Season of hope: Egypt's fight against women's cancers kicks off with an early start

Ingy Deif, Wednesday 2 Oct 2013

October is celebrated around the world as a symbol of fight against breast cancer. This year, the Breast Cancer Foundation of Egypt launches a series of events that inspire hope, raise awareness and celebrate the fighters

BCFE Globeathon 2013
Salma Sabbahi and Samir Ghanem at Globeathon 2013(source: BCFE Facebook page)

Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month around the world, and September the Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month, two major events in Cairo – one yet to take place on 27 October – will shed light on the various types of cancer mostly affecting women.

October in Egypt has over the years become synonymous with hope for cancer victims undergoing treatment. An instantly-successful tradition begun some years ago aiming to spread awareness, highlight accounts of bravery and share success stories, has seen October host a plethora of events and campaigns focussing on breast cancer.

Breast cancer – which, according to the National Cancer Institute, accounts for up to 38 percent of all cancer cases in Egypt – enjoys the lion's share of media highlight, although it is but one of the different cancers that hit women. 

Under the leadership of its chairman Dr Mohamed Shaalan, the BCFE decided this year to shed light on the less common, though nonetheless serious, types of cancer that women suffer from, and to do so by adding doses of fun to its awareness-raising activities.

This year, an early start of events was scheduled on 28 September. 

Zumba professional instructors rocked the ladies-only audience of their "Third Party for the Cure" held in Zamalek's Marriott Hotel, with the participation of enthusiasts and prominent figures as in previous years. Raffles and an interactive awareness session were also part of the programme.

On the same day, a walk and a run were held under the title "Globeathon Egypt: the walk to end women's cancers" in participation with Cairo Runners. 

At the Equestrian Club, also in Zamalek, a horse jumping show and a live music performance were also included in the event. One of the highlights of the day was the participation of star comedian Samir Ghanem and singer Salma Sabbahi.

On 27 October, BCFE will collaborate with the Arab Contractors Rowing Club to host "Pink on the Nile," the sequel to last year's successful event by the same title.

Last year's crowd, joined by singer Samo Zein and presenter Maha Bahnasi, witnessed the first "Row for the Cure." This year's event will raise public attention by including a sailing boat smoothly floating across the Nile throughout the day with pink ribbons on its large sail. Forty rowers will then compete in a race. 

"Row for the Cure" has been held yearly in Germany and the United States since 1994, following rower Kathy Fredrick's idea of a method by means of which the rowing community can extend support and solidarity, as well as raise funds, for breast cancer patients.

The BCFE's Shaalan believes that everyone has the capacity to join the fight, and show solidarity -- either by spreading knowledge about the disease, encouraging others for early screening, or helping underprivileged women through donations that can allow them, too, to obtain screening and treatment.

Short link: