Cancer society receives over 25 cases monthly

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Cancer society receives over 25 cases monthly

Friends of Cancer Patients Society raises about Dh1.2 million funds from generous donors under the Zakat initiative last year.

By Lily B. Libo-on

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Published: Thu 31 Jul 2014, 11:37 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 8:56 PM

The Friends of Cancer Patients Society (FoCP) is receiving an average of 25 to 30 cancer patients monthly, around 85 per cent of whom are non-Emiratis, — Muslim residents who cannot afford treatment costs.

These glaring facts and figures propelled the FoCP to launch the Zakat initiative every Ramadan.

Ameera binKaram, president of the board of trustees and a founding member of the FoCP, said of the total daily cancer cases, 15 to 20 are applying for financial help to cover their medical costs. “While we do not have a comprehensive count of the overall number in the UAE, these statistics begin to give an indication of the scale of the challenge,” she said.

She said about Dh1.2 million funds raised from generous donors under the Zakat initiative last year supported 169 or around two-thirds of the 267 cancer patients who could not pay for their treatment.

“Our target in 2014 will be as ambitious as our resources allow. We are resolved to building upon last year’s efforts and reaching out to as many cancer patients as we can. Each contribution, however seemingly small, is important. Combined, we can provide life-transforming support to hundreds of people and their families. Donors can give as little as Dh10 by typing ZAKAT and sending it to 4425. Our staff members are also on hand at two locations within Sharjah Co-operative at Halwan and Qarayed to accept personal donations, and payments can also be made through credit cards or directly into our Zakat bank account,” Binkaram said.

She quoted the Fatwa issued by the Permanent Fatwa Committee in Sharjah, which defined the funds that people contribute could be used to treat Muslims sick of cancer and are unable to afford treatment.

“Some of the expenses the Zakat initiative will cover include medication including chemotherapy and radiation, medical costs from early detection to surgery; procedures carried out abroad, such as bone marrow transplants; and prosthetic limbs and other medical equipment.” Launched three years ago in 2011, she said the Zakat campaign has been a valuable part of FoCP’s annual fund-raising programme to support the majority of the cancer patients who come to FoCP in need of financial assistance.

“To qualify for FoCP assistance, patients need to be either a UAE national or resident, as well as having a medical report issued from within the UAE confirming their cancer case,” Binkaram said.

She said that FoCP has ambitious plans to improve and expand upon what it has currently offered. “This includes, for example, adding more financial assistance options, including more patients within our support remit, offering psychological and moral services, and benchmarking what we do to international standards.”

Binkaram also said that it is important not to generalise because cancers vary in their prevalence among people of different age groups. We have placed a lot of emphasis on tackling breast cancer, among other types of cancers, as it is one of the most common cancers in the region. Our focus is on early detection through awareness which could increase survival rates for many cancers markedly.

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