Following the announcement of the second edition of the UAE Relay For Life (RFL) cancer walkathon, to be held on November 22–23 in Sharjah, Friends Of Cancer Patients (FOCP) has announced the release of “RFL UAE”, a smart application that will allow people to keep fit while they raise funds to support those affected by cancer.
Downloading the app and registering personal details will make one part of the RFL community. The app will keep track of the number of steps the app’s user takes. Each goal on the app is linked to the completion of a certain number of steps, which once taken, enables the user to donate a specified amount to FOCP.
The purpose of the RFL UAE app is to enable users maintain healthy lifestyles and reduce their risk of cancer and other lifestyle diseases. While doing so, they attach their personal journeys to those of thousands of cancer patients fighting the disease. The app will come in handy before and after the RFL 2019 walkathon, tracking users’ steps all year round, enabling them to be in a virtual relay and connected with the global RFL community always.
The app charts out a set of ‘journeys’ and links them to fundraising goals as follows. The first journey requires 3,000 steps to be taken in 30 days, linked to a donation of AED 25 on achieving the goal. The other journeys are: 8,000 steps to be completed in 30 days with a donation of AED 50; and 12,000 steps in 30 days with a donation of AED 75. The fourth journey is participating in the 24-hour RFL event. FOCP has set a goal of 1 billion steps to be achieved.
Speaking on the occasion, Her Excellency Sawsan Jafar, Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Friends Of Cancer Patients (FOCP), said: “When FOCP organised the first Relay For Life in 2017 under the patronage of HH Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of the Sharjah Ruler and Founding President of FOCP, more than 2,500 people from different nationalities and age groups joined hands with one objective – support cancer patients and raise funds to assist their challenging and expensive treatments. It felt like the FOCP team had multiplied exponentially. What we strived to achieve for months, was realised in a matter of hours.”
“I invite you all, once again, to live the ‘Relay For Life’ experience with us, at the American University of Sharjah on 22nd of November. With your support, we hope that our larger family will flourish, strengthening our core belief that ‘life gives in abundance’ and we should come forward and give back. Let us all Relay For Life,” she added.
For his part, Badr Al Juaidi, Relay For Life Programme Manager said: “The aim of the RFL UAE app or the event is not just to raise funds, but to serve as a permanent platform of fitness and health for our participants. The application will be a lifelong aide, supporting users to keep track of their daily physical activity and link that to a larger, common goal of raising vital funds that will support cancer patients.”
Al Juaidi thanked the event main sponsors, Crescent Petroleum and Bank of Sharjah, and the venue partner, American University of Sharjah. He also released the floor plan of the event detailing the locations of the various events including the Survivor Zone, Kids Zone, Activities Zone, Partner Zone and the tents.
Cancer survivors say Relay For Life is a pillar of support for cancer patients
Nahla, a cancer survivor and RFL 2017 participant said the walkathon was immensely inspiring, where she walked alongside many brave patients who supported each other through the 24-hour event. “Early detection makes recovery a better chance. I urge everyone to spread awareness among friends and family about the importance of regular check-ups and screening”, she said, adding, “I will be returning for RFL 2019 with a big group of 20 friends.”
Another survivor in attendance, Jessica March, added: “My husband heard about the RFL event through his friends and persuaded me to participate along with him. It was a very emotional occasion for me to see my husband’s devotion, when he walked for 20 hours to show his support for me. I found the organisers, and everybody connected with Relay for Life to be very sympathetic and considerate. The activities at RFL bring people from all backgrounds together and make patients feel like they are part of a circle of friends who will always be there to help them through their fight with cancer.”
Reem Kambris, Communications Specialist, Crescent Petroleum, said: “Since Crescent Petroleum’s inception in Sharjah in 1971, we have leveraged our expertise to promote not only cleaner energy, but also social sustainability in the Middle East. We are very happy to associate with RLF. On behalf of Crescent Petroleum, I would like to thank FOCP for introducing multiple campaigns that inspire us to change the narrative around cancer and place our region on the map against the disease.”
On his part, Kevin Mitchell, Chancellor, American University of Sharjah (AUS) said: “A university has an additional commitment to work with the community for the good of society and our association with the FOCP to partner in the Relay For Life event is a part of that commitment. It is a part of our civic responsibility to partner in any activity that has the good of the community at heart. Although the AUS does not host a medical college, there is a commitment to medical research in related departments. As a part of this, we are conducting a lot of cancer-related research at the university.”
He added: “The AUS is very happy to partner with FOCP in the RFL event. This year our staff, students and faculty will volunteer to provide support on ground. We wish the event every success.”
How to register
Al Juaidi detailed the ways people could register for the event. Those who are interested can register by accessing the website: http://focp.ae/relayforlifeuae/participate-form/.
People can register in three ways. The first is by forming a team, in which a team captain inputs information about their group under a team name of their choosing. The minimum number of people to make a team is two. There is no limit on the maximum number.
The second way to participate is by joining an existing team. The participant can fill in the team’s name and add his or her name to the team in order to participate with them. They can also participate individually by joining as a single member.
On-site registration on the day of the event will also be available. However, participants are advised to complete the registration process online if they want to avoid queues and save time. Tents, market tables, accessories bags and Relay For Life Luminaria can also be reserved online.
The registration fee for participants above the age of 13 is AED 25 which will go towards supporting cancer patients. Those below the age of 13 can participate for free.
Organised in collaboration with the American Cancer Society, Relay for Life is the largest fundraising event for cancer in the world and was held for the first time in the MENA region by FOCP in Sharjah in 2017.
The first Relay for Life was organised in the USA back in 1985 by a colorectal surgeon Dr. Gordy Klatt, who raised $27,000 for his local cancer charity. Since then the event has been adopted by the American Cancer Society and has gone on to become the largest fundraising event for cancer in the world. Currently taking place in more than 30 countries, Relay for Life has to date raised more than $5 billion in support of cancer patients worldwide.
Founded in 1999, FOCP was established to help alleviate the financial and emotional burden that cancer often imposes on patients and their families, and to promote awareness about the six early detectable forms of the disease; breast, cervical, prostate, skin, testicular and colorectal cancers. Apart from its awareness role, FOCP is committed to providing moral and financial support to thousands of patients and their families of all ages and nationalities across the UAE. To date, FOCP has provided support to more than 4,500 cancer patients and their families.