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HELP ZILBO TURN TRAGEDY TO TRIUMPH

$4,590 of $6,000 goal

Raised by 78 people in 3 months
Created May 4, 2019
ZEALOUS FOR ZILBO
on behalf of Lisa Zilberpriver
THE TRAGEDY: Our mate Lisa (aka Zilbo) is one of the last Zilberprivers. Almost all her extended family was wiped out in the Holocaust.  Lisa's grandparents were the only ones to escape to Israel, where they had their son Yizhaq, but they were so severely traumatised with the deluge of losses, they surrendered him at only three years old to be raised by others.   

For decades, Yizhaq has talked about his desire to take his daughter to Auschwitz to honour their lost family together, but Lisa was raised by her Mum in Australia, so the opportunity never presented itself, UNTIL NOW....  

THE TRIUMPH: Zilbo recently completed the Challenge Melbourne endurance triathlon for the fifth time.  That's a 1.9km swim, 90km bike ride and 21km run back to back!  She shocked the pants off herself by QUALIFYING for the Challenge WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP which is staged only weeks from now in Samorin, Slovakia...

SAMORIN IS A COUPLE OF HOURS FROM AUSCHWITZ!!

WE WANT TO HELP LISA AND HER FATHER MEET IN SAMORIN ON 2 JUNE, BECAUSE IT WOULD MEAN THE WORLD TO BOTH OF THEM.  

There probably aren’t words to describe how proud Yizhaq would be to watch his daughter compete in a world championship, then honour the family members who didn’t make it out of Auschwitz with Lisa by his side.

As for Zilbo – she never dreamed she would qualify for a world championship. She’s still recovering from a bike accident in 2016 in which she broke her jaw in four places and smashed a bunch of teeth. This woman is seriously motivated!  She regularly finishes training at midnight before an early start at her demanding day job working to prevent domestic violence.    

We (Boo, Dan, Mary, Maddy and Janine) know she MUST go and are supporting her every way we can.  If you think so too, please contribute RIGHT NOW and share with your friends.  We only have until 23 May to make this happen!

If with your help we don’t raise enough by 23 May, the trip will not happen and all donations will be refunded.
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Dear everyone,
A final update from the couch back in Melbourne.
Aba and I did make it to Oswiecim, Poland, in the end and his health held strong. We made two trips to Auschwitz I and spent several hours at Birkenau, the immense machine meticulously designed to inflict fear, pain and death on unthinkable numbers of people.

I don't know how to sum it up, but it did stand out that the hotel we stayed at, right opposite Auschwitz I, served cake and trifle for breakfast each day. Because if you’re breakfasting right across the road from those memories, why not hey?

We found my grandmother’s brother, Michael Bursztyn – known as Mishel after he escaped to France, and Mietek in her letters – in the Book of the Dead, which holds the names of over four million Jews. Among them, we also found half a page of Zylberprywers and although my grandma was apparently firm that those from the town of Miedzyrzec were not related to us, seeing our rare name repeated again and again gave me a powerful – and sad – sense of belonging.

We don’t know what happened to the rest of our family, nor do we know what happened to Michael after he arrived at the camp in 1942. There were many, many ways to die at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

We do know Michael was captured in France where he had joined the resistance, and put on a ‘transport’ back to his native Poland; the infamous windowless wooden cattle cars, of which one remains at the site.

We laid a pebble on its step in his memory in accordance with Israeli custom (as is breaking rules … you are not supposed to move anything at the site).
I have no idea how to strike the right balance between sincere and over-the-top in describing this stuff, so I’ll leave it there and just thank you for making it happen.

On a final note: our family has rebuilt, with new members brought into the world thanks to my cousins in Israel and Western Australia. We all have different surnames but family is family and we are lucky to have each other, our health and our freedom.

Aba and I saw La Traviata at the famous Volksoper on our last night in Vienna and I spent my birthday in the sky on the way back to Melbourne. Life could not possibly be any better.

Signing off now with much love and gratitude; please feel free to contact me on lisazilbo@gmail.com for any reason whatsoever.

Thank you, and goodbye for now.

LZ
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Hi again all,

Just a quick one to let you know Poland is on; Aba is in good health and I am regularly annoying him about keeping hydrated, wearing a hat, staying in the shade and taking frequent breaks.

