Posted on October 29, 2017

To mark this year’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Aspire Zone Foundation (AZF), in collaboration with the Qatar Cancer Society (QCS), on Saturday held a ‘Pink Walk’ breast cancer awareness event. The aim of such breast cancer awareness activity is to encourage participants to embrace a healthier lifestyle and learn more about the causes of breast cancer as well as recommended steps to reduce the risk of developing it.

Taking place at Aspire Park on October 28th, more than 800 men and women of all ages participated in various activities at the ‘Pink Walk’ breast cancer awareness event. The event kicked off with the largest ever ‘human ribbon’ in Qatar, made up of more than 400 volunteers of all ages standing in formation. Other activities at the event included an interactive breast cancer awareness seminar presented by Ms. Heba Nassar from the QCS which was accompanied by a small Q&A to test participants’ knowledge, and a five-minute warm-up session delivered by an Aspire Zone fitness instructor, for the 1-2km walk around Aspire Park that followed.

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Commenting on the event, Ms. Alanoud Al-Mesnad, Acting Head of Events at AZF, said: “We are very happy with this unprecedented and large turnout to this year’s ‘Pink Walk’ campaign. Thanks to the organisers at Aspire Zone Foundation, and our partners at the Qatar Cancer Society, this is the third consecutive year we have organised such activity. I’m glad to say that we have attracted an increasing number of participants including men and women of all ages. The growth in numbers shows people’s appetite to learn more and educate themselves about breast cancer, as well as an increased willingness to become involved in activities that raise awareness about such important issues in Qatar.”

She continued: “For this year’s event, we tried to attract the largest group possible across the local community. There are lots of great activities and the staff at Aspire Zone have set up a pink wall, where participants were able to write and hang pink ribbons. We’d also like to thank everyone who took part in the largest ever human ribbon formation attempted in Qatar, joining us from the large numbers of education institutions, local non-profit organisations as well as hospitality and private companies. AZF has deliberately chosen walking for this event as a light form of exercise that enables people of all ages and physical capabilities to get involved and that can be practiced anywhere, indoors and outdoors. Walking requires minimal preparation or equipment and has a lot of health benefits that help prevent many diseases including breast cancer. We hope this event goes some way towards encouraging as many people as possible to get medical check-ups because prevention is better than cure.”

Hiba Nassar, a health educator at the Qatar Cancer Society (QCS) Education Centre said: "the Qatar Cancer Society’s main objective is to support community events and partner with all institutions in the country year-round in order to educate the largest possible number of people on the nature, symptoms, prevention and early detection methods available in Qatar for all types of cancer. Our aim is to appeal to all members of the community – including men and women, young and old. In October, given that it’s breast cancer awareness month, we organise awareness campaigns that are directed at women specifically, and men more generally. Our partnership with a prestigious organisation such as Aspire Zone Foundation, which always attracts a large number of visitors from all members of society to its events, provides a major boost in enabling us to reach our target audiences. This joint event sheds light on the important role that sports activity and exercise can play in preventing all types of cancer."

A representative from Ali Bin Ali Group, the event’s sponsor, said: “Ali Bin Ali Group has decided this year to support with the ‘Pink Walk’ event, as part of our week-long campaign to mark breast cancer awareness month in October. The ‘Pink Walk’ event has brought large numbers of people together and made participants more aware of their body by teaching them how to check for and recognise symptoms themselves. It’s not always possible to run to the doctor every month to get ourselves checked, so knowing the symptoms and self-examination is necessary. Women particularly should report any change in their body to the doctors. It is commonly believed that breast cancer only affects women over a certain age, like the menopause, but recent studies have showcased that women as young as 20 can develop breast cancer. Media coverage of an event such as this is very important because it helps spread knowledge to increasing numbers of people and it might encourage even greater numbers of people to take part in the years to come.”

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The event attracted participants and volunteers from government organisations including the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, Qatar Women's Sport Committee (QWSC), Qatar Voluntary Center, in addition to Education institutions including Qatar University, Northwestern University in Qatar, Stenden Qatar – University of Applied Sciences, Yemenia University (Qatar Branch) and the Community College of Qatar.

In addition, volunteers from hospitality companies also signed up to take part including the Torch Doha, Mövenpick Hotel Al Aziziyah Doha, Doha Marriott Hotel, Rotana City Centre, Marsa Malaz Kempinski (the Pearl), City Centre Rotana Doha, Shangri-La Hotel Doha, and Crowne Plaza Doha – The Business Park. A number of private companies are also taking part including Ooredoo Qatar, Ali Bin Ali Group, BPO+, Qatar Computer Services, and UniPost.

The event is designed to mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM), an annual international health campaign organised by major breast cancer charities every October. Organisations worldwide hold activities to increase awareness of the disease among community members, particularly women, and to raise funds for research into its causes, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure. As a sports organization, AZF focuses on promoting an active and healthy lifestyle among all community members, in line with the Human Development pillar of the Qatar National Vision 2030, which aims to create a physically and psychologically healthy population for a well-rounded society.