Muscat: The Oman Cancer Association (OCA) held its annual “Hug a Bear” initiative at the Royal Hospital, to bring joy and hope to children diagnosed with cancer and their parents, with gifts and entertaining activities.
“As a citizen of this society, we host such events to educate and make people aware of the disease in the Sultanate,” Dr. Wahib Al Kharusi, president of OCA, said.
“Through such events, we want both parents and patients to know they are not alone in this journey and we are by their side to fight this disease together,” he said.
According to Dr. Nagwa El Vanna, Consultant Paediatric Oncologist at Royal Hospital, the number of children suffering from cancer is decreasing. “It gives us immense pleasure to see that the number has been going down. We are now receiving 120 children each year, which is much lesser when compared with previous years,” he said.
The Consultant Paediatric Oncologist has been working closely with the disease-affected children for the last 30 years. The aim of the association doesn’t only include treating or reducing the number of cancer patients, but also providing patients, survivors, and families moral and psychological support while they undergo tough times. “We aim to provide extensive support to both cancer patients and survivors, as well as intend to work to reduce the socio-economic negative impact on families,” El Vanna said.
Recently, the Caledonian Society of Oman had donated OMR2,500 to the OCA, to support its efforts in raising awareness on the importance of early detection and regular screening for cancer. “The work they do is incredible and we are proud to work with them,” George Craig, Chieftain of Caledonian Society of Oman, told the Times of Oman.
“Previous fund-raisers have provided a mobile mammogram unit. They also have an ultrasound machine staffed by volunteer doctors. These two initiatives have reduced the waiting time for cancer screening from weeks to days. This means many types of cancers can now be detected earlier and that ensures a better survival rate for patients,” Craig said.
OCA is the brainchild of Yuthar Al Rawahi, a four-time cancer survivor and founder and Honorary Life President of the Association. Since its foundation, the non-governmental, non-profit umbrella organisation has been working to spread cancer awareness in the community and to support cancer patients, survivors, their families, and the community at large.