ISLAMABAD: The President House was illuminated pink on Tuesday in commemoration of the ongoing Pinktober breast cancer awareness drive and to acknowledge Pink Ribbon Pakistan’s efforts in raising awareness and working to provide advocacy and healthcare services to the patients and potential victims. The event was a collaboration of President House administration and Pink Ribbon Pakistan with special interest of President Dr Arif Alvi. At the occasion, the president and other administration also expressed their views over this extremely critical health issue of Pakistani women and applauded Pink Ribbon’s campaigning of over one and a half decade. By turning pink for this lifesaving cause, which is concerning more than 10.2 million Pakistani women with high risk of breast cancer, the President House showed complete support to Pink Ribbon and pledged to help the organisation eradicate this fatal disease and reduce the resulting female mortality. Talking to the media at the illumination event, Dr Arif Alvi’s wife Samina Alvi said, “The pink illumination of the President House is a part of Pink Ribbon’s national breast cancer awareness drive and we vow to extend full aid to the organisation in their struggle to educate the society on this important issue and provide healthcare facilities to the sufferers.” Pink Ribbon Chief Executive Officer Omer Aftab said, “It is indeed an honour for us to illuminate the President House for such a noble cause. Thousands of precious lives are lost every year due to ignorance, late diagnosis and myths related to breast cancer. Despite the fact that out of all the type of cancers, breast cancer is the only one that can be cured successfully if diagnosed at an early stage, whereas it is so unfortunate that this cancer alone claims 40,000 lives every year,” Pink Ribbon CEO Omer Aftab said. Aftab said that with the support of higher authorities like President House, the organisation is committed to not only spread its outreach in the society but also build a chain of breast cancer hospitals across the country and the first one is already underway in Lahore. Aftab especially thanked Dr Arif for his permission and special interest in the event and he vowed to spread the wings of his forum to reach out to a maximum number of women in Pakistan and sensitise them to adopt preventive methods like breast self-examination and breast screening. The Pink Ribbon Hospital, the first of its kind in Pakistan, is near completion and as per the organisation’s spokesperson, state-of-the-art medical facility will be partially operational by July 2019. This will serve more than 40,000 patients annually. October is celebrated as breast cancer awareness month globally and Pink Ribbon observes it in Pakistan as Pinktober. The theme of this year’s campaign is #SaveThe9th which hinges around the concept of sensitising the society to support Pink Ribbon’s cause of building Pakistan’s first dedicated breast cancer hospital to save every ninth woman who is at high risk of breast cancer. Every year, 90,000 new cases of breast cancer are reported in Pakistan. A majority of the cases are not recorded due to the sufferers’ hesitation and social pressure. Moreover, lack of healthcare facilities make the situation worse. Published in Daily Times, October 11th 2018.