Sharjah: Cancer survivors from across the GCC on Monday shared their inspiring stories at the first ‘Gulf Survivors Forum 2021’ organised by UAE-based Friends Of Cancer Patients (FOCP).
The forum, held on FOCP’s YouTube channel, began with a keynote by Shaikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi, founding member and vice-chairperson of FOCP’s board of directors. She praised the efforts of the event to intensify societal and institutional support for cancer survivors by positioning them as beacons of hope for patients currently undergoing treatment for cancer. Since inception, FOCP has made strides in raising awareness and providing comprehensive support to cancer patients and their families, she added.
At the forum, each of the seven cancer survivors highlighted how it was a self-examination that first brought their condition to light. They described the personal struggles with their respective treatments and emphasised how a positive outlook, proper awareness, and emotional support from family and friends made the journey less arduous.
The survivors highlighted the vital role of organisations such as FOCP and the positive impact of their various initiatives on cancer patients, and vowed to support those who are currently undergoing treatment with the insights they had gained through their recovery journey. They urged cancer patients to be open about their condition, and to seek psychiatric help, if required, to cope with accepting the diagnosis and subsequent treatment and recovery.
Samar Ismail representing FOCP from UAE; Awatif Al Hoshan representing Al Zahra Breast Cancer Association from Saudi Arabia; Hawra Al Shola from Bahrain Cancer Society; and Dr Nadia Al Mahmoud from Kuwait’s Society for Preventing Smoking and Cancer, shared their stories at a session moderated by Alia Al Shamsi, presenter at Sharjah Broadcasting Authority.
Marwa Adel from Qatar Cancer Society; Aya Al Fadool representing the National Cancer Control Foundation in Yemen; Bushra Khalfan from Oman Breast Cancer Society; and a special segment with social media influencer Yasmin Yousri, spoke about how they defied the odds during a session moderated by Dr Saeed Alamodi, presenter at Cultural and Media Office at the Supreme Council of Family Affairs – Sharjah.
Speaking to the virtual audience, Horia Ahmad, manager of patients affairs at FOCP, dedicated the forum to all cancer survivors and urged cancer patients to gain inspiration from these experiences while on their road to recovery.