June 17, 2024
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ALYN Hospital Rolls Out ‘Wheels of Love’ in the US

ALYN Hospital, located in Jerusalem, Israel, is one of the world’s premier hospitals in the field of pediatric and adolescent rehabilitation. In a recent interview with The Jewish Link, Maayan Aviv, executive director, American Friends of ALYN Hospital, commented that ALYN is “the best-kept secret in pediatric special needs care in Israel. But it’s not a secret we want to keep!”

“The American Friends of ALYN Hospital’s mission is to enhance and grow our platform to serve the challenge of raising funds for ALYN Hospital, while concurrently raising visibility for ALYN as a premier global institution for pediatric rehabilitation, improving the lives of children with disabilities worldwide through innovation and best-in-class treatments,” she added.

ALYN is excited to announce that its legendary “Wheels of Love” fundraiser is headed for U.S. soil for the first time ever! This amazing bike tour has become an iconic five-day excursion in Israel over the past 20 years, supporting ALYN and broadening its worldwide exposure. The inaugural U.S. Wheels of Love bike-a-thon will take place Sunday, May 23, in Lewis Morris Park, Morristown, New Jersey. The U.S. version will be a single-day event and boast spectacular routes on and off the road. Riders can choose from two on-road courses, one 36 miles and the other 62 miles (metric century), taking you through picturesque Morris County. Or if you prefer the scenic route out in nature, go off-road within Lewis Morris Park for a six-mile loop. Of course, riders are welcome to challenge themselves by doing more than one loop.

At press time, more than 100 riders were already registered, with many more expected to join as word gets out. According to Aviv, “We anticipate approximately 150 riders, along with volunteers and staff.” Aviv explained that they adjusted the participation requirements by making this ride a local event. “We welcome any participant wanting the ALYN ride experience, without the time and financial commitment required for participating in the ride in Israel.”

American Friends of ALYN has worked to support the hospital since its founding in 1932. The hospital is the singular facility of its kind in Israel, and one of the world’s leading such specialty facilities for intensive rehabilitation of children, regardless of religion or ethnic background. The focus of care at ALYN is to rehabilitate the children, and provide their families with what they all need to return to the community, by teaching the skills needed to achieve the highest possible level of independence and mobility.

ALYN treats 3,500 inpatients and 25,000 outpatients annually. There is abundant expertise in trauma, head injuries, road and domestic accidents, neuromuscular diseases, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, congenital deformities, general pediatric orthopedics, cancer and burns. ALYN also works with children who need intermediate ventilation and special feeding management, an especially challenging area of care. Many children come to ALYN to learn how to cope with post-cancer trauma.

One compelling story has a local flavor.

Jeremy Rosenbaum recounted the story of Aharon, his young son. Aharon fell from a great height and was rushed to the hospital. The emergency surgery saved his life, and Aharon spent two weeks in a medically induced coma. Following extubation and after recovering consciousness, Aharon arrived at ALYN on a stretcher, unable to sit up, talk or eat. Through an extensive array of therapies across all the major disciplines including speech, psychology, PT, OT and education, Aharon slowly regained these abilities, thanks to his amazing team of doctors and therapists. After three months, Aharon was released from the inpatient unit and spent another seven months in outpatient therapy. Aharon was embraced by the staff, from the security guard who gave him candy, to the clown doing a magic show, to the registration staff, to the therapists that brightened his day. Everybody pulled together for the best possible recovery for Aharon.

Now years later, Aharon continues down the long road of recovery. He attends a rehabilitation pre-school, is able to run, jump and even ride a scooter. He can effectively communicate in Hebrew and English and has grade-level math skills. Aharon still has many challenges ahead, but he is a determined boy who confronts each challenge with rigor and tenacity…and “a killer smile,” according to his father. The family hopes for Aharon to be able to participate in the ALYN bike ride someday!

Aharon’s savta, who lives in Bergen County, shared her experience with ALYN. “In October 2018 I traveled to Israel in my capacity as a ‘Savti,’ to be an extra pair of hands to help out. I spent close to two weeks, daily, at ALYN with Aharon. From the minute I walked through the front door, I knew this place was magic! I saw firsthand how everyone worked in unison with one focus in mind: ‘What can we do to improve the lives of the children who are patients here at ALYN?’”

“I will forever be grateful to ALYN for their part in helping Aharon move from what seemed an impossible situation to accomplishing the miraculous achievements that I have witnessed,” she added. “May Aharon be blessed with continued progress. May ALYN be blessed with continuing their extraordinary work impacting so many lives.”

Participants in this year’s ride can be assured that safety is the number one priority, both route-wise and COVID-wise. Routes are fully staffed and supported, and compliant with all COVID restrictions. As a registered rider or team, participants will enjoy some special perks, including a custom ride jersey and other fun swag, as well as light, kosher bites before and during the ride.

The ride administrators will monitor health and safety guidelines and abide by all CDC-recommended protocols and New Jersey state mandates. Please follow all communications by checking the website frequently for updates.

Registration and sponsorships are $72 registration fee, fundraising minimum $360. Register for the ALYN Hospital Wheels of Love on the ride website:

https://www.alynactive.org/event/wolusa/?type=register.

By Ellie Wolf

 

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