Wheels of Love is the Annual International Charity Bike Ride on behalf of the physically challenged children being rehabilitated in ALYN Hospital. Hundreds of riders and volunteers from Israel and around the world participate in a five day Ride. In addition there is a one day route - GalgALYN
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Stories from Maurit's Blog
It takes a rare individual to volunteer to cast their lot with that of an innocent child to whom fate has been especially cruel.
The birth of a child with a serious birth defect or illness is a terrible shock for a parent. In recent years, thanks to a wonderful and growing support network and a profound change in attitude, most parents get over this shock and manage to do their best to take care of their child. But for some families, this burden is simply too overwhelming. Such was the case with Adam's (not his real name) parents, who lived in abject poverty in a tin Bedouin enclave. When it became clear that Adam suffered from medical problems which would require long-term care in an intensive care department very far from their home, they found it impossibly difficult to continue to accompany him. When a baby is left alone in a hospital, that baby cannot thrive even with the most professional and sensitive care. Babies need hugs, a soothing voice and personal communication with a steady person. Nurses and doctors frantically scurrying around from one emergency to the next simply cannot provide this for the baby. Instead of growing up in a warm and natural family environment, Adam grew up with the constant din of hospital monitors and resuscitations. It seemed that this wide-eyed boy's fate was to remain alone and eventually be moved to a nursing facility, forever bedridden and confined within the same four dreary walls.
But Adam is perhaps the luckiest baby in the country. A wonderful organization called "First Hug" sends dedicated volunteers to stay with children who are forced to stay alone in hospitals for an extended time. First Hug sent Adam, an extraordinary young woman named Dana (a pseudonym). Dana brought with her far more than hugs. She fell in love with Adam, and soon became the significant figure in his life. For Adam, Dana was no less than a functional mother. Together with Adam, she moved into Alyn Hospital on a long term basis in order to accompany him through his long and complex medical and rehabilitation process.
Dana was there when Adam started to walk. She was there when he was talked and played, ate and sang. When he was well enough to start leaving the hospital, Dana took Adam to visit his biological family and made sure that he kept in touch with them. She represented him in front of the medical teams and in front of the education system. That first hug resulted, ultimately, in Dana's total commitment to Adam.
We at Alyn are experts at providing professional rehabilitation and a comprehensive support system. What we cannot do, however, is replace the loving parents of the children whom we care for . It was Eizenkot, the eminent psychologist who observed that there is no such thing as a baby. There is only a baby and its mother. And without a mother, without a stable mother figure, even one who did not conceive and give birth to him, no baby can flourish
Once we at Alyn concluded our role in Adam's rehabilitation, we became involved in the process of helping Dana to officially adopt Adam. It was a long and complicated process and required waging a war against an entrenched bureaucracy. For two years Dana fought for the right to take Adam to a home of their own. Throughout this entire time, the child was hospitalized in Alyn's Respiratory Rehabilitation Department.
Today, Adam and Dana live in a cozy little apartment in Jerusalem. Every day Adam goes to a special education school appropriate for him, and at the end of the day, he returns to the warm embrace returning of his own little family. Which one of them is happier is not clear, and the truth is, it really doesn't matter.
Wheels of Love 2015
The 15th Wheels of Love
The 15th Wheels of Love (WOL) Ride for the children of ALYN Hospital was a fantastic success!
The 16th ALYN WOL Ride will take place between October 25-29, 2015.