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The pink pledge

October 13 - October 19, 2021
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Gulf Weekly The pink pledge
Gulf Weekly The pink pledge

Gulf Weekly Mai Al Khatib-Camille
By Mai Al Khatib-Camille

Think Pink Bahrain’s 2022 ambassador, Sameera Al Bitar, is spending this month cycling for breast cancer awareness as part of the Dinar for Distance (D4D) campaign.

The initiative was conceptualised by Professor Julie Sprakel, Think Pink Bahrain’s founder and chairperson, to motivate people to go the distance in any sport they wish, in support of the Think Pink Research Fund.

Individuals can pledge to run, walk, cycle, swim – or take up whatever exercise they would like – for a distance and the goal can be sponsored by friends, family and colleagues.

Sameera, who is also Bahrain’s former two-time Olympic swimmer and passionate triathlete, had set a target of 100km of cycling for the charity champions and is already gliding through her goal.

“Breast cancer has affected several people close to my heart including family members, friends and colleagues,” said the 31-year-old financial analyst from Budaiya.

“I am trying to help raise awareness as well as encourage others to adopt a healthy lifestyle. I will also try to raise donations to support the cause. My progress has been great so far. I usually dedicate time each day to exercise as I participate in triathlons and I’ve currently covered 105km cycling for the month.”

Sameera has also worked with the Royal Life Saving Bahrain charity that focuses on drowning prevention and water safety. She then moved to Ernst & Young through their Female Olympians Athlete programme.

“Given my love for sport, it is a great way to become involved with the cause,” she added. “I am also a campaign ambassador for Ryde Performance Centre, an indoor cycling studio that is also taking part in the initiative where I’ll be doing a few of my sessions to cover the distance.

“I hope people try to lead a healthier lifestyle to improve their overall well-being given that it helps reduce the chances of non-communicable diseases such as breast cancer.”

According to 2020 figures by the International Agency for Research on Cancer Globocan, a subsidiary of the World Health Organisation, breast cancer is the most prevalent cancer on the island, accounting for 20.1 per cent of the total cases. It accounts for 37.9pc of cancers among women in the country, followed by colorectal, ovary, corpus-uteri and lung.

Think Pink Bahrain’s vice-chairperson Tahera Al Alawi and Dr Julie believe Sameera ‘perfectly fits in to their awareness family’. 

“The charity has always aligned itself with fitness and health and I am so honoured to welcome Sameera to our Think Pink family of ambassadors,” said Tahera.

The Muharraq Horse Riding School Ladies’ Endurance team has been their ambassadors since 2016 and are still ongoing.

“Sameera is a passionate athlete and has demonstrated true dedication to the sport in the kingdom. She is also an excellent role model for woman empowerment,” she added.

Meanwhile, Dr Julie, who pledged to cross 100km as well, has achieved 20km thus far and hopes more people register for the cause.

“It is a lot more than just a distance,” Dr Julie explained. “It’s that commitment that you make with yourself. You get up and move to do it for our community.”

Dr Julie also can’t stress enough that Think Pink Bahrain is a home grown non-profit organisation and that any money raised, as per the regulations of the kingdom and Decree 50, remains in Bahrain.

“It supports training and education as well as research and purchase of equipment via Bahraini companies,” added Dr Julie.

“We have been campaigning for 18 years and collaborations and partnerships have been endorsed by the highest offices and people within Bahrain. I am proud of the community and to be an honorary Bahraini.”

The Think Pink Research Fund will be the biggest of its kind on the island and is set to be unveiled in 2022.

Participants can register for D4D as an individual, a corporate or a school via www.thinkpinkbahrain.com by paying a BD2 fee.

For details, visit www.thinkpinkbahrain.com or follow @thinkpinkbahrain and @sameeraalbitar on Instagram.







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