Friends of Cancer Patients (FoCP), the cancer specific charitable society, participated for the first time in the 5th edition of the Sharjah Children's Reading Festival.
FoCP, in collaboration with the dedicated Arabic children's book publisher Kalimat, introduced its first book The Goodbye Cancer Garden', a book for children that tells the story of a family's support of a mother going through cancer treatment.
With its message of unconditional love, hope, support and health, the story starts with a young mother being diagnosed with cancer. To show their love and support, her husband and children decide to plant a vegetable (pumpkin) garden that they can tend together.
The mother goes through various stages of treatment as the vegetables grow, until the cancer diminishes and she is healthy again. This happens around the same time when the garden's wholesome vegetables have matured and are ready to be eaten and enjoyed, together, as a family.
Speaking about their participation, Ameera Binkaram, President of the Board of Trustees and a founding member of the Friends of Cancer Patients Charitable Society (FoCP), said, "Cancer impacts not only on the patient, but on the family as a whole. Through this book we want to impart a message of hope to the younger members of families that have been touched by cancer and to educate children who have not had any direct contact with the disease, in an un-daunting manner. The Goodbye Cancer Garden' is a book full of hope and joy, and elaborates on how to make the best of life despite adversity, and we look forward to sharing its message with the children of the UAE and beyond." Inspired by the story, FoCP's exhibition stand at the Book Fair was themed the Pumpkin Garden', as the pumpkin is a central feature reappearing many times during the book. Several activities were planned for children on the FoCP's stand, including face-painting, puzzle-making, arts and crafts and small giveaways like balloons to keep te little ones entertained.
The Goodbye Cancer Garden' was also on sale at the stand and a team of FoCP volunteers will be on hand to provide more information on the charity's many initiatives and accomplishments, as well as how the public can become involved in aiding FoCP's cause.