Dead Sea Marathon and Conference for LH4Cancer_Africa

The very next day after the gala, I was invited to partake in a ‘small’ 6 km marathon to reach King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Center in The Hilton Dead Sea Resort & Spa – Samarah for a conference that will be the official start of the LH4Cancer_Africa climb.

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Sponsors, cancer patients, volunteers, companies and media people all were there with the 27 climbers and Mostafa Salameh. Groups gathered, some in front of Abdoun Mall, the others (us) in front of Cozmo Center.

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I was the first to arrive from my group, I remembering sitting on the cold stairs in front of Cozmo and wishing that Readers Fully Booked was open, but it was too early for that, so I sat and munched on an apple. People gathered slowly, creating a morning buzz in the street.

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So many friends arrived such as Dana Al Basha and Zohrab MarkarianZohrab was a bit angry, he wanted to be with the other group, but as we sat in the bus, he told me he believes in destiny, and that he might be here instead of there for a reason, I smiled at that.

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Before the bus left Hadeel Shehadeh came hurrying in, still sleepy and disoriented, but smiling and tweeting as always. She called Anas AlSharif and told him to follow us to the marathon starting point, he didn’t want to at first but he did come.

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For the first 3 km I walked with Hadeel Shehadeh and Anas AlSharif, but they got tired and stopped with the other tweeps in front of Chili Ways, and for some reason I felt determined to continue, so I plugged my iPod’s on and sang to myself.

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Along the way, I photographed kids, animals and nature. The day was warm and lovely, I felt my skin tingling in the sunlight, burning my winter skin a bit, but I welcomed it after freezing in the morning and after the gala.

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As I got closer and closer to the hotel and conference room, the buzz from the motorcycle drivers filled me with extra energy, the families and kids were wild, I left my music trance and joined the others.

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The first thing I did upon arriving is heading to the bathroom, I needed to wash my hands and face with cold water. I was as red as an apple and my skin changed from white to gold, I laughed at the shirt and tight lines separating my old and new skin color.

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I entered to the conference room proud of myself, the others took a van over, I walked the WHOLE way! Mostafa burst my bubble when he told me incredulous: “Where were you? It took you so long to arrive!”, I was like: “Excuse me! I walked unlike some people!”. I mean, hello! We smiled at each other, and I went to get a glass of apple juice, ummm, maybe two.

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I sat on the edge of my seat waiting for the conference to start. Hadeel and Anas came and sat beside me totally cool when I’m sure I looked sweaty. But come on! Again: I walked!

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The conference was touching and warm, I was shocked to hear that Princess Dina Mired and Prince Mired Raad had a personal experience with cancer when their first-born boy suffered from it for years. They’re passion for the cause comes from personal experience.

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Farah Yaseen the older sister of Osama Yaseen, spoke of her brother, his death at 12, and his dream which she fulfilled by climbing with the dream team.

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Zohrab Markarian talked about the fact that he is the eldest in the group and how much that affected his experience the first time and that he wanted to join because of the amazing places he would photograph along the way.

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Hanna Khoury talked about his personal challenge which is losing weight, the first time he lost around 60 kg, and wanted to lose 60 more. I wish him the best of luck, his war is with himself and its hard.

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Some of kids who are cancer patients took part in the conference, and I sat with two of them while eating (more liking drinking) on the floor, we talked a bit and Hadeel joined me, one of the kids LOVED Candy Crush, he played on my mobile but sadly didn’t win.

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When we went out looking for a ride back to the starting point to Anas‘s car because we left our bags there, Harley Davidson hogs were giving some girls a ride, Hadeel and I screamed: “WE’RE IN!”

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I got so excited like a kid, I rode with a guy called Yousef N. Nasser, his ride was fancy and HUGE, he got music on, though the helmet suffocated me, it was a good thing I had it on, or my hair would have looked like a bird’s nest by the time we reached Amman.

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Here is the catch, I didn’t think we would reach Amman, I’m glad we did though, so Anas had to follow us there to give me my bag. I got to tell you riding a motorcycle is the best feeling ever!

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The day was amazing and the ride made me feel alive!

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