July 14, 2024
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Bicyclists Pedal Thousands of Miles to Aid Sick Kids in Israel

For 20 years, the “Wheels of Love” charity bike ride has created a community of riders from all over the world, including The Jewish Link’s readership area, whose end goal is to raise funds for ALYN Hospital in Jerusalem, Israel’s only pediatric rehabilitation hospital. Last year, the bike ride raised nearly $3 million. This year, the coronavirus pandemic made it impossible for riders from the United States to travel to Israel for the five-day cycling event, and so the American Friends of ALYN Hospital had to adapt the concept to meet the needs of the new reality.

And so #MyALYNRide was created to create personal challenges that can be completed from home and in their communities while continuing to fundraise to benefit the hospital with participants committed to riding hundreds of miles. So far, as much as $1.3 million has been raised with more than 300 riders have taken to their bikes this month. ALYN depends on these funds to help cover the financial gap between the money it receives from referring agencies and the actual costs of its best-in-class and innovative interdisciplinary care of children.

The hospital is a world leader in the field of rehabilitation of children with a wide range of physical disabilities. They are treated as in-patients, as out-patients and at the many day clinics available to address both congenital and acquired problems. Its multicultural staff treats children from all sectors of society and religious backgrounds in Israel, as well as from the Palestinian Authority, Jordan, the United States, Europe, Argentina and Russia.

The pandemic has shaken health-care systems worldwide. At ALYN, none are more susceptible to the infectious disease than children with respiratory complications. As the data began to mount, it became clear that should one of the patients contract COVID-19, it could be life-threatening.

In a matter of days, the hospital built a new wing to house the three departments of high-risk patients, including the Respiratory Rehabilitation Department with restricted entrance only. It was a major medical and logistical endeavor requiring hours of planning, purchasing of materials, laying out infrastructures, relocating offices, installing advanced monitoring systems, creating two negative-pressure isolation rooms and more.

Children with severe brain injuries or devastating neurological diseases, as well as those recovering from complex orthopedic procedures or any number of other severe medical conditions need to receive the rehabilitation that is vital to their recovery. As the second lockdown in Israel started this fall, hundreds of the hospital’s patients received their rehabilitation treatments remotely in ALYN’s various multidisciplinary Outpatient Clinics.

“ALYN is and always will be on the front of innovation in supporting their patients,” said Bryan Gartenberg of New York City. “The hospital sets the gold standard for practices and revolutionary thought in supporting children in dire need of new technology and therapies. Much of what is developed in the hospital is adopted around the world.”

This month, he joined with another 18 members of “The Grumpy Roadsters” in a 100-mile ride in the Berkshires. His team hopes to exceed the $300,000 contribution they made last year.

By Simone Masha/JNS

 

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