Relay for Life in Sharjah in Dec 2022
The event brought together people from all walks of life Image Credit: Supplied

Sharjah: Volunteers have been praised for their role in the smooth roll out of the ‘Relay for Life’ 24-hour walk in Sharjah to raise funds for cancer patients.

The event at Kshisha Park concluded on Sunday afternoon after seeing the participation of 2,500 participants and volunteers - including over 700 cancer survivors - from various community organisations and schools.

Friends of Cancer Patients (FOCP), organisers of the event, thanked the volunteers. Many of them were voluntarily stationed overnight taking part in the laps. From setting up the event running activities and stalls, to providing support and guidance to participants, the volunteers played a crucial role in the event’s success, FOCP said. They also provided emotional support to those taking part in the event, many of whom were cancer survivors or had lost loved ones to the disease.

Close care

Zuhair Saeed Sajwani, a volunteer with Sanid by Emirates Foundation since 2018, said it was his team’s responsibility to ensure that everyone who entered the event area were safe and secure. “This is my first time attending the RFL. I’ve been watching over the safety of cancer patients, children and their families, and especially the elderly who participated in various RFL activities that ran overnight,” he said.

Working on the frontline of natural disasters, especially the recent Fujairah floods has refined him, added Sajwani.

“Greeting those who lost their homes with a smile of reassurance while waiting for assistance was a humbling experience. What I am doing is the least duty that a citizen can offer to serve his community. This is the best way one can express their love for their homeland as an attempt to repay the favours bestowed by the state to individuals.”

NAT 221212 RFL Closing-5-1670854136108
The closing ceremony also honoured participants who walked the most number of steps Image Credit: Supplied

‘Volunteering is in my blood’

Maryam Ali Baasous, who has been volunteering regularly with Qimah team for Volunteering since 2014, said the experience at RFL is a continuation of her efforts with initiatives that often happen in Sharjah — such as the Pink Caravan Ride and the Big Heart Foundation. “This is my third RFL event and I hope to continue in the coming years as well,” she said.

Despite having a fulltime job, Mariam ensures that her volunteering streak doesn’t get affected. “Volunteering is in my blood and the team I work with is more than wonderful. I’ve managed to foster many relationships and it has added much more positive vibes to my personality.”

also read

Leading by example

Another volunteer, Bashaer Al Ali, said volunteering is a reflection of her social personality since childhood.

“It has deepened my knowledge on various aspects of Emirati society. The length of the RFL event and the diverse activities targeting children gave me an opportunity to spend quality family time while continuing my work, as I had brought my children to the event,” she said.

“In 2019, I took my son to the RFL when he was only three years old. Now, I have returned to this new version with my little daughter as well. I am happy to take them with me, not only for the fun but also as a learning experience to inculcate values of giving, as they watch me help people.”

She added that her two children were enthusiastic in distributing water among participants and also stayed up late to collect bags and help with the trash leftovers.

The closing ceremony also honoured participants who walked the most number of steps. Nihad Naseerudheen walked 145,208 steps, followed by Marwah Abdouh with 73,697 steps and Maysoon Al Fandi with 72,925 steps.