Summer is still on, but -as usual- it will be October in a wink of an eye. For quite some time now, October has been the Pink month, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, with an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. And although I always personally related to the pink campaign, I felt that I had never actually done something with it and that I could do more. I knew that it would only be a matter of time.
When we organised the Flair Games in Belgium for the first time during spring, it was a big success. Uniting the female readers of the biggest female magazine in an active challenge with a female touch was definitely a refreshing initiative. The Flair Games were organized in 5 cities and stood out amongst the typical shopping events and DIY fairs. Teams of 3 to 5 girlfriends competed against each other in 5 fun challenges. Like any other event organized by Herculean there were no athletic skills required, but a good dose of humor and camaraderie. In 2017, we will launch 5 extra cities in Belgium and continue on this success.
Then came the question from Dubai if we could organize a similar event for ladies there. It didn’t take me long to envision an event where ladies of all cultures, ages and backgrounds were competing against each other in activities that women relate to nowadays. I was thinking of challenges like how to get all your clothes in a suitcase and keeping it under the weight limit, how to recharge your phone battery by cycling, or learn to change your car tire, run on high heels, etc. The typical “1st World problems”, but certainly very common daily challenges for a lot of women. So I asked my colleague and dear friend Jane in Dubai to work on this together. Her enthusiasm could hardly be curbed, so we took the idea to Dubai Sports Council to check on the feasibility. The Council immediately endorsed the event, which encouraged us to carry on.
The idea of uniting women of all backgrounds in the UAE sounds easier than it is. Although there’s a lot of respect amongst the different nationalities, the reality is that the communities still live rather segregated. Not as a deliberate choice, but it just happens spontaneously. That’s why we thought of finding a theme that unites women all over the world and makes them forget about their differences.
That was the moment that the puzzle came together for me. What touches women more than their own femininity, all over the world? That’s right: breast cancer, the disease that doesn’t make any difference in age, skin colour or background. We contacted Pink Caravan, the pan UAE breast cancer initiative that falls under Friends of Cancer Patients’ umbrella initiative “Kashf” for early detection of cancer. It didn’t take long to get Lize De Jonge and her team on board. After the official approval by the Emirates Red Crescent -a necessary step to organize a fundraiser in the UAE- we realized that it was actually going to happen! The date was set on 21st October, on a Friday morning, in order to give the ladies enough family time for the rest of the weekend. The price per team of 5 was set: AED 650, of which AED 100 goes to Pink Caravan.
We got in touch with several potential locations to host the event. Katerina Dixon from Fairmont The Palm heard about our story and came with an offer we couldn’t refuse. Other partners were inspired by the story and joined us: ARN‘s radio station 99, Fitness First and our friends from Jaguar Land Rover ME.
I almost can’t believe that the event, which started as an initiative by Jane and myself, is now a reality. Our website is http://www.pinkladiesgames.com. The campaign to recruit teams is starting this week with several radio ads and articles. I really hope that a lot of women in the UAE will respond to it.
My dream is for women to unite as friends in a really fun challenge, regardless of what makes us different. Call me an idealist and a dreamer, but I stick to one of the inspiring quotes ever by Steve Jobs: “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do“. Will you join us?