This past November, You’re the Cure advocate and stroke survivor, Michelle Ballasiotes, had the privilege of attending the Non-communicable Diseases (NCD) Alliance Global Forum in Sharjah, UAE. Michelle represented the AHA/ASA and her mom joined her on this experience of a lifetime. This is the last installment in this series, but we hope you will come back to read our next posts and keep up with our advocates. Many thanks to Michelle for writing about her experience and allowing us to share it on the blog! Missed a week? You can find the earlier posts about her trip here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.
Mon. Nov. 16th and Tues. 17th :
I was thankful to be able to spend a few extra days seeing Dubai and shopping. My mom and I went on a safari tour and it was a blast to go dune bashing! The desert when the sun set was gorgeous. We also got the chance to ride a camel for a few minutes. I almost fell off when the camel popped its legs up after I got on, but it was fun once we got going!
We had a driver take us on a tour of Dubai. It is such a beautiful and clean city! The hotels in Dubai were gorgeous. We saw the famous “Sailboat Hotel” (Burj Al Arab Jumeirah) which our driver said was a seven star hotel. I didn’t even know those existed! We stopped briefly at Jumeirah beach to experience the sand and dip our toes in the water. We drove around the Palm Jumeriah, which is an artificial island shaped like a palm tree topped by a crescent. You really can’t experience the unique shape of the island from a car, so we will have to see it from above next time!
I couldn’t believe how tall the skyscrapers were and how many there were! One of the buildings was even twisted. It was fun to go to the markets and see all of the gold shops. I couldn’t believe the size of some of the gold chest pieces that were on display for women to wear. There was even a gold dress and a model of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, made out of gold.
The culture was very welcoming and both cities were very beautiful. I found all the people to be very friendly and courteous. This was particularly shown at the Forum with all of the varied cultures, religions, and customs coming together. We had an incredible experience and I have to give an enormous thank you to the American Heart Association for making this trip possible for my mom and me! It was an honor and a privilege to represent cardiovascular diseases and to bring awareness about pediatric stroke to the global stage.
I was sad to say good-bye to such welcoming cities and fun times, but I was ready to get into my own bed!
Want to keep up with Michelle and our other advocates? Join our You’re the Cure network to get updates on all of the work that we are doing around the state!
**A big Thank You to Michelle Ballasiotes for sharing her story over the past few weeks! We have really enjoyed sharing about her trip and hope you have enjoyed reading along!**