Press Release

Al Jalila Foundation and Brest Friends celebrate 14 years of giving hope to breast cancer patients in the UAE

Al Jalila Foundation, a global philanthropic organization dedicated to transforming lives through medical innovation, today celebrated longstanding partner Brest Friends 14th 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 partnership has already yielded positive results with more than AED 5 million invested in life-saving treatment to support 34 women and fund 9 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 14 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 Grosvenor House Dubai who hosted Afternoon Tea at Rhodes W1 specially prepared by celebrity Chef Gary Rhodes himself who welcomed more than 100 Brest Friends members, patients, and survivors, commemorating the positive impact Brest Friends has had on women in the UAE. During the event, Pam Wilby, Complex General Manager, Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa and the Grosvenor House Dubai, presented a cheque of AED 540,000 a contribution from the two hotel properties to support Al Jalila Foundation’s breast cancer program.

Pam Wilby commented: “We are honoured to join hands with Al Jalila Foundation and Brest Friends to host their 14th Anniversary event at Rhodes W1 and raise awareness for the breast cancer programme. For five years, Grosvenor House Dubai has been supporting this deeply important cause and raising funds and hope for breast cancer patients. This year will be no different, as it remains our goal to bring the community together to honour breast cancer patients, celebrate life with the survivors and give back.”

In addition to the delightful luxury Afternoon Tea, every guest was entered into a big prize raffle draw to win stays at various Marriott properties and everyone walked away with goody bags provided by Benefit, B/Attitude Spa and Elemis which included specialty cosmetics and spa vouchers.

The celebratory event wraps up another successful season of hope as Brest Friends in partnership with Al Jalila Foundation turns its focus toward October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, with another edition of #PINKtober. The month-long community campaign unites hundreds of Champions of Hope – education, corporate, retail and government partners – who host pink-themed events across the UAE to raise awareness, fund ground-breaking research and support breast cancer treatment.