Close shave with death makes Dubai resident pedal for charity

Top Stories

Close shave with death makes Dubai resident pedal for charity

Dubai - Now in its second year, Youseff tells Khaleej Times how it all began


Kelly Clarke

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Published: Wed 30 Nov 2016, 7:21 PM

Last updated: Wed 30 Nov 2016, 10:08 PM

 In November 2014, Samantha Youseff lay in a hospital bed in Dubai, barely clinging to life. Falling in and out of consciousness she had suffered severe internal bleeding from an ectopic pregnancy.
Battling for her life and undergoing four blood transfusions, Youseff was presented with a Dh60,000 hospital bill as her insurance did not cover her for maternity.
But she said it was that experience which put the wheels in motion - quite literally - for 'Journey of Hope'.
A three-day charity bike ride which will begin in Fujairah today and concludes in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, 'Journey of Hope' will see more than 70 participants - including 14 school teachers in Dubai - pedal their hearts out across all seven Emirates over the National Day Weekend. Covering a total of 274km over 12 hours, the charity ride - which is supported by the Red Crescent - aims to raise money to help families across the UAE who need financial support.
Now in its second year, Youseff tells Khaleej Times how it all began.
Pedal for a cause
"(Rising) from the ashes' is a phrase I use to describe how Journey of Hope was born," she said.
"I think from something bad should come something good so when I was recovering in my hospital bed back in 2014, I knew I wanted to make good of my traumatic experience."
After becoming pregnant with her first child two years ago, the Dubai International Academy teacher was told by doctors she had miscarried just weeks into the pregnancy. How-ever, following a collapse at home one day, Youseff was rushed to hospital. It was discovered she was in fact going through an ectopic pregnancy, which resulted in severe internal bleeding. But doctors could not perform the emergency surgery she needed as her medical insurance did not cover her.
"The hospital needed a down payment of Dh30,000 before they would admit me to theatre. We fortunately had a credit card which we could use and I was wheeled in." And if she didn't have the surgery, she wouldn't be here today. Her husband, three step children and close friends championed her cause. "Their compassion, empathy and support is what drives me."
On Thursday, Youseff and 50 other riders will begin the journey, cycling 67km around Fujairah - 36km of which will be uphill.
On Friday, to celebrate the UAE's National Day, 57 cyclists will travel 87km through RAK, UAQ, Ajman and Sharjah, with the next day marking the longest journey: a 120km stretch between Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Covering 274km in all, Youseff said she hopes to top last year's fundraiser, which made Dh40,000 for the Red Crescent.
"The money we raise will go to anyone unable to pay for an emergency surgery and they will be covered no matter which hospital in Dubai that they find themselves in."
How they ride for charity
> 2.5 months training
> 25kmph is minimum speed per cyclist
> 274km total distance covered
> 12 hours will be spent riding
> Dh40,000 raised in 2015 Hospitals
Hospitals that are participating
> Mediclinic City Hospital, Dubai
> Al Rahba Hospital, Abu Dhabi
> Al Sharq Hospital, Fujairah
> Al Qassimi Hospital, Sharjah
>Al Saqr Hospital, Ras Al Khaimah

More news from