November 21, 2011

*My Very Special 25th Birthday*


For my 25th birthday I was very lucky to be able to share it with good company, and to finally organize something I’ve had in mind for a while.

Unfortunately, I’ve been coming across more and more people with cancer. Has it always been this common? Maybe I’m just growing up, but I think that it’s definitely something to watch out for. Do not exempt yourself if you don’t have cancer in your family, because it can hit the people who least expect it. Another thing to keep in mind is that it isn’t age sensitive; I just heard about someone who was diagnosed with breast cancer at 25 years of age. There’s nothing we can do to control if we get it or not, but by actively being aware of it and getting checked, we can catch anything early, if God forbid it comes our way.

So this year on my birthday, I spent the whole day doing exactly what I wanted. At 8am I took part in the Burjuman Pink Walkathon for Breast Cancer, and at night had a gathering where people could donate to a local organization. 

The walk was spectacular. Between the young, old, families, schools, puppies etc there was so much positive energy around. It was truly uplifting to see so many people walking for one cause in all their pink caps and white shirts. This walk made me love Dubai so much more. I loved seeing so many children there, I think it’s a wonderful thing to raise your children with the awareness. Here are some photos:
There was a live band, and the DJ even gave me a shout out for my birthday.
We got stuck in the midst of a really bad fart, which sucked because we couldn't move. Then we noticed this fella right next to us shivering in his owner's arms... definitely guilty.
 ...yes I got a ribbon painted on my cheek. You know how it is... when you're in the midst of so much hype you're just like "I want that and that and that" and by the end you're like, what's on me?
So after that great experience I was able to complete any final touches to the gathering I’d be hosting at night. I was grateful to have Stoli supply the alcohol and NAB Drinks supply my favorite non-alcoholic drink, bai5. As for the food, last year on my birthday, I had some people over and no one touched the Magnolia cupcakes. Actually maybe one was eaten. So I decided to offer a variety of my favorite treats that aren't all dipped in saturated fat because clearly a lot of people are not always into wasting their workout on a single cupcake.

I really love the carrot cake at Health Quest in Abu Dhabi, it's made much lighter but just as addictively yummy, so I definitely had that on the menu. They were so sweet to send it over as a gift, and also sent over some of their lazy cake, which was all gone by the end of the night. There was also vegan banana loaf and vanilla and chocolate cupcakes frosted with vanilla icing and this stunning chocolate hazelnut spread (which beats Nutella for me), all of which are gluten-free. For even smaller bites, our homemade orange-cinnamon biscotti, Pop chips, Daim, Chocodates, vegan/ gluten free Ovenly Baked Cookies, and crackers with peanut butter and the choco-hazelnut spread for scooping. mmmm!
On to the highlight of my birthday. I filled my apartment with pink helium balloons and had people slip AED 50 per balloon into my bonanza box and write a wish on a note that they would tie to the bottom of the balloon’s string. They then enjoyed taking photos with the balloons, and by the end of the night we let all the balloons go into the night sky, setting all our wishes free.
This is my breast cancer bonanza box, which I owe to the creative mind of Theresa Tsui, co-founder of SolidariTea Arabia.
Even little Benoît made a wish.
cancer, vas-t-en, s'il te plait... tu est tres mechant. 
70 wishes all tangled up..
.. and set free.
Spot the lone wolf making his own way.

I experienced this balloon idea at a random event I happened to go to in NYC a couple years back and thought it was so creative. I never saw them set the balloons free but I can imagine that's what they did. I was so excited to use it for this cause. It's nice to physically see your wishes going somewhere :)

All together we were able to raise AED 4,000, which made me really happy and appreciative, because with just 50 guests a lot of people put in much more. The proceeds all went to Safe & Sound’s Breast Cancer Awareness organization to offer people the opportunity to get free check-ups, mammograms, patient care and further education for the community. All of their fund raising and usage is monitored by the Red Crescent. 

I’ve learnt that one of the best cures for any problem is a positive mind. I wish us all the strength and power to stay positive during the hardest times.



  1. Mayo! So nice to see you donating to an organisation that helps people with check-ups and mammograms and care rather than research.

    Research is important, but cancer culture in the US bothers me so much. We've seen stem cell treatments in the Middle East that are proven to be effective in treating cancer, and may even cure it eventually. But over here, such treatments are blocked either by the government's ignorance of non-embryonic stem cell methods or by pharmaceutical companies who don't want to see their profits take a hit. People give blindly to research without thinking about things like this and where their money goes.

    Also your birthday sounds like so much fun.

  2. Hey May!

    Loving the pics from your birthday :-) it looked so much fun! Congratulations on being a trailblazer, thinking of others and raising awareness on your special day.

    You and your friends have given women hope and kept them well.