Tuesday, October 21, 2008

North to South / Day 6

North To South – 15h October 2008 – Beirut - Rest day
Today we took time off from the road to recover our senses and rest our weary legs. The whole team was exhausted from the relentless routine of the previous days.
Thanks to the good work of the British Ambassador Guy and the Beirut Marathon Association, we received an invitation from the Minister Arslan, the Minister for Youth and Sports to visit him at his home. He was extremely warm and friendly and more importantly he expressed his support for all the efforts in combating cancer, supporting healthy activities and for the great work of the Beirut Marathon Association.
The afternoon was spent at the Children’s Cancer Center in Beirut. The team as a whole were taken on a whirlwind of emotions. We met Kristy, a lively 14 year old sat on her laptop just as any other teenager would be. She smiled and spoke of her chemotherapy, of the difficulties she has to confront at such a young age. Her mother looked on proudly. Then we met Valentina, slight in size, but with endearing eyes and a broad smile. Like Kristy she was undergoing chemotherapy. We met the doctors, nurses, volunteers and the young out-patients (ranging from 6 months to 12 years old). I could not help thinking about how childhood innocence and families are placed under immense pressure by cancer. I know of so many similar such stories from family and friends, but today was both humbling and awe-inspiring. Today I knew that I had made a valuable decision to come to Lebanon.

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