The Sharjah Archaeological Museum is bathed in a golden hue all this month to raise awareness on childhood cancer. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: In a series of initiatives to mark the month of September as the childhood cancer awareness month, the Friends of Cancer Patients (FOCP) is focusing on childhood cancer.

As member of the Childhood Cancer International (CCI), a global umbrella organisation of childhood cancer institutions and advocates, FOCP is also participating in the international campaign, ‘Light It Up Gold’. Founded by the American Childhood Cancer Organisation, the campaign involves participating organisations from around the world lighting up prominent buildings, iconic landmarks and monuments in golden hue throughout the month to raise awareness on childhood cancer. Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is symbolised globally by a gold ribbon.

Three UAE landmarks bathed in gold

Two of Sharjah’s significant landmarks, the iconic House of Wisdom (HoW) and Sharjah Archaeological Museum, are illuminated in gold throughout this month to express solidarity with children suffering from cancer as well as to highlight their plight all over the world.

Dubai Frame, the biggest building in the world in the shape of a frame, has also been lit up in gold to support children with cancer. As dedicated benefactors of childhood cancer patients, FOCP encourages iconic buildings, historical landmarks and monuments to champion the cause of paediatric cancer awareness by lighting them up in gold all through the month.

Dubai Frame is bearing a golden hue all through this month as part of the ‘Light It Up Gold’ initiative. Image Credit: Supplied

Webinar on childhood leukaemia

FOCP organised a virtually held discussion, titled ‘Childhood Cancers: Knowing the warning signs’, hosted in collaboration with paediatric haematologist and oncologist Dr Eman Taryam AlShamsi, offered insights into common cancers in children, their causes and early warning signs. Highlighting the least-known facts about childhood cancers, she discussed the significance of early diagnosis, treatment advances and reasons for delay during diagnosis, as well as to explore challenges and barriers to early testing and referral and how to overcome them. She also advised attending parents to be more sensitive to the complaints of children and pay heed to their discomforts.

Videos to raise awareness 

FOCP is also tapping into the accessibility of the social media to spread awareness about childhood cancers, the impact on sufferers and families, and raising funds to support them. An exclusive video interview with an oncologist, has been posted on their social media platforms. Another interview will zoom in on the life and cancer journey of a survivor who will detail the process of treatment and recovery, in a bid to inspire other cancer patients undergoing treatment. Both videos will be posted on FOCP’s social media handles on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube.

The iconic 'House of Wisdom' in Sharjah. Image Credit: Supplied

Awareness is the first step to defeating cancer

Commenting on the importance of the campaign, Dr Sawsan Al Madhi, director general of FOCP, said: “According to a 2018 study, childhood cancer is the fourth leading cause of death globally among children under 15. The most common types of cancer diagnosed in children aged up to 14 years are leukaemia, brain and other central nervous system tumours and lymphomas. In the UAE, among all cancer cases, approximately 9.5 per cent are paediatric cancer. Leukaemia accounts for almost one in every three cancer cases in children here and the World Health Organisation predicts a rise in childhood cancers in the country”.

Manal Ataya, director-general of Sharjah Museums Authority (SMA), said: “Lighting up Sharjah Archeology to mark Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is part of our strategic partnership and cooperation with FOCP. It also stems from our commitment to social responsibility towards benefitting cancer patients through programmes that are specifically designed to meet their needs and enhancing their well-being.”

Marwa Al Aqroubi, director of House of Wisdom said: “Our children not only represent joy and youthfulness — they are our future. Ensuring their wellbeing is one of the most significant causes we can commit to, because when we commit to helping them, we commit to helping humanity.”

Mohammed Abdulrahman Ahli, head of Specialised Parks and Recreational Facilities, said: “It is very important to support patients with cancer through different initiatives and here in Dubai Frame, we lit up the biggest building in the shape of a frame to support children with cancer.”

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FOCP’s unwavering support to young people

FOCP’s awareness programme ‘Ana’ was launched in 2014 under the directives of Shaikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of the Ruler of Sharjah and Founder and Patron of FOCP.

Joy Cart is another FOCP initiative designed specially to offer emotional support to younger cancer patients undergoing treatment.