There’s been a murder at the Grand Hyatt Doha. Or at least, a pretend one. This month, the Grand Hyatt goes back to the roaring ’20s, with a special murder-mystery dinner where everyone’s a suspect. All that accusatory murder and mayhem is for a good cause. The event, sponsored by Secrets974, is set to raise money on behalf of breast cancer support group Think Pink Qatar, which works with the Qatar National Cancer Society.
‘It is a stage play over dinner where the attendees participate to solve a fake murder. Murder mysteries are big around the world, and many people really enjoy them – this particular one is called Murder at the Four Deuces, and has plenty of twists and turns.
It is a good way to raise support and engage others about breast cancer facts,’ says Karen Al Kharouf, one of people behind Think Pink. The group has been active for several years, staging events and raising breast cancer awareness. ‘It is something new and refreshing for Doha, and gives a chance for great networking and community involvement,’ Karen says. Details about the event are under wraps (no spoilers on who the killer is), but Karen says guests can expect surprises, and lots of audience participation. While there will be actors present on the night, who are in on the story to keep momentum going, the whole thing is moved forward by the guests, who are encouraged to come in costume. With a full slate of props, shocks and acts, it promises to be a night to remember. ‘It will be fun, fun and more fun,’ she says. ‘Guests will be treated to a four-course meal and live music, set in the 1920s. All guests will be able to participate in solving the mystery of who killed Mr Big.’
Guests will also be helping to fight breast cancer in Qatar, which is the most common form of cancer among women living in the Arab world. Qatar is actually ranked with the third- highest number of incidences in the region by the Gulf Centre for Cancer Registration, just behind Bahrain and Kuwait. In fact, Dr Sheikh Khalid bin Jabr Al Thani, chairman of the Qatar National Cancer Society, estimated in October last year that there are two to three breast cancer patients identified every week in Qatar. ‘Raising money is important, as this will be used by the Qatar National Cancer Society to help pay for cancer treatments for those who cannot afford them and the continual campaign of promoting regular check-ups and breast cancer awareness,’ Karen adds.
Qatar has come a long way since it first started offering screenings only a few years ago. Part of the problem is the sensitivity of the issues involved: many women don’t want to talk about an area of their health that is seen as incredibly private, especially in the Arab world. But Karen, originally from the United States, says that is no excuse – she says 20 years ago, the same stigma was attached to breast cancer in America, and it still exists to some degree today.
However, as Karen states, the possibility of breast cancer is too important to ignore. Al Amal Hospital in Doha reports that 20 per cent of the cancer cases treated there in 2007 were women with breast cancer – and left untreated, it is all too often deadly. However, early detection through regular screenings actually reduces the mortality rate by up to 35 per cent. But, many people either can’t, or don’t want, to get tested. Events like this one, which make breast cancer public, help people feel that they can talk about it in private, with their family and doctors.
That is where groups like Think Pink come in. ‘We actively promote early detection of breast cancer and education of women and men in Qatar on breast cancer awareness,’ says Karen. Funds raised by Think Pink go towards not only supporting people to getting diagnosed and living with the disease, but also awareness campaigns all year long, not just in October during Breast Cancer Month. ‘We have no set amount – whatever is raised helps to continue the fight and educate people regarding breast cancer,’ she adds.
In that, Qatar is making giant strides forward: in fact, the University of Calgary-Qatar was recently awarded a grant of US$1,010,343 to study the factors that influence screening practices among Arabic women living here. Beyond that, the event will also be a first – but hopefully not a last – for Doha. ‘Nobody has ever done a murder-mystery like this in Qatar, not on a large scale as this planned event,’ says Karen.
Murder at the Four Deuces takes place on July 28 at the Grand Hyatt Doha, starting at 7pm. Tickets are available at all Virgin Megastore locations and at Secrets974 Salon & Spa, priced QR300 or QR400 VIP. Guests are asked, but not required, to dress in 1920s inspired costumes. The dress code for the evening is black tie, business suits and cocktail dresses. Call 4416 9236 for more information.