My friend Maya and I were born in Rashid Hospital Dubai one day apart in December 1982. Since then our lives have closely followed one another, we went to the same school, competed on the swim team, studied for exams together and enjoyed a memorable childhood growing up in Dubai in the 1980s and 1990s.
We celebrated milestones together- graduations, weddings, baby showers and held each other's hands when life didn't go as planned and we hit bumps in the road.
In June 2015 , Maya, a young , healthy 32 year old and mum to a 3 year old boy was suddenly diagnosed with cancer. Our lives had been so closely intertwined up until that point and I could not understand this sudden diagnosis- our lives came to a standstill.
I felt helpless but tried to step up and support her as best I could. After many months of treatment , Maya recovered and now 5 years later is living life cancer- free.
Her experience stayed with me and I was determined to find a way to help other women like her who battle this disease daily alongside their many responsibilities as mothers, wives, employees, daughters and friends.
My first initiative was to not cut my hair for as long as I could. I saw first hand how having access to wigs and makeup helped in making Maya look and feel normal even for just a moment. I have not cut my hair for over 36 months - it has now grown long enough to make 2 for women undergoing cancer treatment.
However I did not want to stop at donating my hair and wanted to use the donation as a platform to raise awareness about institutions like Al Jalila who support women and children all over the city while they bravely battle this disease. In this respect, THAT concept store Mall of the Emirates have dedicated their official first hair cut to my cause, where we will cut my hair to be donated for wigs for Cancer patients. We will shortly share the video for this! Majid Al Futtaim Lifestyle have supported in setting up the campaign through Yalla Give and the goal is to raise funds for Al Jalila Foundation to help children especially going through cancer treatments. The funds will aid expenses for treatments.
Al Jalila Foundation, a global healthcare philanthropic organisation dedicated to transforming lives, was founded by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Ruler of Dubai in April 2013, to position Dubai and the UAE at the forefront of medical innovation. Al Jalila Foundation supports medical treatment for individuals unable to afford quality healthcare; provides scholarships to nurture a home-grown generation of medical professionals; and funds ground-breaking research that addresses health challenges prevalent in the region: cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity and mental health. Al Jalila Foundation is named after Her Highness Sheikha Al Jalila Bint Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the daughter of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Al Jalila Foundation is fully funded by the generosity of donors with funds donated invested into medical research, education and treatment in the UAE. Al Jalila Foundation is one of 33 member organisations under the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives which embodies the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum to improve the Arab world through humanitarian, developmental and community work. For more information please visit www.aljalilafoundation.ae.
2020 has been a challenging year for many and if anything has reiterated the importance of helping one another and giving back within our communities. Please join me to raise awareness and funds for AL JALILA FOUNDATION and support women like my friend Maya in all stages of their illness- from diagnosis, to treatment to recovery.
I would like to thank Majid Al Futtaim Lifestyle for all the support and THAT concept store Mall of the Emirates for dedicating the first official haircut in their newly opened salon, to cut my hair and help me raise funds for this campaign. Last but not least I would like to thank Al Jalila Foundation for supporting my mission. All I want is to be able to help and make a difference!
We are all in this together, so let's reach this goal and make a significant impact on lives that have already seen too much hardship. We can all help out and start the year with good deeds!
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