Rosemin Manji, founder of RR&Co. Bespoke Luxury Management and the popular host of “Fashion Thursdays on Studio One” on Dubai One TV, is an influential advocate for breast cancer awareness in the Middle East. Rosemin was also recently involved with in the Bras for a Cause Middle East campaign as both a Jury member and a guest speaker at the Dubai fashion show event.
As a wonderful role model for women of all ages, we thought, who better to talk about this important cause? We took a few minutes out of Rosemin’s busy schedule to get her take on this topic and what it means to her:
1. As we’ve come to learn, your mother is a breast cancer survivor and no doubt an inspiration for your active involvement in supporting awareness campaigns for this cause. How has what she’s gone through affected you? Please describe with us your experience as the daughter of a survivor.
My mom was diagnosed over 25 years ago, a time when no one really talked about it and there wasn’t as many options except than to remove the breasts and go through extensive chemo. I was only 4 when she was doing the hospital visits and chemo treatment yet those memories are still feel very vivid. I remember being very scared at the thought of losing her.
We were very lucky that a young doctor from Florida flew into a small town in Canada to perform the reconstrution for her. I am so blessed that she is still alive and well, and that medicine and technology have advanced so that we now have better early detection methods.
Check out a clip of Rosemin’s speech at the event below:
2. What advice would you give to a family member or friend of someone diagnosed with breast cancer?
Be supportive, be a friend and be a good listener. Sometimes while going through something this traumatic, you need someone to laugh with and a shoulder to cry on – all at the same time.
3. A drawing concern for women who have been touched by breast cancer within their family is “Am I at risk too?” Has this question ever come to mind and have you ever gotten a mammography scan to eliminate any doubt?
Knowing that I have breast cancer in my family now, I do annual phyicals with my doctor and mammography scans every other year. My doctor taught me how to properly do a self-exam so I do this VERY regularly. It’s important to know your body.
4. What are your thoughts on the growing rate of breast cancer in the Middle East and what would encourage more women to get checked early-on?
Over the past three years, I have seen a growth in education and more emphasis on breast cancer awareness in the region. We need to change the myth that only women who are 40 and above can get breast cancer. This misconception tends to make women who are in their 20s and 30s more passive about getting scanned. Two years ago, a close friend of mine in Dubai was diagnosed at the young age of 31 so it’s really never too early to start getting checked.
5. Breast cancer is often referred to as “that disease” and people in our part of the world shy away from talking about it as it’s still very-much regarded as taboo. Survivors oftentimes suffer in silence for fear of being rejected by society. Do you think that the public’s perception is changing and what, in your opinion, can be done to remove that “taboo” that comes along with breast cancer in the Middle East?
It’s all about education. We as a society need to learn about all types of cancer (prostate cancer, breast cancer etc.) for both our own good and to help educate others. It will take time but campaigns, like Bras for a Cause Middle East, are the first steps toward creating this kind of awareness.
6. It was an honor having you involved in Bras for a Cause Middle East for the past few months as not only a Jury member but as an active supporter of the campaign. What initially drew you to take part in the campaign and do you think it was successful in raising awareness? What were the key highlights of the campaign for you?
It was a real honour to be a part of Bras for a Cause Middle East and I enjoyed the fashion element of the campaign. Women often feel less feminine or attractive after surgery, so the bra design competition was something that I thought was appropriate yet fun at the same time.
7. If you could leave one closing message about breast cancer to all the young women reading this interview, what would it be?
I am begging women, regardless of how old you are, PLEASE get a mammogram scan done. Take your girlfriends, mothers and sisters with you! Also learn to do a self-exam so you can detect any changes in your body.
Lastly, buy one of the cool t-shirts or bras from the “Look Good, Feel Good” Collection as full proceeds will be donated to breast cancer groups across the region making a difference.
Rosemin Manji proves that “pink” truly never goes out of style. Thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview with us and we hope you’re important message of awareness leaves an impact on anyone reading this.