At this year’s Rainbow Jumper Challenge, as donors and supporters were sipping drinks under a large white tent on the grounds of the Chagrin Valley Hunt Club in Gates Mills, a call rang out in the eloquence of a young woman from Iraq.
“My name is Teeba Furat Marlowe,” she began. Then Teeba described how as a toddler she was riding with her father Furat and brother Yuisif in a cab to Baghdad when a bomb exploded, permanently scarring her and killing three-year-old Yousif. “Through the years many people have said I’m brave… But in reality, I’m just forgiving. Forgiveness is my method of comprehending why such horrible things happen to such wonderful people.”
Fortunately, wonderful people continue to be part of Teeba’s life, from her loving family in Iraq, to Barbara and Tim Marlowe in Cleveland, to the medical and support team at Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital. It was Barbara Marlowe, compelled by a photo of Teeba in a 2006 newspaper story, who corralled the forces to bring five-year-old Teeba from Iraq to Cleveland a year later for 20 life-changing surgeries and treatment.
A decade of Rainbow Jumper Challenges has raised $1.5 million and immeasurable goodwill for the hospital to help childen like Teeba and many others. This year’s jumper challenge added $250,000, including $125,000 from the Calcutta auction, to continue children’s medical care.
“It’s true that the pathways of life will be very difficult for each and every one of us at one point or another,” said Teeba to the 230 supporters gathered on a balmy summer evening. “But I beg you to rise above the obstacles, the hurdles, the twists and the turns. And I ask you to keep one goal in mind: to make that road easier for others, to prove that love is intrinsically greater than fear.” STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY PEGGY TURBETT