A cedar represents the symbol of Lebanon and a union brings people together so it was only fitting that Cedars Union was formed in 2019 after five friends Albert Sleiman, Andre Abi Raad, Aref Salem, Nehme Fares and Pascale Salem wanted to give back and help the people of Lebanon.
Over the last 25 years, the five friends from Montreal have been making an incredible difference in their communities by helping out through various initiatives any way they could. Last year they decided to expand their horizons and give beyond their community and that’s when the union was birthed.
The first goal of the new organization was to help Lebanon. With the escalating unprecedented economic crisis in the country, hospitals were already struggling and the need became increasingly great after COVID-19 and the Beirut explosion on August 4th. What was a slow crisis, culminated into a horrible disaster.
It was time to put the mission into action. Cedars Union set out to help the Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon (CCCL). Due to COVID-19, the organization was unable to raise money the way that they were used to. Their plans of festivals, golf tournaments and fundraisers were all put on hold but the people of Lebanon were in desperate need. They needed help and they needed it now. Albert, Andre, Aref, Nehme and Pascale wasted no time and went straight to work.
“We had to get financial support to help send medications so that front line workers at the cancer center could provide urgent care to the children who need it. We began by asking our closest friends, relatives and community to join our efforts and we began collecting donations,” explains Andre, one of the founding members of Cedars Union. “Being an active part of our communities for over 25 years we had the trust from everyone around us.”
The five friends of Cedars Union worked diligently and continued to appeal to their networks to help respond to the devastating effects of the blast and have raised over $15,000 so far.
“We wanted to send non-monetary help to Lebanon and we decided to collaborate with Health Partners International of Canada (HPIC) to send medication because that has been an immediate need for the people, says Andre. “After hearing about HPIC, we did our research and the relationship started from there. It’s great to partner with HPIC and see first-hand how support is sent to Lebanon. The hope is to treat as many children in Lebanon as we can and to work together for the long term.”
Cedars Union’s donation helped HPIC mobilize two shipments of medicine to the Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon. As of today, six pallets of pharmaceuticals requested by the CCCL including electrolytes, antifungals, diuretics, chemotherapy medications and corticosteroids have been sent to the hospital.
Andre says, “the hope is to help as many people as we can and continue to partner with HPIC in Lebanon and around the world to support anyone who needs the help.”
The work to re-build Lebanon continues. Since the August 4th explosion in Beirut, HPIC has mobilized over $820,000 worth of medicines. The goal is to send $1 million worth of medicine to help the people of Lebanon. Join this mission and donate product by e-mailing: firstname.lastname@example.org or partner with HPIC financially and help send more shipments of medicine by donating now. You can also reach Cedars union at email@example.com.
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