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Protecting moms by pester power

Dhanusha Gokulan / 24 June 2012

Walkathons and pink ribbons do raise awareness on breast cancer, but the youth is now turning to social networking websites and pester power to put the awareness into practice.

Students of Emirates International School staging a Pink Glove dance. — Supplied Photo

The brainchild of marketing professor Premi Mathew and her daughter Anjela Mathew (21), the Protect Your Mom (PYM) campaign, a zero-cost crusade against breast cancer, was launched early last year.

The mother-daughter duo depends largely on Facebook and now, Pinterest, to get the word out.

“It is a serious matter. One in eight women end up with breast cancer, globally. And most women, especially mothers, neglect a lump. The campaign encourages youth to pester their mothers to get a check up done,” said Mathew. The campaign aims at encouraging women to do a self-examination and a mammogram. “All women who have crossed the age of 20 must get a check-up once every six months,” said Mathew.

“The youth has all the power. It’s time to pause and think. Do it for your mum,” said Rahul Om (19), student of Middlesex University and member of youth organisation, Republic. One of the most active student groups in the UAE, Republic, is actively involved with PYM, said Om. Last year, eight boys from Republic went bald for the cause. “We sent out a powerful message. We have activities planned this year, as well. The current issue is that there is enough awareness among the youth, but what are you willing to do about it. It’s time to use social networking for a good cause,” said Om.

As part of the campaign, the organisation promotes the PYM Design and Win Contest. The campaign encourages school and university students to create videos, songs, and posters to raise awareness on breast cancer. The competition encourages artists, singers, and dancers, giving them a reason to be creative. “The biggest encouragement is that marketing and public relations students can use this campaign as a project and get marks from their respective universities,” said Mathew. Budding graphic designers can create cartoons, singers can compose songs, dancers can choreograph dance routines, theatre buffs can script plays — all for a cause, added Mathew. The winners will be announced in October.

“Last year, we had 36 student entries. This year there are 33 entries, including videos.

The contest is open to people residing in India and the GCC. In addition to two tickets to India/GCC from Etihad Airways, contestants could win prices like Samsung camera, Xbox games and certificates. The posters can be viewed by clicking on photos on Protect Your Mom page, facebook.com/protectyourmom. Last year, a team of students from the Emirates International School, Jumeirah organised Pink Day where a few students went bald, staged a pink glove dance and raised money for breast cancer awareness by selling artefacts. The campaign has touched the lives of survivors.

Indian expatriate and architect, Veenu Kanwar’s eight-year-old son, Aaditya Singh, has struck a deal with his mother. “Every year for his birthday, my gift to him will be a mammogram test for myself. Aaditya lost his grandmother to breast cancer. Though he never met his grandmother, he has heard a lot about her from his older brother,” said Veenu. She added that her son’s knowledge oft the disease surprised her and she plans on contributing to the contest.

Those interested can e-mail entries to pym20101@hotmail.com before July 30. More details are available on mathewkj.wix.com/protect-your-mom.

dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com

 

 

 
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