This past Sunday October 18, together with a group of friends, Sarah Liss, from the Five Towns, rode in memory of her dear friend Kevin Leifer, a longtime supporter of ALYN. “I’m a veteran ALYN rider, but this is the first time we all rode together as ‘Friends of Kevin’.” The team rode a metric Century ride on the North Shore of Long Island which is a popular term used when describing a 100 km bike ride. The route was carefully drawn up, and new ways were discovered to make up the full distance. “I have seen firsthand what ALYN does for the children, from the five years that I rode into ALYN hospital at the end of a challenging ride! The hospital is amazing, the staff is very dedicated, and the children are an inspiration. As Wheels of Love riders, we are part of the ALYN Family, and it is a privilege to be part of such an unbelievable institution,” adds Liss.
Kevin Leifer fought multiple cancers for many years until he passed away on January 16, 2020. He was in awe of the innocent children of ALYN who faced all kinds of disabilities and illnesses with smiles and without complaint. “No ride was too difficult for Kevin,” says his wife, Erica. “He always said ‘if the children of ALYN can face any challenge then so can I.’ He put his heart and soul into this ride for 11 years. His compassion was not only for the children but for their parents as well. He would talk about ALYN to anyone and everyone from the business world to family to our community and to our friends. He spoke with amazement about the incredible care and therapies the children receive at ALYN and the success stories and miracles that occurred and continue to occur on an almost daily basis.”
The ALYN Hospital is Israel’s only pediatric rehabilitation hospital and a world leader in the field of rehabilitation of children with a wide range of physical disabilities, in which multidisciplinary expertise has been developed in rehabilitative treatment of children and youth. The hospital treats children from all sectors of society — from ultra-orthodox, religious, and secular Jews, to Christians and Muslim Arabs — has a multicultural staff treating the children. There are more than 400 staff members treating 500 children a year as in-patients, 3,000 children a year as outpatients and around 300 children a day in the many clinics available for children addressing both congenital or acquired problems, from simple problems to rare diseases, treating children from all over Israel, Europe, USA, Russia, Argentina as well as from the Palestinian Authority and Jordan.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken health care systems around the world to their very core. As the data began to mount, it became clear that should one of the patients at ALYN contract Covid-19, it would be life threatening. The veteran medical and nursing staff worked quickly to develop an array of new protocols to prevent the introduction and spread of COVID-19 at the hospital. “We are committed to doing everything in our power to protect the children of ALYN Hospital from becoming a part of the statistics.” says Maurit Beeri, director of the ALYN Hospital.
In a matter of days, the hospital built an entirely new wing in which to house the three departments of high-risk patients, including the respiratory rehabilitation department, which would have restricted entrance only. This was a major design, medical and logistical endeavor which required hours of planning, purchasing of materials, laying out infrastructures, relocating offices, advanced monitoring system installation, creating two negative-pressure isolation rooms and re-construction work both inside and outside of the Hospital. The expertise of their operations and computer staff truly came to the fore when they were faced with having to build and install the entire complex vital statistics monitoring system in new wing in-house, since the company that produces such systems had put all of their staff on unpaid leave. Even the elevators at ALYN Hospital had to be reprogrammed, with designated second-floor only or third-floor only access for the kitchen, laundry, supplies, and maintenance staff from the first floor to either section of the hospital.
Children with severe brain injuries or devastating neurological diseases, those recovering from complex orthopedic procedures or any number of other severe medical conditions, must continue to receive the rehabilitation that is vital to their recovery. Outside the walls of ALYN Hospital, as the second lockdown in Israel started, hundreds of the hospital’s patients continue their rehabilitation treatments remotely in ALYN’s various multidisciplinary outpatient clinics. With many of its administrative staff on leave or working from home, their offices and computers have been equipped for use by physical, occupational, and speech therapists for remote therapeutic sessions. Therapeutic treatments offered are now taking place using remote rehabilitation to continue to serve children with respiratory illnesses, neuromuscular diseases, brain injuries, cerebral palsy, and feeding difficulties, among other conditions. It appears that remote treatments are bringing new, unexpected advantages to the surface. One of the most noticeable benefits is the ability to treat a patient in their natural environment, which the physical therapists leverage during treatment.
The donations collected in the Wheels of Love/#My ALYN Ride campaign help bridge the gap between the hospital’s actual expenditure, the quality multidisciplinary rehabilitation treatment it provides, and the reimbursement of the regular official payment received for each hospitalized child. In a normal year, the total gap is about $70 per child per day and the difference in treatment roughly costs the hospital $21,000 a day!
For more information about ALYN Hospital visit Alyn.org.