The Pink Caravan is a Pan UAE breast cancer awareness initiative launched in 2011 by Friends of Cancer Patients, a UAE charitable organisation, to commemorate the occasion of their 10th anniversary celebrations.
The Pink Caravan functions under the umbrella of the "KASHF" program, which is an initiative to promote awareness of the importance of the early detection of cancer. KASHF also works towards providing information and guidance to facilitate the early detection of many types of cancer, i.e. breast cancer, cervical cancer, prostate, melanoma, and colon cancer. KASHF's first project is flagged through the Pink Caravan initiative which was especially designed to raise awareness around breast cancer and to encourage both women and men, residing within the United Arab Emirates, to perform self-examinations and go for regular meChdical check-ups.
The initiative was launched under the patronage of HRH Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah and under the directives of HH Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al-Qasimi, Wife of the Ruler of Sharjah, Founder and Royal Patron of the Friends of Cancer Patients charitable society (FoCP), Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) International Ambassador for Childhood Cancer, and UICC International Ambassador of the World Cancer Declaration.
The Pink Caravan aims to raise awareness around breast cancer early detection and screening methods, lobby for the creation of the first UAE National Cancer Registry, and raise sufficient funds to purchase and operate a state of the art mobile mammography unit. The Pink Caravan ride takes place annually, focusing across all seven emirates of the UAE, including remote and outlying areas. Over 150 experienced equine riders join forces each year, garnering support across different sectors, bringing together schools, universities, corporations, Pink Caravan ambassadors and royalty. The funds raised during this awareness campaign will ensure the availability of the latest technology and highest quality in the early screening and detection of breast cancer, making services accessible to every woman and man in the UAE.
A novel and unique initiative, the Pink Caravan has garnered widespread recognition locally, regionally, and internationally. To date the Pink Caravan Ride has travelled over 900 km across the seven emirates, with over 250 riders and 200 volunteers helping to ensure its success. Lectures and presentations were delivered at more than 100 schools and more than 250 mobile medical clinics offering early breast cancer detection examinations have been set up with more than 22,877 people, including over 5,450 men, being screened. Pink caravan had recruited ambassadors from different walks of life to lobby and advocate for its mission and primarily help raise the 15 million dirhams fund.
In June 2012 Pink Caravan and University Hospital Sharjah signed an MOU marking the beginning of the 'Cancer Centre of Excellence' operated early 2013 in collaboration with the Institute Gustave-Roussy (IGR), the leading European oncology centre, which will be known throughout the Gulf as the flagship referral and treatment centre of all cancers with its first phase focused on breast cancer, which is considered a major milestone for The Pink Caravan.