We will be boarding the Vienna-Oswiecim train early tomorrow morning and heading straight to Auschwitz when it gets in around 1pm, then going to Birkenau on Friday.

Some of you have shared your memories of how transformative and utterly crushing this experience is, and I don't underestimate the effect it will have on Aba and I, especially given our personal history with the place. To be completely honest, I am scared of how intense our emotions will be, but very glad we are able to go there after all.

We will keep you posted.

In the meantime - race pics are in!

The official photographer caught Aba in the background during my swim-bike transition which is a happy miracle.

Don't mistake the finish chute grin for an outward sign of abundant strength and energy; it is actually the soul-flooding relief of someone who at several points that day was 100% convinced she would not be running down that carpet.

It *is* a small consolation ... ok, a HUGE consolation - that men's winner Sebastian Kienle said exactly the same thing.

I reckon that sense of overcoming fear and doubt will help me through Part Two of this huge journey.

More to come from Poland.

LZ
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Hey everyone,

They say some races go to plan, others are educational. Yesterday was very, very educational. It was one of the toughest things I've ever done.

I'm beyond proud to report that - having gone in only with a desperate wish not to finish last - I came 18th out of 34 women in my category, and 107th out of 226 women overall.

And I'm distressed to share with you that my dad nearly passed out and was taken by ambulance to Bratislava hospital an hour in to the race. He was released with a clean bill of health and is fine now but we are thinking carefully about whether it's sensible to continue to Poland. Updates when we know more.

About the race...

It was not the day for a PB.

One minute into the freezing swim, my wetsuit burst open and filled with water. I stopped, emptied it out (no mean feat while submerged!) and closed it tight but for a good 500m my mental chatter was solid 'I can't do this... I can't do this.' But I decided to keep putting one hand in front of the other (though you couldn't see past your elbow - no exaggeration) and just see how far I could get. Two kms went by that way and I realised with surprise that my form was good. Then, in the last 100m, a spectacular current made the water bubble like a (cold brown) jacuzzi and athletes everywhere seemed to swim on the spot. It took about 7 minutes to plough through it and I nearly pulled the helpers on the stairs into the water, I was so cooked!

The bike leg was stunning, with Slovakia's wheat and poppy fields gleaming in the glorious spring sun, and the giant white swans on the Danube both strikingly elegant and thoroughly hilarious when upside down searching for food among the reeds - such big feet!

But I won't lie; it was tough. The Hungarian side of the river was terribly rough and pot-holed. My handlebar console came loose and I rode about 50km uncomfortably angled downwards, constantly slipping off the elbow rests. Despite the forecast, it was windy all the way but I finished with a respectable 2:44 and my coach - who is pretty much like Yoda for these things - texted a PB prediction.

The run was - as expected - brutally hot. From about 2kms I genuinely believed I wasn't going to make it. I walked all the aid stations from the 10th km on - something I never do. I also never stop to use the portaloos on course, but about a litre of the Danube needed returning to its rightful home, so that cost more minutes than I am comfortable admitting.

I finished the run in just under 1:58 and the whole race in 5:40, 26 minutes slower than my PB, but you have my word that I gave it all I had.

I am keenly aware of all the luck that got me here; robust health, a privileged life as a middle class white person, and the selfless support of 78 incredible people. I take none of it for granted.

Race pics and news on Auschwitz plans to come, but for now, big love to you all and I hope your week is as life-changing as you have made mine.

LZ
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Hey everyone,
Super-nervous so can't write much - the gun is in 2 hours and I am locked, loaded, tattooed and time-chipped. Bike and transition bags went into the transition area yesterday. There've been questions over whether or not conditions in the Danube (current, debris and low temps) will require the swim to be cancelled or shortened. It was 12 degrees in there yesterday - but the race organisers have said there *will* be a swim. I hope it's the full 1.9kms, but safety first, and I'm just stoked to be here for any of it!

My race number is 237 (as you can probably see, x100!) - athlete tracker and results at www.thechampionship.de

See you all on the other side.

And thank you <3

LZ
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$4,590 of $6,000 goal

Raised by 78 people in 3 months
Created May 4, 2019
ZEALOUS FOR ZILBO
on behalf of Lisa Zilberpriver
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