'You are heroes', Arab icon tells cancer fighters, survivors as she launches initiative in UAE

The Lebanese singer emphasised the need for early screening, particularly for breast cancer

by

Waad Barakat

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Top Stories

Elissar Zakaria Khoury, better known as Elissa and Aysha Al Mahri (R), Deputy CEO of Burjeel Medical City at the Arab Health in Dubai on Jan 29 2024. KT Photos: Rahul Gajjar
Elissar Zakaria Khoury, better known as Elissa and Aysha Al Mahri (R), Deputy CEO of Burjeel Medical City at the Arab Health in Dubai on Jan 29 2024. KT Photos: Rahul Gajjar

Published: Mon 29 Jan 2024, 5:35 PM

Last updated: Mon 29 Jan 2024, 9:44 PM

Lebanese singer Elissar Zakaria Khoury, the Arab world's music icon, has not only influenced the industry with her singing and lyrics but has also emerged as an inspiration for cancer fighters by sharing her journey of overcoming breast cancer. As a survivor herself, Elissa has been a beacon of hope since she triumphed over the disease in 2018.

The singer has now brought her message of hope and resilience to the UAE, launching the 'Ring for Life' initiative by Burjeel Medical City (BMC). During the inaugural day of Arab Health on Monday, the 51-year-old artist ceremonially rang the bell at the BMC booth, inspiring those navigating cancer diagnosis. The initiative celebrates significant milestones in a patient's journey, from the commencement of treatment to the joyous moment of completion.

Stay up to date with the latest news. Follow KT on WhatsApp Channels.

Addressing the challenges posed by the projected $25.2 trillion global cost of cancer from 2020 to 2050, the ‘Ring for Life’ initiative seeks to raise awareness and promote solidarity among patients, healthcare professionals, and the broader community. The initiative signals the latest developments and advanced care that are reshaping the landscape of oncology.

Before ringing the bell, Elissa addressed the audience, directing her message to cancer fighters. She said, "Nothing I can say can make things easier for cancer survivors and fighters because everyone has their journey and experience. But there's one thing I want to say to everyone going through this: You are a hero."

The singer emphasised the need for early screening, particularly for breast cancer. She stressed the importance of raising awareness about cancer in the Arab world, particularly given the high incidence rates, especially for breast cancer.

Elissa's journey

Elissa recounted her journey, stating that after her diagnosis, she faced the fear of death. However, after meeting her doctor and gaining a deeper understanding of the disease, she realised that breast cancer was treatable. Elissa highlighted the importance of regular check-ups, as breast cancer is not solely genetic but can also be influenced by factors such as stress and air pollution.

Recalling her journey with cancer, she said, “Considering my personal history, along with my sister and father, who succumbed to cancer, I firmly believe that this disease can be successfully treated if detected early. Regular screening for women with breast cancer is incredibly important, given the significantly high cure rates compared to other types of cancer."

The most challenging phase for Elissa was the period following her surgeries. She stressed the importance of a strong support system. “Psychological support from family and friends for cancer patients is very important. Strength and encouragement from loved ones play a crucial role in helping individuals overcome the challenges of the disease.”

Elissa's disease was detected early, and initially, she chose to keep her illness private. After completing her treatment, she decided to use her experience to raise awareness about the disease.

Ring of life

Aysha Al Mahri, Deputy CEO of Burjeel Medical City, explained the underlying message behind the ‘Ring for Life’ initiative. "When a cancer patient is diagnosed, they often feel like life is over and that there is no hope. Through the 'Ring for Life' initiative, we aim to communicate that there is hope. The ringing of the bell symbolizes this hope and reminds patients that they can live their lives with quality and optimism," she told Khaleej Times.

Al Mahri further emphasised the commitment of their organisation to bring hope to cancer patients by providing advanced treatment options, leveraging technology, and offering a supportive environment that feels like being with family rather than in a hospital.

ALSO READ:


More news from Lifestyle