A pang of grief has overtaken the Lebanese public at the announcement of the passing of an extraordinary young woman, whose fierce determination and positive attitude in challenging the impossible have inspired countless of people in Lebanon and abroad. Michele Hajal fought till the end of her journey, and not without leaving us with highly inspiring statements she enacted, and for which she will be always remembered.
On June 17th, Lebanese former beauty queen and a clinical dietician passed away at the young age of 25 after battling fiercely a brutal form of cancer known as Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. However, Michele did not go without a remarkable fight that has made her a hero in the eyes of our Lebanese people, and an inspiration to many.
As soon as diagnosed with the lethal disease, Michele jumped into a massive constructive action, aiming for the public to support her with donations to be able to be treated in the United States. The treatment in the US, including the related medical expenses, amounted to $750,000. A seemingly impossible fund to reach but Michele was full of trust in her human fellows.
And she was right. Her online campaign #FightwithMichele captured the hearts of our people and went viral. The public actually responded, and not only from Lebanon, to her heartwarming determination to undertake that difficult healing journey.
Her call for the public help with her fight was honored, and she indeed succeeded to gather that exorbitant yet most required amount.
Her campaign brought her also to engage with the Lebanese people in the country. She hosted fundraising events, appeared on TV talk shows, and delivered inspirational speeches. In the vulnerability of her health, Michele simply stood as a powerfully inspiring fighter!
Prior to her departure to the US, her last fundraising event ‘Fight Like A Girl’ was held, on October of last year, in Caprice Nightclub where Joseph Attieh celebrated her strength and performed for her cause. That particular event concluded her campaign with the attainment of the needed funds.
Worth noting that Michele's outstanding personality and noble character was further heeded in her participation in Maybelline’s campaign, eager to help others like her with funds for treatment.
It is in the harshest time of one's life that a person's trueness is most revealed, and that is what we came to witness with Michelle Hajal.
Her true beauty shone out like a brilliant light that induced us with awe, a personality one can't possibly miss admiring, a fighter for healing but also for love towards her fellow humans. She kept smiling at all time, holding onto a constructive stance, and steering away from complaining.
That is how Michelle Hajal walked the last phase of her young life, leaving her golden marks in her path, touching other people's lives, and making a difference for others as well when she most needed a crucial one herself.
Shock and sadness dawned on all who knew her from close and far when, after her healing was announced back in January, her sister just announced her passing, on Facebook. In a heartbreaking message, she stated that heaven is lucky to have Michele, but that she was taken too soon.
Local news took the announcement by storm. Her fiancé, Maroun Pierre Abi Atmeh, mourned her via an Instagram story. Many public figures took to Instagram and Facebook to express their condolences to her family.
Moreover, a memorial service for Michele will be held in Ottawa, Canada, at St. Elias Cathedral, on June 30 at 10:00 am, as published by the obituaries of "Lebanese in Ottawa."
Michelle didn't carry weapons to undertake her fight. She did it with hope and trust in humanity. She did not recoil, complaining about her fate. She embraced her issue and worked for solutions. Michele did not blame others for the crisis she was in. She focused on making a positive difference for herself, and for those enduring like her.
A true noble knight, wounded gravely yet carrying on, with constructive action, and seizing the good and the best she had, against all odds. And all throughout, she conveyed us with a message of unity: Together we are stronger.
For all who she was and had proven to be, The961 salutes her and honors her memory. We honor her relentless enactment of hope, unity, constructiveness, and faith in humanity and Lebanon, these statements she relentlessly conveyed to us all, and that concord with ours at The961.
Michele Hajal did not lose in her fight, for she won our hearts and an inspirational chief seat in our collective consciousness. Our deepest condolences to her family, her fiancé, her friends, and Lebanon. May her soul rest in peace.