Campaign unsuccessfully ended on: 18 Aug,2014
People Around The World
To all of you out there who think that life is so unfair, that you have reached the edge and nothing worse could ever happen to you.
To all the Lebanese people who have lost faith in their country, who are stressed out with their nationality and who were forced to believe that being born Lebanese is a lifetime curse.
To all of you, “differently abled people”, who struggle on a daily basis to prove to the whole world that the can do something, know your wheelchair does not make you an alien and will never take away your dignity because your ability to serve your society and not being an additional burden to your community is an honor.
To all the sports lovers, the challenge seekers and the adrenaline keepers.
To every single one, I say: life is worth living, being Lebanese is the best honor medal that I have ever been awarded and my handicap didn’t highlight my end but gave me a new beginning instead.
I was born
in 1968 in Hadath Baalbek, in the Beqaa Valley, Lebanon.
My career as a contractor ended the day I fell from the sixth floor of a building whilst at work in Ksara - Zahlé. I had to undergo a surgery during which my heart stopped 3 times. After months of endless pain, and rehabilitation sessions, I had to face the fatal truth: I will be stuck on a wheelchair for the rest of my life. The young man I was once, full of life, used to being active sportsman, and dreamed of having a family reached to the point of reality that things won't go according to plan. Yes, me! It happened to me! And I couldn’t but grief! Why me? Why didn’t my heart just stop forever? How will I go on living knowing that I will never walk again! I will never stand up again! I will never work again! It took me some time to accept my cruel reality. And I knew that no matter what I did, I will be forever confined to these wheels.
My New Life
In 1999, I traveled to New York to join the marathon on
normal wheelchair. Everything started there. It took me so long to finish the
race, more than 5 hours. On this same track I saw the people who were racing by
I was so impressed with their speed and their high performance so I managed to get a bike and started training on it. So, in 2000, I joined the same marathon but I was racing this time as a hand cyclist. I started training in Lebanon and naturally it was way from being professional comparing to the camps I had done through the years up till now.
In 2000, I met my wife in New York during the marathon. And later, in 2002, I moved to Holland. During my stay, I met many good athletes and I learned a lot from them and when the Athens 2004 games started, I was so motivated and I decided to get ready to compete in the next Paralympic games in Beijing 2008 and try to win medals. It all started as an idea. But, going from one training camp to another and achieving good results became my addiction and provided me with high expectations. I then managed to win for Lebanon the first 2 Paralympic medals. My goal wasn’t to get a bronze but a gold medal, and therefore I still haven't fully realized my dream. The British Ambassador to Lebanon, Frances Guy, supported and spoke in April 2008 of my success in Beijing, and encouraged the Lebanese to back me saying:
“Edward was Lebanon’s only hero in Beijing, and given that before his achievement, Lebanon had not won a medal since 1960, it is crucial that his success is not halted by monetary constraints.”
So, I started joining some good teams who were so professional and I learned a lot from them. And when I decided to join the Paralympics in London 2012 I had training camps with other friends abroad who taught me some good technics. With race experience and trainings with others I built my own training tactics. Through the years I did remarkable progress and always figured on podium, which motivated me a lot.
My Unbelievable Life
- In 2006, I won the Handcycle Marathon in New York.
- In 2007, I won silver in the Disability Cycling World Championships in Bordeaux. Later that year, I won the European Hand-bike circuit, and the Beirut Hand-cycle Marathon.
- In 2008, I won again the International Hand-cycle Marathon, and came in third place.
- In 2008, I took part for the first time in the Paralympic Games in Beijing. To prepare myself, I underwent intensive training in the Netherlands, and was accompanied by two Dutch coaches. I was, unsurprisingly, my country's flag bearer during the opening ceremony. I competed in two events: the time trial and the road race. In the time trial, I was one of fifteen competitors, and finished third behind Vittorio Podesta of Italy and Heinz Frei of Switzerland who won the gold medal in 22:06.23. I had thus won my country's first Paralympic medal. In the road race, I was again one of fifteen competitors, and again won the bronze medal. My time of 1:28:26 was just one second behind Heinz Frei's winning time (1:28:25), and was identical (within a second) to that of silver medalist Max Weber (of Germany).
- In 2012, I competed again as Lebanon's sole representative in the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London, taking part in two road cycling events. This time, I did not win a medal. In the men's road race H2 I was lapped and eliminated. Thus, I was still the only Lebanese athlete competing at the Paralympic 2012 Games in London.
My Dream, OUR DREAM
Like a phoenix who comes to life again out of his ashes, my heart, years ago, refused to stop. And now I realized that everything happens for a reason.Like a phoenix, I had to detach myself of my disability to seek new horizons and new visions. Even with very little support from the Lebanese authorities throughout the years, I have won 2 bronze medals at the Paralympic Games in Beijing in 2008. And I am still aiming high and moving on.
Dear all, with your support my career as a professional athlete will stay on. If I am eager to figure on the podium again in Rio 2016, it is not just for the pleasure a medal can give but for the change I can make and bring to my country.Alone I did it once, and got the bronze but with your support I can get the gold and prove to the whole world that Lebanon still exist on the map and that when there is a Will there is always a Way.
Who are my Supporters?
Lebanese people and everyone else who believes in my cause and want this to be the beginning.
Athletes who live for the game.
Disabled people who are still fighting for equality of rights
Kids, young people, women, and men who believe we can make a difference
Your support can be my wings that will make me fly on the track and bring a new record, and a new pride.
With Zoomaal the first crowd-funding platform in the Arab World whose aim is to help people achieve their goals and who believed in my potential, I am sure we can make it happen and finance my way to Rio de Janeiro 2016.
As you know, being a Paralympic's champ requires training camps, traveling, equipment, life support,etc... and all this costs huge sums which are about 260.000 € to get to Rio and to come back with the gold medal.
How the money would be spent?
- Traveling expenses (Airline tickets)
- Hotel accommodation
- Renting a car
- Nutrition expenses including the fees of a professional nutritionist
- Carbon wheels / tires / tubes etc…
- Handbike accessories
- 1 or 2 new handbikes per year
- Sport clothes
- Coach expenses
- Miscellaneous expenses...
With respect to all my successes I am still fighting alone, the financial burden that is becoming unbearable
day after day and preventing me from figuring on the podium. I started cutting back on everything; I am my own coach, my own
driver to save plane tickets, my own dietician to stay in shape and my own
mechanic to fix every single thing that occurs to my bike.
And being all this is not helping me to stay focused on achieving better results and giving the best I can. For this reason, I am requesting your support and funding to be focused and achieve my dream which I hope one day will become the dream of every physically challenged Lebanese.
If you simply can‘t participate in this donation and still want to be a part of it please spread the word, share this on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Cube 7 and whatever other social media platforms you are using.
There are no updates for this project yet.