Circle Divers Raising Awareness and Funds for Egyptian Breast Cancer Charity
Circle Divers, based in Sharm El Sheikh and Dahab, will be marking PADI Women's Dive Day on 17 July by raising awareness of breast cancer and supporting Egyptian breast cancer charity, the Baheya Foundation.
The purpose of the event is to both 'empower women by encouraging them to try new activities and join the diving community, and raising awareness about breast cancer among local citizens'. Circle Divers will donate the price of one dive from every guest who books two or more dives on 17 July at either of its dive centres, and will also provide suitable activities complementary to breast cancer survivors during the day.
'Every year we used to celebrate the PADI women’s dive day by giving women a free day's diving,' said Abd El Salam Awad, owner of Circle Divers. 'When Nihal, one of our team in Dahab came up with this great idea, I didn’t think for a second about it and immediately said "yes" because breast cancer can affect all of us, whether you have been fighting cancer or still fight cancer or if it’s a family member or friend. The idea grew and became even better in that we should share the awareness around our diving community and support everyone fighting breast cancer. So this year Circle Divers will donate every second dive from all our guests that day to Baheya, instead of giving free dives.'
We contacted the team at Circle Divers for more information about the event, and Nihal Mohamed Adel Bedir Shawer, the Dahab staff member who originally suggested the Circle Divers' event, wrote to tell us what inspired her to support the charity this year:
'From Circle Divers' perspective, PADI Women's Day has been always about influencing women to dive and raising awareness to empower women, but this year thinking about women was different. Looking around us seeing women struggle with their own journey of getting treated from cancer and being healthy again is never easy, as they lose their hope and self-confidence of doing normal activities like before.
'Our message here is not only for women who survived, it's also about women who are still fighting with cancer and to help funding the foundations like Baheya to have a cancer free community. Safe diving is the priority for these women, and they show us that a breast cancer survivor can continue to lead a normal life and safely enjoy simple pleasures after cancer.
'Our future goal is not only women, it's just the start. Our goal is to help people, despite their gender, colour or religion, not to lose hope in life and fight for better health and lifestyle, hoping all the world one day collaborates to fight a cancer free community.
'As a woman who had family members who passed away because of breast cancer, when I knew that PADI Women’s day was happening very soon the idea couldn’t get out of my head how can diving influence other people in a healthy way, so I did some research about breast cancer survivors and what can they really do after recovering, found a lot of inspiring ladies who did blogs about it, and that was the spark that influenced me and gave me hope that we can lead a new generation of divers who may think it's impossible.
'And while searching all initiatives in the middle east diving wasn’t one of them, which made me think why not showing a new perspective that diving isn't only for fun. Diving can be also be very influencing to others and give them hope to do better and fight not only for their life but other people who really needs it, so my message is making the impossible to be possible and diving to be open for everyone to give another chance to enjoy life differently underwater.'
PADI Course Director Jilly Healy, manager of Circle Divers' Sharm El Sheikh operation, also wrote to DIVE to give us her perspective as an experienced diver and long-term resident of Egypt:
'I don’t think there is a person in this world that has not been touched by cancer in some way, so when Nihal asked if we could do something a little different for PADI Women’s day, Circle Divers welcomed it. Abd El Salam agreed that on the 17 July, PADI Women’s day, we would donate the second dive of the day from any divers in Sharm El Sheikh and the same on the 18th July in Dahab to the Baheya Foundation Egypt’s breast cancer charity.
'On the day that I was writing a post about our event I received some very sad news about a lovely lady that has been diving with me for the last 20 years, Auntie Val, aka 'Mama Falafel'. She had fought cancer, got the 5 years' all clear and continued diving – she was in her 70s but loved Egypt, loved diving; loved the diving community. She had told me she had recently found another lump and was going to get treatment but as soon as she could she would be back to dive again.
'Auntie Val had passed away.
'Diving brings people closer, offers a sense of community in a world that is so full yet can be so lonely, we want those women and men who have suffered through this terrible disease either themselves or as a bystander to feel they have someone and someplace to turn to – Mama Falafel was part of a huge family that will never forget her.
'The Baheya Foundation will be coming to Circle Divers in Sharm El Sheikh and Dahab to give a presentation about breast cancer awareness, I hope that this PADI Women’s Day event done by Circle Divers lets cancer survivors and family members know there is a community out there just waiting to welcome them.
If you would like to make a donation to the Baheya Foundation, you can do so on Baheya's Donation Page (click here for the Arabic version). Add 'Circle Divers' to the name if you wish to specify that the donation is associated with the Women's Dive Day event.