AUBMC Cancer Support Fund benefit dinner to support underprivileged adult cancer patients in Lebanon

​​​​​Sari Mounzer, communications@aub.edu.lb​​​

The Cancer Support Fund (CSF) organized a benefit dinner on June 12, 2019 at La Residence des Pins to “celebrate HOPE" and raise funds to support financially disadvantaged adult cancer patients in Lebanon and thank supporters of the fund. A humanitarian initiative at the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC), CSF was launched in March 2018 to provide financial assistance and psychosocial support to adult cancer patients who are unable to take advantage of the potentially life-saving treatment that is available. It also works to raise awareness on cancer prevention and support research related to adult cancer patients.

The event was attended by a number of prominent dignitaries and officials, including the representative of the President of the Republic of Lebanon General Michel Aoun, his advisor for Health Affairs, Dr. Walid El-Khoury; the representative of Prime Minister Saad Hariri and member of parliament, Dr. Assem Araji; and Minister of Health Dr. ​Jamil Jabak.

“What we need today is actionable solutions in the fight against cancer," said CSF president and founder Hala Dahdah Abou Jaber, after a short informative video about the fund. “By supporting the treatment for underprivileged cancer adult patients, we are guaranteeing that no cancer patient will die because of lack of funds or will go bankrupt only because he had the misfortune of getting sick. We are here to address cancer, true, but also to celebrate life not death, courage not fear, hope not despair."

CSF co-founder and director of the Naef K. Basile Cancer Institute, Dr. Ali Taher echoed the same sentiments in his speech. “Serving as the director of the Basile Cancer Institute at AUBMC and helping patients fight on and keep their lives meaningful despite the daily pain and challenges, I am never tired," he said. “On the contrary, I am always driven by hope. Over the past few years, we have had several achievements at the center, including state-of-the art expansions, innovative technologies, world-renowned accreditation and affiliations, multidisciplinary care, and positive quality of care indicators for over 4,000 patients per year."

“When I first joined AUB, I had a strong conviction that I can make a difference," said Executive Vice President and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Mohamed Sayegh. “Bold transformations require bold decisions. In 2010, we launched the AUBMC 2020 vision, an ambitious and comprehensive initiative that aims to affirm AUBMC's position as the leading medical center and healthcare institution in the region. Today, after almost ten years, I can proudly say that the difference can be clearly seen."

AUB President Fadlo Khuri reflected on the incidence of cancer in the region and the urgent need for an initiative such as CSF. “Statistics about cancer incidence are increasing around the world and are relatively higher in the Middle East than other countries," he said. “In Lebanon, cancer incidence has increased from 191 per 100,000 in 2003 to 270 per 100,000 in 2015. And the latest statistics are not encouraging. Compounding this tragedy, many of these patients face challenges in accessing advanced healthcare services. Here is where AUBMC and the Cancer Support Fund come in. Last year, this first-of-its-kind fund in Lebanon was launched as an initiative that aims to make cancer care, research, and prevention accessible to the largest possible number of financially disadvantaged adult cancer patients."

A short documentary about the AUBMC 2020 vision was presented before the evening's entertainment began with live musical entertainment, a live auction, and a tombola draw.​