Dubai Science Park (DSP), the leading science-focused community, has announced it will be hosting the third edition of WeWalk, an annual charitable walkathon representing people from all walks of life. Taking place on Saturday 19th March 2022, the walkathon will be held in collaboration with UAE Rare Disease Society, which will receive part of the proceeds through their charity partner Beit Al Khair Society to create awareness and education programs for different individuals linked to the cause. Registrations and donations for WeWalk are now open and accessible via: http://www.wewalk.ae/.
Now in its third year, WeWalk has been instrumental in inspiring the community to adopt responsible practices and build a committed and happy society for all. Dubai Science Park’s collaboration with UAE Rare Disease Society epitomises the district’s commitment to advocating for science innovation, providing ground-breaking solutions to combat rare disease. Proceeds from registration will go towards developing support and awareness programs to help shorten the diagnosis journey of patients, create a database of rare diseases and enhance access to specialists, diagnostics and treatments. WeWalk aligns with the UAE’s vision to build an innovative, inclusive and supportive society. In partnership with Dubai Health Authority's Blood Donation Center (DBDC), attendees can also donate blood during this year’s event.
Commenting on the upcoming WeWalk edition, Dubai Science Park’s Managing Director, Marwan Abdulaziz Janahi said, “In our capacity as the region's first science-focused business district, we are proud to be leading the charge on supporting innovation in the sciences and to contributing to the development of an inclusive society. Covering a host of sectors, from health and wellness to pharma and life sciences sectors, Dubai Science Park embodies the ethos of collaboration, partnering with the region’s leading healthcare champions to deliver sustainable solutions for our communities. We are pleased to be joining forces with UAE Rare Disease Society to support this worthy cause and look forward to playing a key role in enhancing education and awareness of the conditions.
Open to residents of all ages and abilities, the family-friendly sporting meet will encourage a broader understanding of the challenges and triumphs faced by individuals every day. Participants will cover a distance of 3km and can choose to walk, sprint or jog the course with friends and family. There will also be wheelchair courses for all distances. Each participant receives a goody bag with a t-shirt, cap and wristband as well as refreshments on the day.
According to the Center of Arab Genomic Studies, the Middle East has the world’s highest prevalence of rare disease, with an estimated 2.8 million patients suffering from a rare disease in the region, with most cases being attributed to consanguineous marriages and advanced maternal and paternal age.
Events like WeWalk address the silence and stigma around rare disease and enhance the infrastructure for diagnosis and treatment of rare diseases, while encouraging collaboration between all stakeholders and the community at large.
General Manager Middle East Africa of CSL Behring, Hassan Herrou said: “CSL Behring is honoured to be taking part in We Walk 2022, as this day marks our commitment to deliver our promise to save and improve the lives of patients in the MEA region. Alongside the healthcare community we strive to improve availability and access to the broadest range of quality plasma-derived and recombinant therapies for rare disease patients in the region.”
Myriam Hakim, General Manager of Kyowa Kirin in the GCC, commented: “We are delighted to participate in WeWalk and support UAE rare disease society in their noble mission. Getting an accurate diagnosis for rare diseases is a major challenge. Therefore raising awareness and education among doctors and patients is crucial to ensure earlier management and better outcomes for patients and their families Let us spread awareness and make patients smile.”
Mohamed Ezz Eldin, President and Head of Gulf Cluster, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, shared: “At Novartis, addressing unmet medical need is our cornerstone strategy. We are committed to research and development for rare disease and be a pioneer in cell and gene therapy. Our purpose to reimagine medicine to improve and extend people’s lives hinges on collaborations with the UAE Rare disease society to raise awareness, support patient societies, and become a trusted partner”.
Jean-Paul Scheuer, MCO Lead and General Manager Specialty Care for Sanofi Greater Gulf, remarked: “We are very proud to stand alongside the rare disease community. Rare disease patients encounter lifelong challenges, and Sanofi is committed to providing them the care and support they need – both through pushing the frontiers of science to improve diagnosis and treatment outcomes, and through fostering a support community to fight the social stigma that patients and their families experience”.
WeWalk will follow the National Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA) guidelines to ensure the highest safety standards and relevant preventative measures to protect the health and safety of its community members.
Dubai Science Park is home to leading local and international institutions including the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention, Pfizer, Medtronic, Olympus, Mettler Toledo and Bayer. Its comprehensive masterplan comprises commercial spaces, a central headquarters, a state-of-the-art laboratory complex, warehouses and manufacturing sites.