of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, will be held at Creek Park on February 19 from 8am to 4pm.

The actual walk will commence at 9am and will feature fun events, rides, games, food stalls, cultural activities, celebrities, music performances and raffle draws.

The walk is open to people of all ages, nationalities and backgrounds.

Tickets for the event can be purchased in person at the church premises for Dh50 for adults and Dh30 for children aged four to 17. The ticket enables participants to be part of a lucky draw, in addition to a fun-filled day with the family.