How I became more Diverse

I was raised in a family of first generation immigrants that escaped the civil war of

Lebanon In 1986. My father’s life was filled with hardships and adversity. Being

one of eight boys, my father was sick most of his childhood days. His father

constantly reminded him that he will need a form of support to continue, but my

father proved him wrong. He didn’t do so by disrespect, but by showing his

appreciation for life and how he wanted to take control of it.

The definition of ethics is the “moral principles that govern a person’s

behavior or the conducting of an activity”. There isn’t a guidebook on how to

apply ethics to your daily life, but it’s the experiences you have and the people

that surround you that shape you into the person you become. My family and

friends have allowed me to wander off in my interests in order to live through

different experiences daily.

I was raised as a Muslim, in a predominantly Arabic speaking household.

Being the only son with three sisters, my parents allowed me to grow and be

myself without inflicting their own beliefs onto me. I understood how to appreciate

the role of women and their importance to the foundation of our lives. My parents

allowed me to do everything a regular American kid would do. I was dating at 16,

drinking and graduating college at 21. Within those years, I fell in love with a girl

that is out of my league. I fell in love with a Jewish girl from Ukraine that was

brought to America by her family in hopes for a better life. America is seen as the

land of freedom where anyone of any color, race, religion, or sexuality has the

right to express themselves in a respectable manner.

During my years, I learned a lot. I cried, laughed, and smiled. But, I

have always felt empty. I used to love capturing moments. I loved going to

Central Park on a Sunday morning and just capturing people enjoying

their Sunday morning there. Everyone knows that in order to become a

photographer in life you need to work extra hard even when life hits you with

hardships if you want to make it big. So I really never followed my dreams as a

photographer, keeping it more as a hobby. I still stuck to an expensive lifestyle

though which lead to me being unhappy as a person. I would get lost in

superficial, materialistic things. Not until my 24th birthday did everything change.

I began to feel sick. After my first trip back from California and my first seizure

that summer, I didn’t feel like myself. For the next year, my life was a complete

mystery. I was misdiagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and later on discovered it

was cancer.  Cancer really wasn’t hard. Cancer was easy because it became a

routine. I knew every day what I needed to do: to stay alive and if I didn’t, I would


When happens when science meets arts?  X-rays. I stopped blaming

cancer for my problems and started taking responsibility. I applied to the Center

for Allied Health as an X-RAY technician. A week later, I met with Isaak

Miroshenko and Elizabeth Adair for my interview for the program. I remember a

question they asked me: why radiography? I told them my story about cancer

and how cancer changed my life and helped me find my passion for radiography.

I saw the positive look they gave me, and they even went on to tell me that my

persuasiveness could help me in selling MRIs and XRAYs, not only working with

them.  I felt good, and they continued by asking the question: what questions do

you have for us? I replied and asked: "Why your program rather than another

program?"  They replied: "because we are the best at what we do and we love

what we do". I felt it in her tone that it was sincere which won me over and with

that, she allowed me to follow my calling in life. I now know what I want in life. I

remember my first day in clinic where I did my first chest PA x-ray to a 99 year

old man. I remember just looking at him and saying to myself: "Wow, that was me

a year ago. Thank God I’m on the opposite side and I am grateful." I continued

my work and made his stay there so much more worthwhile. I saw that he was

wearing a Yankee hat and I told him "Hey! It’s your luck that I have to shoot this

x-ray because I’m a Mets fan!" He quickly replied:  "No, no, no! This my

granddaughter’s hat – she got it for me on my 70th birthday". He started laughing,

then replied with "she’s well grown now." I smiled and appreciated life in that


Coming back to ethics, and how can you teach someone ethics. We, as

people, tend to disconnect from one another and start to become cynical.

Sometimes this is good, sometimes bad, because in order to become a better

version of yourself, you first need to love yourself. We are too busy in the day to

stop and ask ourselves if we are okay. Small issues turn to bigger issues

because of a misunderstanding that could’ve been avoided if both people took a

second to hear each other out instead of attacking each other.

My family roles have played a major impact on the person I have

become. I have the compassion of my mother but the heart of my father and the

strength of my sisters. I carry the traits of both my parents and use my family’s

inspiration to mold myself into someone who appreciates life and tries to make it

worthwhile for myself and those around me.