Abu Dhabi: When she found out that her best friend was diagnosed with leukaemia and that ther are currently no compatible bone marrow matches, 14-year-old Nadeen Eisa decided to organise a walkathon to raise awareness.
"We are more than friends, we're sisters...I've known Malaq since she was born because our families are close friends. When she was diagnosed it was a shock, even though there were already some hints that something was wrong," Nadeen, a Palestinian-American expatriate, said.
According to the National Cancer Institute in the United States, leukaemia is a cancer that starts in blood-forming tissue such as bone marrow and causes large numbers of white blood cells to be produced and enter the bloodstream.
Six-year-old Malaq, an American-Egyptian expatriate, and her parents began searching for a bone marrow match, but so far their efforts have not been successful.
Nadeen wanted to be a donor, but after being told that she had to be at least 18 to do so, she began searching for other ways to help.
"We created a Facebook page and were surprised by the positive reactions we received...about a month ago I even contacted the Sharjah Blood Bank and the Ministry of Health to ask them to support us and when they said they would, I felt I had accomplished something great," the American Community School pupil said.
The Circle of Life walkathon took place on Saturday at the Yas Marina Circuit.
It was attended by Dr Hanif Hassan, Minister of Health, and Dr Ameen Al Amiri, Assistant Undersecretary for Health Practices and Licences in the Ministry of Health, and director of the ministry's Blood Transfusion and Research Centre in Sharjah, as well as fellow pupils from ACS and members of the public.