Dubai Celebrates Thalassemia Day with Family Fun and Fundraising Event
Dubai’s only dedicated Thalssemia Center celebrated this year’s Thalassemia Day with a family fun day to raise money for 10 Thalassemic children to enjoy a once in a lifetime cruise around the UAE.
About 500 people attended the fundraising event on May 8 at the Arjaan by Rotana-Dubai, which was decked out in balloons to create a fair-ground atmosphere with prize-winning games, candy-floss and stalls selling fashion accessories and art, as well as magicians, clowns and life size cartoon characters who entertained the children.
“The family day was for all our patients and staff, and the people who have supported us during the past year. We asked them all to come here today to have fun with us,” said Dr. Khawla Mohd Belhoul, Director of the Thalaseemia Center, Al Wasl Hospital.
“The message for this year’s Thalassemia Day is to test for the blood disorder as early as possible. Do not wait for the pre-marital test, but have a test done before that and have your children tested too,” she added.
Ticket sales from the day raised AED54,000 which will go towards a week-long cruise for 10 young patients. Such trips are an important part of the non-medical care of younger Thalassemia patients as they give the children a more positive outlook on their illness.
“These trips are really important for the overall care of our teenage patients. We use them in two ways; to reward patients who achieve a high level of treatment compliance and to encourage others to improve their attitude towards their condition and on-going care,” explained Dr. Essam Doheir, Coordinator of the Thalassemia Center.
The family day was organised and hosted at Arjaan by Rotana- Dubai, located in Dubai Media City, as part of the hotel’s commitment to supporting local communities and charities.
“Rotana is very keen to assist in doing what we can to make the lives of these children a bit happier. Today’s event is the first of many we are planning to raise money for local causes,” said Mark Deere, General Manager of Arjaan Rotana-Dubai.
“We would like to thank all the local organisations, shops and restaurants that donated their goods and services to make today such as great success,” he added.
According to figures collated by Dubai Health Authority, one in 12 people in the UAE carry the gene for thalassemia, a blood disorder which reduces the number of normal red blood cells in the body.
If two carriers have children, the likelihood of each child developing the disease is 25 percent. The lack of red blood cells prevents the normal flow of oxygen around the body, which presents with similar symptoms to anemia.
Around 40 percent of the patients at the Thalassemia Center are Emiratis, another 40 percent are expatriates from Asia and Africa, while 20 percent are other Arab nationals.