Sharjah : Friends of Cancer Patients (FOCP) UAE, in collaboration with the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department in Dubai (IACAD), organised an Umrah trip for 28 cancer patients and four FOCP supervisors, to show them moral support while enabling them to perform Umrah rituals which helps to alleviate their sufferings and overcome the obstacles they face along their journey of treatment with hope and spiritual guidance.
The initiative stems from FOCP’s belief in the power of psychological and spiritual support for cancer patients – a move consistent with their multi-pronged approach to patient treatment, which seeks to inspire confidence in them and truly believe in their potential for a full recovery. In a gesture to enhance institutional cooperation to further community service initiatives as part of fulfilling their corporate social responsibility IACAD covered all costs of the trip.
FOCP made all the arrangements and facilitated the medical and wellness procedures for all patients. The organization received required travel documents, coordinated with officials in charge of the Umrah campaign, and facilitated the issuance of special cards for visiting cancer patients.
Upon their arrival in Mecca, the group was under careful supervision of an assistant group of escorts who followed up on all their requirements and needs throughout the days of the Umrah. FOCP also dispatched its team to oversee the trip and provide the needed services to the pilgrims. The team included Horia Ahmed, Patient Affairs Senior Executive; Hamid Al Hamid Community Affairs Executive; Badr Al Juaidi, Events and Logistics Senior Executive; and nurse
Dina Abdul Salam Salem. Amel Al Maazmi, Beneficiary Support & Community Affairs Manager at FOCP, said: “We, at FOCP, work relentlessly to prevent patients from losing confidence because the patients’ trust in themselves, their treating doctors and their families is an essential aspect of their recovery. therefore, we strive to offer them the best possible psychological support too.” She added: “We sincerely hope that in this spiritual journey of performing Umrah rituals will yield great results, giving patients solemn time – we hope each patient’s self- confidence and faith in themselves and their positivity have received a great boost through this trip.” Praising the initiative, Al Maazmi said: “It is not uncommon to see our national institutions take the initiative to provide aid and assistance to anyone in need. The initiative by the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department reflects interdependence and cohesion deeply-rooted in
the Emirati society. As we highly appreciate this initiative, we are confident it will cement ties of joint action that brings together official institutions and civil society organisations to support humanitarian work.”
Afaf Afiffi Al Sayyed, a breast cancer survivor expressed extreme happiness about being given the opportunity to make an Umrah visit. She said: “Visiting the Kaaba and performing Umrah has always been my dream, which has become a reality thanks to Friends of Cancer Patients and the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department in Dubai. This was one of the most memorable experiences of my life.”
Afiffi added: “The kind of psychological boost I have received after visiting one of the most holy lands for those who practice Islam is second to none. There are no words to express the blessed feeling and comfort people enjoy due to the sanctity of the place.”
She thanked FOCP for sending a special team that escorted them while performing Umrah and the great efforts they made to secure all the needs of pilgrims who felt comfortable and happy at
all times, which reflected very positively on the visiting patients.
Founded in 1999, the Friends of Cancer Patients (FOCP) aims to promote community awareness about the six early detectable cancers; breast cancer, cervical cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer, testicular cancer and colon cancer. Besides its awareness activities, FOCP provides moral and financial support for thousands of patients and their families regardless of nationality and age. It has so far provided support for many of cancer patients, including children, women and men in the UAE.
Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities in Dubai (IACAD) was founded on the twentieth of October 1969 by a decree issued by the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum to establish the Department of Awqaf, which is responsible of spreading Islamic knowledge and culture, raise religious awareness across the community; and review and print the Holy Quran, religious publications and multimedia, and license their distribution.
The functions of the department include also establishing, licensing, supervising, and managing Holy Qur'an Memorization Centers; taking care of mosques and supervising them; licensing charitable associations and Islamic institutions and supervising their administrative, financial, and cultural affairs as well as approving their curricula; and regulating and supervising the affairs of Fatwa and issuing them.