Dubai: For many, being diagnosed with breast cancer could mean the worst thing to happen to one’s life, but for Nahla Sharif, the news brought a new meaning to life and a change in perspective. The 52-year-old began her battle with cancer in 2014 and her fight for survival continues, but rather than getting bogged down by the pain of treatment, Sharif decided to enjoy life and live every moment like there was no tomorrow.
Sharif shared her story as she took part in the ninth edition of Pink Caravan Ride (PCR) in Dubai Design District (D3) on Monday), which is currently travelling across the seven emirates raising awareness on the importance of early detection and offering free-screening to all members of society across the seven emirates.
“I realised that for once, I should enjoy life, and stop worrying about daily troubles. During my treatment journey, I started going out more, and explored more of our surroundings,” said Sharif.
As she undergoes her chemotherapy on a weekly basis, Sharif makes sure to take part in almost every awareness programmes organised by Friends of Cancer Patients, organisers of PCR.
“Life does not end with cancer diagnosis. For me, it was the beginning of a new chapter of hope, fun, and enjoying what every day has in store of me. Through FoCP, I found many friends who shared the same experience as I did, and now we are enjoying our lives together,” she added.
Sana’ Abu Shamalah is another success story of Pink Caravan. Having survived the cancer scare, she now takes part in creating awareness about the disease.
A mother of five, Abu Shamalah rushed to a doctor when she felt a lump in her breast, only to be told it was just a hormone problem, but luckily for her, Pink Caravan came to Ajman around the same time and she decided to have a second opinion, getting a mammogram done.
“The mammogram confirmed that I had breast cancer, the news came down as a shock for my husband and children. Cancer means the end in our part of the world. It was a tough time for my family, as I started treatment and underwent surgery and chemotherapy sessions,” said the 48-year-old Palestinian.
“PCR and FOCP saved my life, I am now a cancer survivor thanks to them. They gave me a new lease of life and offered me moral and financial support throughout my treatment and until this very day.”
Abu Shamalah is now pushing other women to step forward to get screened, helping them avoid the pain that she had to go through.
The day of campaigning in Dubai was marked by 781 free screenings, a Pink Regatta organised by Nakheel Marine Group along the Dubai Canal and a Junior Fun Day at D3. The children’s activity featured a small ride for young equestrians alongside a line-up of fun games and sports.
On Tuesday, the horse caravan toured Um Al Quwain on horseback, starting at the Marvellous Workshop, and concluded at Umm Al Quwain Museum.
The caravan will march in Fujairah on Wednesday and will conclude on March 1, after travelling around the seven emirates.