#OmanPride: Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to keep mobile cancer unit alive in Oman

More sports Sunday 29/May/2016 22:28 PM
By: Times News Service
#OmanPride: Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to keep mobile cancer unit alive in Oman

Muscat: The Oman Cancer Association’s (OCA) Mobile Mammography Unit (MMU) may be closed down, as the organisation is struggling to raise funds to pay for the MMU’s expenses.
The Mobile Mammography Unit costs OMR118,000 annually to operate, with costs including insurance, maintenance of the machine and truck, and salaries.
“This year, we will concentrate not only on Dar Al Hanan, but also the Mobile Mammography Unit, because it needs a lot of funds to keep it going,” said Dr Wahid Al Kharusi, OCA’s new president.
“If we don’t raise this money, we will have to close the doors of the Mobile Mammography Unit and a lot of people will suffer,” he added.
To tackle the funding problem, Nasser Al Azri, OCA’s Secretary General, volunteered to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, with the aim of raising funds to keep the Mobile Mammography Unit operating. Al Azri will need seven days to climb the 50 kilometers to the peak, along with stopping six times.
Al Azri will plant a flag at each stop bearing OCA’s logo, including the sponsors’ logos. The higher the flag is placed will indicate what level the sponsor has contributed towards, with the diamond sponsor having the flag planted at the mountain’s peak.
“The idea is not only to climb, but also to create awareness about OCA and to raise funds through sponsors, and people individually sponsoring him,” said Al Kharusi.
Al Azri noted, “I’ll climb to show the community that nothing is impossible, and that reflects also on the cancer patients, that curing cancer is not impossible and together we can spread awareness about early diagnosis, as well as educate people about early diagnosis.”
Al Azri is set to climb the mountain at the end of July, and OCA is currently looking for sponsors to fund the expedition. He is also training with a cross fit team to assure he will be fit enough to handle the climb.
When asked how much OCA is targeting, Al Azri said, “The sky is the limit. We want to try and get as much as we possibly can.”
Cancer prevention is one of the main issues OCA is looking at solving, and Al Kharusi is encouraging all people to be checked for cancer earlier in their lives to assure earlier treatment.
Al Kharusi revealed that since 2009, the Mobile Mammography Unit screened over 15,000 women, and a significant number of them learned of positive test results. Those who were diagnosed with cancer were immediately assigned a consultant and began treatment. “Cancer is growing and costs a lot of money to even create awareness. It costs a lot of money to operate equipment to diagnose patients with cancer,” said Al Kharusi.
“If you look at this region, especially in East Africa, cancer is increasing and people are dying because of the lack of diagnosis and lack of treatment,” he added.
He reiterated that the goal is to create prevention and raise awareness about prevention, because “it is one way of defeating cancer”.
“Prevention is the only answer for low and middle income countries,” added Al Kharusi.