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Born in N’Djamena, Chad |

Shortly after Abdel was born his parents started looking for a place where the future would be brighter for their family. After conversations with friends, his parents decided that Toronto was the best option for their new home. The city became the place where Abdel spent his childhood and his earliest memories are of here. Both his parents and three younger siblings have since moved elsewhere but, after attending high school in Hamilton, it was fond memories of Toronto that brought him back for University, as he enrolled in the U of T’s Kinesiology and Physical Education program. Abdel has an even more precious connection to the city as, at the age of 17, he was diagnosed with a rare and potentially fatal heart condition. Being in Toronto literally saved his life as the diagnosis was made quickly and corrective surgery was performed at SickKids Hospital.

Toronto as Home

Abdel is standing inside the Athletic Centre at the University of Toronto – home to his Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education. Here he has experienced a tremendous amount of personal growth – along with invaluable experiences and connections.

“Most importantly, my being here at this institution is exactly the type of outcome that my parents were striving for when they left Chad, so it means a great deal to me knowing that I am able to bring to reality what they had imagined.”

Connection with the Past

Abdel is holding a picture of his mother, who he calls his “inspiration”.

“She is the person in the world that I most look up to. I could never come close to thanking her enough for the hard work and dedication she put into providing for my siblings and me.”

He explains how she is extremely determined, intelligent, humble, and “just an overall amazing person.” She made an enormous sacrifice by leaving her home country with the family, arriving in a brand new place, where success was not guaranteed. She makes sure to never let the family forget where they come from.

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