Hi I am Jarah Al Hawamdeh a Palestinian refugee living in Jordan. In 2010, I was diagnosed with stage-4 bone cancer when I was only 15 years old. I was devastated when the doctors told him that they would have to amputate my leg because of the cancer. I was terrified and knew that my life was going to change forever. I decided to turn this devastating experience into something positive.
To overcome the trauma, depression, and hopelessness from losing my leg, I turned to mountain-climbing. I started this journey by climbing the highest mountain in Jordan. After that, in 2015, I decided I wanted to do something even bigger, so I continued on to Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa to raise awareness and for the support and motivation of other cancer patients like myself.
In 2018, because of political issues, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) stopped receiving support from the U.S., this meant that the neighborhood school (a school built by the UNRWA for Palestinian refugees) that I grew up attending would have to close. I was determined to make sure that would not happen, so I started a campaign to keep my school open. I did what everyone thought was impossible – I climbed to the Mount Everest base camp. As I was completing this amazing achievement, I began a campaign and raised $150,000 for my school in the span of 25 days. As a result of my actions my school was able to stay open. I am still a mountain climber and hope to realize my dream of climbing the seven peaks to save refugees and cancer patients.