Raz Ben David:
Former ALYN patient, striking a positive chord


In December 2014, Raz Ben David experienced a spinal cord infarction, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. The doctors who diagnosed him at a general hospital thought the damage was so severe that he would not walk again. The following month, Raz was referred to ALYN Hospital for rehabilitation. Turns out he is one of only 33 people in the world who have had this specific type of spinal cord infarction. As far as we know, no other known patient with this specific condition is reported to have mobility except for Raz.

At ALYN, he received intense physical therapy, hydrotherapy and occupational therapy, as well as psychological support for both him and his parents. Raz’s father says about the staff at ALYN, “The people here are amazing, truly amazing. They are giving, caring, genuinely concerned and do their very best.”

Due to the complexity of his condition, he stayed at ALYN as an in-patient. Within a few months, he had progressed from using a wheelchair to walking in the pool, then to walking on the ground with a walker and then to walking with crutches. Raz recalls his success with hydrotherapy, “The first time I stood since the injury was in the water. In the water, the body ‘remembers’ how to move. I have more freedom to move without having to think about stability or what will happen if I fall. I have much greater freedom of movement in the water.”

While Raz had been playing the saxophone since the age of 9, during his time at ALYN he also began to compose and writing his own pieces.

Raz was eventually released to Day Hospitalization, meaning that he continued intense rehabilitation, but he slept at home with his family. At the same time, he trained with the Swift and the Bold, ALYN’s cycling team made up of current and former patients. Raz trained on a tandem bicycle with his father and in November 2015 he participated in Wheels of Love with the Swift and the Bold. During the gala event of the Wheels of Love that year, he was given the opportunity to perform a 20-minute set accompanying David Broza on the saxophone.

Raz was fully released from ALYN in September 2016, coming back for a follow-up about six months later. He is now almost 22, is completing his studies at the Rimon School of Music, Israel's largest independent professional school for advanced study of jazz, R&B, bebop, rock, and pop music, and has just put out his first music video, a cover of Idan Raichel’s song Mi’Col Ha’ahavot (Of All the Loves) on which he sings and plays the saxophone.

He is currently working on his first single, titled “Every day is a war”. He says it is the story of his life.

In an interview with a local newspaper, Zman Maaleh, Raz recently said, “I love who I am today. I’ve learned about my own strengths and I am a much stronger person today, which is life-changing. It’s important for me to succeed and realize my larger goals so that I can inspire others who are in a tough place to believe in themselves.”

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