Michael wanted to demonstrate that “with faith and determination nothing is an impossibility and disability is in fact a state of mind.” He yearned to inspire the youth and show them that desperation has no place in a heart that must instead beat with inner strength and determination. If he could do it, why can’t they? His heart-felt message to each citizen is to work for his/her country and community, and for each young boy and girl suffering from difficulties or ‘disabled’ in any sense, to break those barriers of fear. Mike’s message is a message of hope and faith, of inner strength and determination. His story is one that inspires people to love, live and give more, despite, but more so for the sake of surmounting, all disabilities and barriers that only exist within the mind! And so, Mike walked…and broke the world record for the first time, with a cedar tree, literary, at his back.
On October 24th, 2013, Michael initiated the Cedar Walk, and walked 19 Km from Bcharre to the Cedars Forest of Tannourine. All the way, he carried a cedar tree that he planted upon reaching the finish line.
On October 24th, 2013, Mike took 60,000 steps (19km) and walked twelve hours each day for three days, bridging what used to be a joint and vast cedars forest that extended from The Cedars of Tannourine to The Cedars of Bsharre. He walked alongside the Lebanese Army in whom he finds enormous pride, holds the greatest gratitude, and looks up to with immeasurable admiration. Mike suffered substantial injuries, fell many times and was in a lot of pain, yet despite people urging him to terminate his walk one day earlier, he would not relent. ‘Even if he was about to die,’ he was adamant to continue and realize a “Lebanese dream,” bridging the two forests back together, carrying the cedar tree at his back from Bsharre to the soil of Tannourine. His mission, as always, was bigger than himself, hitherto Michael had faith and proof that nothing was impossible. There was no place for ‘disability’ in his mind or heart, and he aspired to plant this tree and this faith in other people’s worlds.
Michael set another world record and climbed up the Pigeons’ Rock, the most famous and natural
landmark of Beirut, despite his physical and paraplegic condition,
JUNE 8 2014, RAWCHE ROCK, BEIRUT COASTLINE
As before, he came down from the mountains to the beach to land his second world record on June 8th, 2014, climbing ninety degrees up the forty-four meters-high historical ‘Raouche Rock.’ After three months of training with the Lebanese Army and Rangers, Michael climbed to the top of ‘The Rock’ in forty minutes and raised the Lebanese Flag high. He climbed with his heart and two arms, for the symbol that unites all Lebanese, for the ecosystem, and for “faith and determination” that nothing is ever impossible.
On Sunday March 8th, 2015, Michael established his third world record, climbing the highest peak in Lebanon, the Black Summit or Qornet El Sawda (3088m), alongside the Lebanese Rangers, Army in their annual unity race from the Cedars of Bsharre to the Cedars of Tannourine. Walking on snow and strong wind, is all the more difficult for Mike, and yet he was adamant to challenge himself and the Faculty of Engineering, that was in the process of testing and elaborating the exoskeleton. Despite all falls and enormous difficulties, Mike went on, carrying the Lebanese “unity flag” signed by Patriarch Raii, and backed up by the Army with whom he has trained and forged strong bonds of pride and admiration.
"Micheal walked the 10k this Nov 10! we are all proud to have such strong men with strong will in Lebanon. It's people like Micheal and each one of you who make this #run4lebanon worthwhile" Beirut Marathon Association