Press Release

Al Jalila Foundation establishes Majlis Al Amal, the UAE’s first Cancer Drop-In Centre to support cancer patients

Al Jalila Foundation, a member of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, dedicated to transforming lives through medical innovation, today announced the launch of Majlis Al Amal (Hope Lounge), a unique ‘cancer drop-in centre’ and the first of its kind community centre dedicated to female cancer patients and their wellbeing.

In the UAE, approximately 4,500 new cases of cancer are reported annually, making cancer the third leading cause of death affecting more women than men. Due to the high prevalence of the disease, Al Jalila Foundation is building Hamdan Bin Rashid Cancer Charity Hospital, a state-of-the-art facility in Dubai to provide quality specialist care to cancer patients who cannot afford treatment expenses.

The announcement of the new centre marks the end of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Al Jalila Foundation’s month-long #PINKtober campaign in partnership with ‘Brest Friends’, the UAE’s first cancer support group, founded by Dr Houriya Kazim in 2005. The cancer drop-in centre draws on the success of Brest Friends support group that has proven a strong support network is integral to the patient’s healing journey.

Dr Abdulkareem Sultan Al Olama, Chief Executive Officer of Al Jalila Foundation, said: “Cancer remains one of the most serious health challenges and in addition to investing in medical research and supporting patient treatment, Al Jalila Foundation is also committed to supporting patients and survivors’ wellbeing. Around the world community drop-in centres have proven to contribute greatly to the healing process and now we look forward to contributing to bring this unique, life-changing community service to the UAE for the first time.”

Al Jalila Foundation has been working with Brest Friends since 2015 and the inspiration for the cancer drop-in centre was modelled on the support group which has helped hundreds of women across the Emirates.  Medical intervention plays a significant role in the treatment process while the emotional fragility of the patient is often overlooked. Individuals affected by cancer, and their families, are impacted psychologically and emotionally during the process and even after treatment ends.

Located on the ground floor of Al Jalila Foundation, the cancer drop-in centre is a safe space for cancer patients and their family members to enhance their emotional health in a relaxed, supportive environment. The Centre is ready to receive patients who can drop-in at any time for information, a chat over tea or coffee, use the in-house library, take part in classes, or attend educational sessions presented by specialists volunteering their time to make a difference to the lives of women affected by cancer. All services are offered free of charge. The Centre is run by volunteers and many opportunities are available for people in the community to donate their time and expertise to support cancer warriors.

Dr Houriya Kazim, President & Founder of Brest Friends said: “Dealing with cancer is one of the hardest challenges that patients and their families could face. With the opening of Majlis Al Amal women now have a place to drop-in at any time for the emotional support they need in a safe and comforting environment. The first of its kind cancer drop-in centre in the UAE is another milestone in our journey of hope to support cancer patients.

The UAE Marriott Business Council, a longstanding partner and supporter of Al Jalila Foundation’s healthcare programs, sponsored the design and fit-out of the Centre.  Marriott strives to be a force for good and encourages its employees to make a positive, sustainable impact in the communities they operate in.

Pam Wilby, Chair of the UAE Marriott Business Council, said: “On behalf of the UAE Marriott Business Council, it gives us such pleasure to unite as a team of 62 Marriott International hotels and 13,000 associates in the UAE to enable the design and fit-out of the cancer drop-in centre. We have been on an immensely gratifying, philanthropic journey with Al Jalila Foundation for several years now, and with many fundraising initiatives planned for this year and beyond, we remain committed to the relationship and to saving the millions of lives of those suffering from cancer.”

Earlier this year, Al Jalila Foundation announced that it will open the Hamdan Bin Rashid Cancer Charity Hospital in 2024 to provide life-saving treatment to cancer patients unable to afford quality care.

“Al Jalila Foundation puts patients at the heart of everything we do and we believe that everyone should have access to emotional support to help navigate their illness and improve the way they live with it. As cancer is one of Al Jalila Foundation’s healthcare priorities, Majlis Al Amal is the perfect complement to the cancer hospital providing holistic 360 patient care.” Dr Abdulkareem concluded.