Pink picnic raises cancer awareness

Pictured, at the back, from left, are members of the Muslim Judicial Council Womens Forum, Bilquis Alexander, Majidah Emandien and Adeebah Sha. In front are Khursheed Allie, first deputy president of the MJC Maulana Abdul Khaliq Allie, Amina Viljoen, Fatima Abrahams and Gafsa Wilson. Not pictured is Mualima Khadija Patel-Allie, chairperson of the forum.

Women came dressed in pink to support Pink Hijab Day and enjoy a picnic at Westridge Gardens last Thursday, October 25.

The Muslim Judicial Council Women’s Forum hosted the event to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.

Pink Hijab Day is an international initiative, which aims to break the stereotypes around Muslim women, encourage Muslim women to take part in community events and to raise funds for cancer research. Globally Pink Hijab Day was celebrated yesterday, Tuesday October 30.

Speaking about her experience with breast cancer, Gabiba Lalla, from Rylands, implored the women to be tested and to lend support to those with cancer.

“Please go and have a mammogram. If you don’t understand what is going on in your life, especially with cancer, don’t get
discouraged or frustrated,” she said.

“The Almighty knows what you don’t know. He never promised that everything would make sense but he did promise that you would be okay. Just trust in him.”

Ms Lalla also said that her family and friends assisted her by dropping and fetching her from Groote Schuur Hospital for treatments.

“They knew I may feel weak or tired after treatment,” she said.

She added that, with the support of her husband and their two sons, she felt more at ease.

Mualima Khadija Patel-Allie, chairperson of the forum, said they wanted to take the programme into nature and keep the event in the community – “bringing it closer to home”.

“An important message to our sisterhood, one we’d like to emphasise, is that if you or a loved one is diagnosed with cancer, there is definitely no shame in it, neither is it a death sentence,” she said.

Ms Patel-Allie said awareness of breast cancer symptoms was important, that women should perform self examinations and be conscious of the signs.

Ms Patel-Allie said the forum was also engaging high schools to encourage teachers to speak to pupils about breast cancer and how to cope as a young caregiver.

“We encourage principals and teachers to host their own Pink Hijab Day event at their respective schools, take some pictures and or a video for social media and post it using the tag #PinkHijabDay,” she said.

Ms Patel-Allie said they asked principals to dedicate a two-minute talk about disease.

According to a Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) pamphlet, one in 922 men face the the risk of having breast cancer.

It also reads that all women are at risk, but family history increases the risk.

The forum encouraged men to support the initiative by wearing pink ribbons.

The Muslim men clergy and MJC staff donned pink armbands in support of cancer survivors.