Abu Dhabi: The Pink Caravan Ride (PCR), the annual nationwide breast cancer awareness campaign, concluded its 11th edition on Friday in Abu Dhabi with a record 13,213 complimentary screenings across the UAE.
In conjunction with more than 8 million footsteps accomplished during the week-long hike, which had kicked off under the theme ‘Powered by You’ in Sharjah on February 4, over 30 PCR testing centres administered more than 13,000 screenings - a record-breaking figure that surpassed the target of 11,000 screenings.
During the closing ceremony held at Al Hudayriat Island in Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Chairman of Dhabi Holdings, honoured the sponsors and partners who have lent their support and resources to this initiative over the years.
PCR Special Envoy Sheikh Fahim Al Qasimi expressed his pride in being a part of the 11th edition of the PCR, and embarking on a 140km horseback journey across the seven emirates, joining the pink brigade until they finally reached the final stop at Health Point in Abu Dhabi on Friday.
“The journey of the pink cavaliers was a formidable and demanding task, involving intricate organisational details, however, the rewards of their hard work were evident in the number of individuals who showed interest in PCR and visited the clinics spread across the seven emirates to avail of the free screenings that PCR had been offering since January,” said Sheikh Fahim.
He added: “I am thrilled to announce that the 11th Pink Caravan Ride awareness campaign has surpassed its original target of 11,000 free check-ups, reaching a staggering 13,213, all thanks to the tireless efforts of our dedicated volunteers who clocked in a total of 59,830 hours. The medical team alone put in 11,880 hours over the course of 22 days, averaging 12 hours a day, and the combined efforts of all volunteers averaged 16 hours per day.”
Between January 1 and February 4, a total of 154 volunteers contributed an 24,640 hours of work, and the medical team composed of 45 members put in 11,880 hours over the course of 22 days, averaging 12 hours per day. By the conclusion of the campaign, a total of 185 volunteers had dedicated an estimated 23,310 hours, with an average of 16 hours per day. The efforts of these volunteers resulted in a total of 59,830 volunteer hours, making the 11th PCR awareness campaign a success.
Reem BinKaram, Chairperson of PCR Higher Steering Committee, said: “The unwavering spirit of the volunteers and the UAE community came together in a remarkable display of unity and strength, breaking our records with their massive success in raising awareness on breast cancer and offering a record number of free screenings since the inaugural ride.”
She added: “The massive amount of hours put in to mobilise PCR has proven that when volunteers, individuals, and institutions come together, the impossible becomes possible. The theme ‘Powered by You’ was effectively realised as the volunteers and local communities exemplified the power of teamwork and determination in achieving PCR objectives and aspirations.”
BinKaram also revealed that the medical teams conducted comprehensive health assessments and guidance to a total of 12,329 individuals.
“According to the PCR Higher Steering Committee, the campaign engaged with 10,556 women and 2,703 men, with a notable 8,848 proportion of individuals falling within the age range of below 40 and and 4,365 above 40 years old. The initial screenings were conducted with precision and 2,347 individuals referred for further mammogram assessments, and 630 were advised to undergo ultrasound examinations.”
On Friday, the Pink Caravan Ride (PCR) journeyed its final leg in the seven-day journey through Abu Dhabi, commencing from the Oasis of Dignity Parking and marching towards the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, where they were warmly received by Amal Bamatrif, the Director of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre’s Cultural Communication Department. The march culminated at Healthpoint, a Mubadala Health Partner and multi-specialty hospital located in Zayed Sports City, where the Pink Caravan Mammogram clinic was open to all, while the Daily Minivan offered breast cancer screenings at the Sheikh Zayed Mosque and Yas Mall.
Commenting on Healthpoint’s partnership with the Pink Caravan, Dr Mai Ahmed Al Jaber, Medical Director, Specialist in Public Health Medicine, said: “We are proud to partner with the Pink Caravan to assist this awareness-raising project throughout the UAE. Yesterday’s [Friday’s] activity is in line with our commitment to serving everyone with high-quality care and education and encouraging early detection and prevention.’’
Steps to awareness
The 11th PCR saw a convergence of volunteer efforts, as well as equestrian participants, embarking on a 140km journey across the seven emirates of the UAE. A cohort of 92 volunteers, comprising the pink brigade, traversed the nation’s roads and walked a 8,836,000 steps over the course of seven days.
Throughout the duration of the campaign, a total of 33 clinics were made available to accommodate walk-ins from all across the country. Fixed clinics were established in strategic locations and destinations, providing screening and consultation services from January 20 to January 10 to cater to both residents and visitors alike. The Pink Caravan Mammogram clinics and minivans, in coordination with the pan-emirate ride, began operations on the 4th of February in Sharjah and Ajman before concluding in Abu Dhabi on the 10th of February.
The conclusion of the 11th PCR, marked by the celebratory ceremony, saw the attendance of Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, first Emirati female cabinet minister and vice-chairperson of FOCP’s Board of Directors, Dr Mai Ahmed Al Jaber of Healthpoint; Saoud Alkaabi, renowned Emirati actor, producer and TV presenter; Muhanad Hassoun, PCR ambassador, along with various officials and media representatives.
The ceremony, which was attended by the volunteers of PCR, including members of the medical, events, equine and logistics committees, also featured a film that encapsulated the essence of the 11th PCR journey and its aim to raise awareness on breast cancer and inspire individuals to undergo screenings.