YG: Do you plan to make aliya? If yes, when?
PL: God willing I hope to one day to make aliya. I love Israel, my home. My brother, cousins, and a lot of close friends already live there. I know that when I choose to transition, I will be greeted with open arms.
YG: What do you absolutely, totally LOVE in life? Why?
PL: I love life in general. I appreciate every aspect of it. I love that I can get up every morning and decide what I want to do. I am not limited in any areas of life and I do not plan on even being prevented from doing something I want to do. Going to Israel for this marathon, even a day after surgery, will God-willing happen.
YG: Reporters are notorious for not asking the questions a person most wants to address. Please share details for the wider world to know.
PL: It means a lot to me to be able to spread awareness, letting people know that an act of terror can happen to anyone and it needs to be stopped. However, there is one thing that I guess separates me from other victims. When most people are in an attack they are either injured, a family member in injured, or they lost a loved one. The event becomes a sad and traumatic experience. I, however, was not injured nor did I lose a loved one. I came out perfectly unscathed. The event is sad because people did die and did get injured, and of course it was traumatic because it could have taken my life, but it didn’t. When I reflect on the event I realize there must be a reason I didn’t get off the bus like I normally did, putting me in the brunt of the explosion. There must be a reason that sitting directly across from the shattering glass, not getting even a scratch. There must be a reason that someone was killed and it wasn’t me. I’ve focused most of my brain power on these ‘what ifs,’ trying to figure out why it wasn’t me, but in truth I will never know. So I want to try and make a difference: Spread awareness, tell my story, and let the terrorists know that they can’t stop me from living life. My story isn’t the typical sad one of a terror victim. It’s a story of strength and inspiration, empowerment to keep on returning to our land and to not be afraid.
On a different note, my 2012 trip was delayed due to a small surgery. Surgery came at the worst possible time and while it might put me at a setback from running, as of now I am planning on at least walking. I arrived in fine shape and I made a seudat hoda’ah at the One Family Fund Center in Jerusalem on the anniversary of the attack. One Family Fund took photos of it.
On Friday March 17, Pia competed, with more than 15,000 runners from over 50 countries, on a 10-, 21- and 42-kilometer race in Jerusalem. The rain-soaked and hail-pocked course began near the Israel Museum. The long-distance race ended at Sacher Park. Pia ran the 21-kilometer race which concluded at Sderot Ben-Tzvi near the Betzalel junction. She says, “2:59.40 was my time, 40 minutes more than last year, which I think is pretty good considering it was a week after surgery!”
Next up on her schedule: “The Philadelphia triathlon, also for One Family.”
To support One Family Fund’s efforts to help victims of terror, contact:
Yehuda Poch, Director of Communications
One Family Fund – Helping Israel’s Victims of Terror
28 Rachel Imenu, POB 8573, Jerusalem, Israel 93228
Phone: (972) 2-539-9000, Fax: (972) 2-539-9011
Direct Line: (972)2-539-9006, Cell: (972) 54-499-7624
About the Author: Yocheved Golani is the author of highly acclaimed "It's MY Crisis! And I'll Cry If I Need To: EMPOWER Yourself to Cope with a Medical Challenge" (http://booklocker.com/books/3067.html). It addresses and solves many needs of disabled, ill and recovering readers.
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