Seven cancer survivors from across the GCC shared their powerful and inspiring journeys of hope and courage at the first ‘Gulf Survivors Forum 2021’ organised by UAE-based non-profit, Friends Of Cancer Patients (FOCP), under the slogan, ‘Together We Thrive’.
Held on Monday, June 28, under the patronage of Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, and Founder and Patron of FOCP, in collaboration with the Gulf Federation for Cancer Control (GFCC), the forum aimed at encouraging communities across the Gulf region to make a lasting difference in the lives of cancer patients through financial and emotional support.
The virtual forum held on FOCP’s YouTube channel commenced with a keynote address by Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, founding member and Vice Chairperson of FOCP’s Board of Directors. She commended the efforts of the first-of-its-kind event in the region to intensify societal and institutional support for cancer survivors by positioning them as role models and beacons of hope for patients currently undergoing treatment.
Since inception, FOCP has made massive strides in raising awareness and providing comprehensive support to cancer patients and their families, Al Qasimi added.
At the forum, each of the seven cancer survivors highlighted how it was self-examination that first brought their condition to light. They described the personal struggles with their respective treatments and emphasised how a positive outlook, proper awareness, and emotional support from family and friends made the journey less arduous.
The survivors highlighted the vital role of organisations such as FOCP and the positive impact of their various initiatives on cancer patients and vowed to support those who are currently undergoing treatment with the insights they had gained through their recovery journey. They urged cancer patients to be open about their condition, seek psychiatric help, if required, to cope with accepting the diagnosis and subsequent treatment and recovery.
Samar Ismail representing Friends of Cancer Patients from UAE; Awatif Al Hoshan of Al Zahra Breast Cancer Association from Saudi Arabia; Hawra Al Shola from Bahrain Cancer Society; and Dr. Nadia Al Mahmoud from Kuwait’s Society for Preventing Smoking and Cancer, shared their stories at a session moderated by Alia Al Shamsi, Presenter at Sharjah Broadcasting Authority.
Marwa Adel from Qatar Cancer Society; Aya Al Fadool representing the National Cancer Control Foundation in Yemen; Bushra Khalfan from Oman Breast Cancer Society; and social media influencer, Yasmin Yousri, spoke about how they defied the odds during the second session moderated by Dr. Saeed Alamodi, presenter at Cultural and Media Office at the Supreme Council of Family Affairs – Sharjah.
Speaking to the virtual audience, Horia Ahmad, Manager of Patients Affairs at FOCP, dedicated the forum to all cancer survivors whose belief in the power of hope had enabled them to face their diagnosis with resolve and perseverance, and urged patients to gain inspiration from these experiences while on their road to recovery.