Bahrain goes pink amid cancer alarm
Manama, October 1, 2011
Bahrain will go pink this month in support of breast cancer awareness and prevention, with alarming statistics showing GCC women were developing the illness as early as in their teens.
Fundraising activities and awareness drives to highlight the importance of education and early detection will be held across the country.
Events will begin with a walkathon and charity bazaar today, followed by various fitness open houses, parties, dinners and golf days.
All activities mark International Breast Cancer Awareness Month, in October, and Think Pink Bahrain's month-long charity campaign.
Part of the campaign is raising money for a digital Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine, which will be donated to Salmaniya Medical Complex (SMC).
It will be the country's first MRI dedicated to detecting breast cancer and is described as the best screening tool for the condition in young women.
The MRI costs about BD880,000 ($2.3 million) and Think Pink Bahrain still has another BD370,000 left to raise.
Think Pink Bahrain is a non-profit organisation that was founded by Jules Sprakel in 2004. Its main aims are increasing breast cancer awareness, early detection and education.
It's a community cause and we are a local Bahraini charity doing all of this for the public of Bahrain, Sprakel told the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
The team is small but support is very big from schools, private businesses and individuals.
We have a few new sponsors this year, which we are very happy about.
Sprakel explained statistics in the region revealed women in the GCC were developing breast cancer in their teens, 20s and 30s.
These findings are supported by statistics from SMC that show young women are being diagnosed with breast cancer at stage two and three.
This MRI will be a great diagnostic tool for those higher at risk and for everyone, she added.
'It's the third year that we are campaigning for the machine and we are not far off, we have BD370,000 more to raise and we are determined to reach this target.'
Last year's October campaign raised BD100,000 for Think Pink Bahrain, of which BD86,000 went towards the machine.
The other BD14,000 was used to enable SMC nurses to take their Master's in Nursing, with a major in the oncology of breast cancer, at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland-Medical University of Bahrain.
'We will get it, it's our focus, but we need the whole community to pull together, we never had a patron for Think Pink Bahrain because we believe everyone in Bahrain is a patron,' said Sprakel.
'We have our Think Pink Bahrain brand ambassador Sami Kooheji who has committed himself to a second year to see the MRI goal through to the end.'
'But if we all just give a donation of BD1 we will easily have this machine.'
For the first fundraising and awareness event, Think Pink Bahrain is teaming up with the Rotary Club of Adliya for walkathon that will see money raised divided between both charities.
Registration for the Rotary Club of Adliya's Second Pink Walkathon will take place from 2pm to 4pm and costs BD2.
The event itself will be held from 4pm at Dohat Arad, near Movenpick Hotel, and more than 1,000 people are expected to participate in the 3.1-km walk.
This is the second year we are putting our efforts together to raise awareness about breast cancer and money for both charities, Rotary Club president Laith Shukayr told the GDN.
'With the number of breast cancer patients rising in Bahrain and worldwide, we believe it is very important to buy this machine to be used by Bahrainis and expats and I wish we can do it for other cancers and diseases.
'Now with the new concept of our club we are trying to create more annual events and each month we are having an event - we held an elderly Iftar and presented Ramadan boxes last month, now is the walkathon and next it will be Eid clothes for orphans.
'Money that we raise helps fund these charity events.
Think Pink Bahrain mugs, T-shirts, ribbons and other items will be on sale at the walkathon and breast self-examination leaflets will be distributed.
There will also be live entertainment, henna and face-painting.
Sellabrations' First Charity Bazaar is another event taking place today in collaboration with Think Pink Bahrain. The bazaar will be held from 10.30am to 10.30pm in the Marquee Hall at The Royal Golf Club.
A percentage of the proceeds will be donated to Think Pink Bahrain. The event is listed on Facebook as Sellabrations' 1st Charity Bazaar.-TradeArabia News Service