A New Year for Tohar

As summer ends and Rosh Hashanah arrives, I consider the new year, new beginnings and inspiration for what can be.

I recently returned from visiting ALYN Hospital, located in the Kiryat Yovel neighborhood of Jerusalem. It was an opportunity to reconnect with our Israeli colleagues in person and to see all the exciting developments at the hospital since my last visit. I met with children on their personal journeys to new beginnings and am inspired by the medical and therapeutic staff who help the children at ALYN achieve their goals and improve their quality of life.

One of many inspiring stories that was shared with me was Tohar’s story, which is filled with hope and determination:

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Tohar had dreams like every teenager. She grew up in Israel. She was a competitive gymnast and just finished a certification course to become a gymnastic coach. She particularly loved the balance beam. One day Tohar felt something was wrong; she was slightly off balance.

“One afternoon, we went to see the doctor expecting to hear that possibly something was wrong with her ears. The next morning, we were in treatment for brain cancer,” her mother said. At age 16, Tohar was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a malignant brain tumor.

In September 2019, the brain tumor was removed at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. Tohar received chemotherapy in the United States, where she also began her rehabilitation process. By December the same year, Tohar was transferred to ALYN Hospital. She arrived in a wheelchair with significant mobility limitations that prevented her ability to walk and use her hands. She had speech and memory loss. In addition, her facial muscles were severely damaged. Even a smile was not possible.

Following the initial assessment, Tohar received extensive medical care and neurological treatment. Tohar’s personal rehabilitation plan required speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy and hydrotherapy. Social workers supported and assisted Tohar and her parents throughout the rehabilitation process.

Tohar was not able to attend her previous school. Instead, she was enrolled at SHACHAR, ALYN’s onsite Rehabilitation Educational Medical Day Care Center. At SHACHAR, Tohar was able to continue with her studies during her rehabilitation. Like many of ALYN’s patients, Tohar’s therapeutic treatments went remote during COVID-19 lockdown.

This is a journey of hope and determination. “Tohar came to ALYN Hospital more than two and a half years ago after the removal of a brain tumor and with many neurological limitations. She went from being an athletic teenager before the discovery of the brain cancer, to being weak, in a wheelchair and totally reliant on the help of others, and after completing her intensive rehabilitation program at ALYN Hospital, has become an even more motivated and independent young woman who has completed high school (even during the corona pandemic) as well as a year of seminary (מדרשה) and is now preparing to volunteer in the IDF!” Dr. Emmanuel Kornitzer, Director, Rehabilitation and Day Rehabilitation Department.

At ALYN, the goal is always to increase the child’s mobility and independent living to the best of their abilities and for each child to live with their family in their community.

ALYN Hospital is Israel’s only rehabilitation hospital and a global leader in pediatric rehabilitation. The hospital provides a multidisciplinary, holistic approach to treat children having a wide range of congenital and acquired conditions. ALYN accepts patients regardless of citizenship, religion or ethnicity. Patients consist of Israeli citizens and residents, as well as children from other countries. Every year, over 3,300 children come to ALYN for multidisciplinary, innovative medical and therapeutic care.

You have helped enable Tohar’s success and that of so many more children. You have been a valued partner in advancing ALYN Hospital’s lifechanging work.

Please consider the medical and therapeutic treatments that can allow children to live with their families within the framework of a supportive community to the best of their abilities. Your donation to American Friends of ALYN will improve the lives of children facing physical challenges, both congenital and acquired.

Thank you for your generosity!

On behalf of American Friends of ALYN Hospital, I wish you and your family a healthy and sweet New Year.

L'Shana Tova tikatevu,

Maayan Aviv
Executive Director
American Friends of ALYN

P.S. Please send your most generous donation today, online or send your gift in the enclosed envelope. You can donate monthly to provide vital, ongoing support of ALYN’s work or make a one-time gift.

P.P.S. Learn more about ALYN Hospital’s mission, programs, impact, and clients at alynus.org.

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Please give us a call at (212) 869.8085 or email us at friends@alynus.org