Think Pink breast cancer awareness campaign in Bahrain
Time Out Bahrain staff
The Think Pink campaign has been running high profile events and campaigns for several years now. How has awareness of breast cancer improved? There is still a lack of awareness worldwide, I don’t think we should be specific to Bahrain. Sure, each country may do awareness events, but the fact is, we all think it is a disease that happens to someone else. The statistics prove otherwise. The biggest response is from the schools. This is the new generation of Bahrain. They are more informed, thanks to varying communication channels, and for them it is something that they want to learn more about and be proactive for. This is where we have seen the biggest changes. Those girls back in 2005 that received a lecture are now absorbed into the kingdom’s workforce. They know about the charity and the i-check brand, and pass the information on. The events themselves have become high profile due to the local community support, without which we would have never been able to spread our awareness campaign.
Breast cancer has traditionally been seen as a women’s disease, but two per cent of sufferers are men. Are they aware that they are at risk? Does Think Pink address this? WHO [World Health Organisation] reported in 2008 that the two per cent of the 1.2 million people diagnosed with breast cancer during that year were in fact men. We address it with the facts, which usually draws surprise. Although the prevalence in Bahrain is significantly less in men, there have been reported cases here of men being diagnosed with breast cancer. The fact that both brand ambassadors for the charity have been men should make a powerful statement. Our 2010 ambassador is Sami Khoheji. He is raising the awareness between both genders. What should people be looking for? And what should they do if they find a lump? People should be looking at anything that is not ‘normal’ for them. Lumps, bumps, rash, dimpling, excaudate… anything that is not normal for them. That is why is important to know your own body. The internet is full of information about self checking, both in English and Arabic. Alternatively, you can check out the help and advice at www.thinkpinkbahrain.com.
Think Pink has been hugely successful in its fundraising. How is the money spent and what impact have the funds made on the local community? We have two very distinct funds running alongside each other. The education fund is money raised from the annual golf days at the Royal Golf Club. To date, we have sent four Bahrain nurses to a certified course in Germany for lymphedema. We have two Bahraini nurses enrolled in the Master in Nursing course available at The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Medical University of Bahrain, the first of which will graduate in June 2011. The plan is to have Bahraini nurses graduate every year from here on in.
The MRI fund is about purchasing a digital MRI machine, the cost of which is BD450,000. The money from every other event goes directly to this fund. Right now, we have 80 per cent of the total. Yes, this is an ambitious target, but it is achievable. When you see the statistics coming out of the region, in which women are being diagnosed in their 20s, we needed this machine yesterday. All donations can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org