Under the high patronage of the First Lady of Lebanon, HE Mrs. Nadia Aoun and for the occasion of International Women’s Day, the Lebanese Breast Cancer Foundation (LBCF) and the Breast Cancer Center of Excellence at the Naef K. Basile Cancer Institute (NKBCI) at the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC) organized their 5th Annual Fundraising Brunch on Saturday, March 11 at the Phoenecia Hotel in Beirut under the title “Ftahla Albak”.
In presence were Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Health Mr. Ghassan Hasbani, Minister of State for Administrative Development Dr. Inaya Ezzeddine, Ambassador of the European Union Christina Lassen, Deputy Bahia Hariri, Former Minister Leila Solh- Hamadeh, Mrs. Lama Tammam Salam, Executive VP for Medicine and Global Strategy and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine Dr. Mohamed H. Sayegh, Mrs. Claudine Aoun Roukoz, Mrs. Chantal Aoun Basile, and a large number of doctors and dignitaries.
The event opened with the Lebanese national anthem and a recorded video message from the Lebanese President, HE General Michel Aoun. President Aoun spoke about his personal experience when his mother had breast cancer, stressed on the importance of women to take care of their health and of men to stand by their women and support them if they have the disease. .
Dr. Sayegh expressed his pleasure in attending such an occasion and said, “We are excited and proud to share with you and this distinguished crowd of scientific, academic and social dignitaries the launching of this unique campaign in Lebanon, which aims to spread awareness and raise the level of the education of individuals, society, and officials against breast cancer disease and shed light on the importance of early detection of tumors. Our vision for the year 2020 is to ensure the continuation of our leadership through our constant quest to provide excellent healthcare and support community work and campaigns aiming at the early detection of diseases before their development,” he added.
In his turn, Dr. Nagi El Saghir welcomed the First Lady and the attendees and thanked them for their presence and continuous efforts to support the cause. “We at the Lebanese Breast Cancer Foundation and the Breast Cancer Center of Excellence at NKBCI take pride in the participation of President Michel Aoun in this event, and the patronage of the First Lady Nadia Aoun to honor women on this global day and remind them to prioritize their health,” he said. Dr. El Saghir said that these awareness campaigns have so far changed the face of breast cancer in Lebanon, reduced unnecessary fears and caused a decrease in advanced breast cancer at presentation. He showed that two thirds of breast cancer patients in Lebanon are now diagnosed at early stages. Studies from AUBMC have shown that patients diagnosed at earlier stages have a very high chance of cure in more than 80-90% of patients, often without even the need for total mastectomy nor removal of all lymph nodes in the axilla, nor chemotherapy for slowly growing small tumors. Dr. El Saghir emphasized support from The First Lady and National Commission for Woman’s Affairs,” and Minister of Health to transition from the current periodic October awareness and screening campaigns to institutional methodology based at the Ministry of Health.
He added, “International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the achievements of women on a social, economic, cultural and political level worldwide. On this day and to be consistent with the theme of this year’s campaign #BeBoldforChange”, we affirm that paying attention to women's health is another important challenge to attain better access to care and full equality in society.” Dr. El Saghir concluded his speech by thanking all the volunteers in LBCF and AUBMC, and specifically Vice -President of LBCF, Mrs. Mirna Sabbah Hoballah, for her tremendous efforts and never ending devotion and support
Established by Professor and Director of the Breast Cancer Center of Excellence at NKBCI at AUBMC, Dr. Nagi El Saghir and a group of committed breast cancer survivors and volunteers, the LBCF aims at increasing awareness about breast cancer and promoting early detection in addition to helping underprivileged breast cancer patients to receive the best treatment. So far, LBCF has supported more than 1100 breast cancer patients with the costs of their diagnosis, surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy at AUBMC. Proceeds of fundraising at this event of LBCF and NKBCI Breast Cancer Center of Excellence will enable us to support more patients. Special thanks go to major sponsors Mrs. Maha Shair on behalf of Dar Al-Handassah, HE Mrs. Leila Solh on behalf of Al-Waleed Bin Talal Humanitarian Foundation, Chateaux Musar, Sannine, Kayrouz Bakeries, Dr. Salwa Ghaddar Younes Foundation, Malia Group, Mrs. Hind Siblani and all our supporters and attendees.