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UAE expat who won over Dh100,000 sends relief to Lebanon
His family and relatives were among those who were affected in the blast that rocked Beirut in August.
When Lebanese-Canadian expat Bassem Itani won Dh111,111 from Emirates Loto in July, he wasn't sure what he would do with his prize. One month later, a massive blast rocked Beirut and that was when he knew what the money was for.
His family and relatives were among those who were affected in the tragedy. "I didn't think twice about helping my family in Lebanon when the disaster struck last month. The devastation that was caused is still so upsetting to see," said Itani, an architect.
"Like many in this region who have sent relief to Lebanon, I hope my support goes far in helping my family in rebuilding their lives."
A resident for 17 years, Itani sees the UAE as "a country that offers great opportunities to people who work hard". And he plans to stay in the Emirates for as long as he could, believing that it offers "unrivalled safety" for him and his family.
Married with two children, he also allocated a large share of his Emirates Loto prize to the education of his kids.
"I am a huge fan of the UAE. Emirates Loto has been really good to me. I plan to keep playing when the draws return, and if I ever win again, I will continue to be good to the world in the same way the world has been good to me," Itani said.
If the current circumstances had been different, the lucky expat said he would have spent some of the cash prize on an overseas holiday.
"Maybe if I'd have won Emirates Loto at a time when there wasn't a pandemic causing such disruption, I could have taken a world tour. I guess my own savings and plans can wait. Family will always come first."
Emirates Loto is set to re-launch soon and continues to work behind the scenes ahead of its first draw. It will also continue to support communities across the UAE and beyond through philanthropic and CSR initiatives.
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