The UAE’s Lebanese community was out in full force Saturday night for a fundraising gala commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon at the Dubai Opera. Flying in from Los Angeles, CCCL Ambassador Rima Fakih Slaiby made a glamorous entrance in a bejeweled red and magenta gown by Lebanese couturier Nicolas Jebran. Walking with her husband, XO CEO Wassim Slaiby through a chandelier-lit crystal corridor, she arrived on the red carpet to address press and call for support for the evening’s auction. “I’m doing this because I’m a mother of three children,” said Fakih Slaiby who is an impassioned ambassador of CCCL for the third year. “I’m doing this because it’s the right thing to do,” she added. “My hope tonight is that we raise so much more than we did last year, to help and bring more treatment to the children.” “It’s the most human thing we can do,” echoed singer Massari of Universal Arabic Music. He worked with the evening’s performing artists Nancy Ajram, Luis Fonsi, Hiba Tawaji, CKay, Rahma Riad, Issa Alnajjar, Balti, Elyanna, and a special DJ set from DJ Rodge to the delight of guests that included Vogue Arabia Fashion Director Amine Jreissati who was seated at the table of Fahd Hariri, along with singer Dana Hourani and designer Mrs Keepa. Nicolas Jebran was also at the gala along with chairperson Dr Cesar Bassim, general manager Mrs Han Chaar Choueib, Joelle Mardinian, Wissam Braidy, Karen Wazen, and Miss Universe Lebanon 2022 Yasmina Zaytoun whom Fakih Slaiby announced will be taking the message of CCCL global at the upcoming Miss Universe pageant. A former Miss USA herself, Fakih Slaiby underscored that the global communication of such a cause serves the true essence of the crown.
The seed for CCCL was born when one of its founding members Dr Nasser Chamma’s son was diagnosed with cancer at three years old. Discovering that there was no place in Lebanon to offer free care to its cancer-stricken children, he vowed to open such a center where no family need pay for their child’s medical care. Inaugurated in 2002, CCCL supports almost 50% of children with cancer in Lebanon from infants to adolescents 18 years of age. Its annual fundraising needs are 15 million USD to operate, providing beds and medicine for its patients. Today, CCCL maintains an 80 % cure rate. At the gala, survivors shared their testimonies of the life saving care the support offered them along with the mental health support for them and their families. Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Tolerance was the first to make a donation of the evening of one million AED.
Throughout its two decades, CCCL has had visits from both the region’s government leaders and international stars. HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser Al-Missned, actress Salma Hayek, Angelina Jolie, and Bryan Adams among many others have visited the center and spent time with the children, their parents, and the center’s doctors. For more information on how to support the Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon, visit www.cccl.org.lb.