Jan 30, 2017

Bring my 33rd year on!

I’ve been told repeatedly that, once I reach my 30th year on this planet, as a girl, I would avoid telling my age and would start pausing at “I’m 30 something” or “I turned 30 few years back”.

On the other side, I have always been scared to be dependent on anything including being trapped in a certain fear or phobia. I work hard, daily, to break every single phobia I start developing and try not to be paranoiac about anything (well, as much as I can! I’m a normal human being after all and I definitely fail to overcome some phobias I have). Some, not all, and definitely not the Gerascophobia.My mother, when asked about her age, still says she is “29 and a few months” and she scolds me with her look when I openly say I am turning 33 this year as people will probably be able to calculate her real age (Love you mom, if you’re reading!).

When I look in the mirror and see the lines and wrinkles on my face, I do not fear them. As many of you already know and as I expressed freely and loudly before, I am pro-injections and fillers to reduce wrinkles and age lines in order for the woman’s face to look more presentable in public and on pictures. But I am totally against deleting those lines and thus deleting the person’s age. In fact, your face must reflect your age because there is nothing wrong with your age!

After the wrinkles come the white hair. I dreaded this moment in my early twenties and used to fear the first white hair, so I dyed by hair since I was almost 19 years of age. Changing from a color to another, I ended up discovering the first white hair last year, right after my 32nd birthday. And guess what: I had to act with overreaction and sadness just to be “normal” around my friends and family.  But deep down inside, I felt nothing; it was just a couple of white hair that could be covered with hair color shall I wish to do so!

And this year yet again, as my birthday approaches, all I can think about is my birthday dinner, how many cakes I will get to cut (because I have so many wishes to make!) and how to spend a memorable times with friends, family and all those I care for.

What I dread deeply is not making a good memory out of this year, rather than the age I’m turning into.

When I look in the mirror, with every white hair (those left uncovered with hair color), with every wrinkle (I did not start injections yet and don’t plan to start any soon!), I see years of experiences, memories, tears, happy moment and wisdom (or so I hope). I look and see future dreams, hopes, plans and expectations and I pray to receive as much as I wish for, and of course as much as God believes I deserve.

I’m growing old. I’m growing up.And in just a week I’m going to turn 33!

Bring it on!

Jan 10, 2017

Every dollar counts - December 2016 initiative

No child should die in the dawn of life” – Danny Thomas

Danny Thomas* was a young entertainer struggling to make a living in the field in Detroit, USA. Over the years, he prayed for Saint Jude Thaddeus** and promised to build a shrine for the saint one day.  From a struggling entertainer to a well-known national entertainer, Danny Thomas shined in the industry and kept his pledge for Saint Jude, and this is how Saint Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital saw the light.

Known today as the Children Cancer Center of Lebanon (CCCL), the center was founded in 2002 following an agreement between the Saint Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and the Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon Foundation and the American University of Beirut Medical Center. The center was inaugurated in April 2002 and works in full affiliation with the Saint Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. Almost 15 years later, the center still operates to support and treat all children fighting cancer, using the latest medical treatments, the most sophisticated psychosocial services and ensuring a proper understanding and awareness of the disease.


I have read what I stated above in a more developed manner on the CCCL website over and over again onhttp://www.cccl.org.lb/ and I have followed-up distantly on the center’s work especially after the donation my friends and colleagues collaborated in making last year (http://maya-yared.blogspot.com/2016/01/every-dollar-counts-december-2015.html), but it was only until my visit to the center last December that I really felt involved in the cause. 

I have met with a member of the fundraising team who guided me through the donation process (raised this year again via piggy bank, just like last year) and explained to me a bit about the center (they even let me visit the outpatient division!), and I was mainly touched by the confidentiality and respect they have to the cases they treat, the fighters (that’s what I like to call any patient suffering from cancer), and even the donors identities!  I was also happy to hear a confirmation that all the fighters treated at the CCCL are treated for free regardless of their age (as long as they are under 18 years old), their religion, their race or their nationality.  Furthermore, when I asked about the hair donation process (a process that I hope to be able to undergo next year), I was happy to hear that the fighters at the CCCL do not wear wigs; this has ensured the amazing psychological follow-up done at the center and it says a lot about those fighters who have embraced their cases and now believe in themselves as fighters (soon to be survivors) rather than feeling weak and seeking to hide and suffer in silence.

A total of 1,024,000lbp (One Million and Twenty Four Thousand Lebanese Pounds) was raised this year (receipts attached to this post) and I left the center with a mixed feelings of hope and pain. My son (Stephen) who insisted on accompanying me to the center (and even donated from the money he had in his own piggy bank) asked a lot about the medical process at the center which was explained to him in a manner suitable for his age. He put tears in my eyes as we left when he said “You know mom, we are lucky that we are not sick but it is good that the sick people have someone to help them, take care of them, treat them and plus they are at a nice hospital not one with white boring walls” (he was referring to the children-friendly d├ęcor that surrounded the place.

Raising my prayers to find a cure for cancer…. and on this note I leave you.

Until next donation!

*Dany Thomas is of Lebanese descendants
** the patron saint of hopeless causes