Press Release

Al Jalila Foundation and Brest Friends celebrate 13 years of giving hope to breast cancer patients in the UAE

Al Jalila Foundation, a global philanthropic organisation dedicated to transforming lives through medical innovation, today celebrated Brest Friends 13th anniversary acknowledging the impact the home-grown program has contributed to breast cancer awareness in the UAE.

It is estimated that one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime and it is the second leading cause of death among women. The high prevalence of the disease reinforces the critical need for medical research and improved treatment to save lives. Al Jalila Foundation and Brest Friends work together to raise awareness, fund treatment and invest in pioneering research.

Brest Friends was established in 2005 as the first breast cancer support group in the UAE, by Dr Houriya Kazim, the UAE’s first female surgeon, with the mission to save lives by increasing awareness of breast cancer and providing a platform where patients and survivors can learn, share experiences and offer moral and emotional support to each other which has proven to be instrumental in a woman’s healing process.

Dr Houriya Kazim, President and Founder of Brest Friends, commented: “We are delighted to achieve this milestone by honouring survivors and reflecting on the impact Brest Friends has made to women in the UAE. Breast cancer awareness has improved dramatically since 2005, thanks to the support of strong advocates and the community who promote and run campaigns highlighting the importance of early detection throughout the year. We would like to mark this anniversary by amplifying a message of hope that the disease can be beaten – there is life after cancer – and through ground-breaking research we aim to develop tangible results to transform the future health of women.”

Brest Friends partnered with Al Jalila Foundation in 2015 expanding its capabilities to facilitate medical treatment and fund locally-based research into the epidemiology of breast cancer. The 3-year partnership has already yielded positive results with more than AED 5 million invested in life-saving treatment to support 26 women and fund seven breast cancer research studies in the UAE.

Her Excellency Dr Raja Easa Al Gurg, Chairperson of the Board of Directors and Member of the Board of Trustees of Al Jalila Foundation, said: “We are proud to celebrate this milestone with Brest Friends who, over the last thirteen years, has established itself as a beacon of hope for breast cancer patients in the UAE. Through our partnership, and with the help of our donors, we have been able to provide quality medical care and support to women with breast cancer. In line with our mission to advance medical research in the region we have funded a number of pioneering projects which are underway and promise to yield positive outcomes that will offer hope and healing to patients in the future.”

The anniversary event was generously sponsored by Sesame restaurant in Sunset Mall and attended by more than 60 Brest Friends members, patients and survivors, commemorating the positive impact Brest Friends has had on women in the UAE.