London’s ‘Walking Warriors’ Shield ALEH’s Residents from COVID-19
In June, Rabbi Mendel Kalmenson, Rabbi of Beit Baruch and Director of Chabad of Belgravia, arranged an inspiring Zoom lecture for his congregants with Israeli war hero and disability inclusion icon Major General (Res.) Doron Almog about ALEH Negev-Nahalat Eran, the ALEH network’s residential and rehabilitative village in Israel’s south, of which he is the Chairman.
After hearing about how ALEH Negev provides unparalleled love and specialized care for hundreds of individuals with severe disabilities and complex medical issues, Londoner Sharna Kinsley was so inspired that she jumped into action to recruit friends and create a two-day walk-a-thon to help raise awareness and funds for ALEH Negev. Kinsley chose to focus on supplying ALEH’s professional staff with personal protective equipment (PPE), which will help continue to shield the immunocompromised ALEH residents from COVID-19.
“During the presentation, we saw photos of the ALEH children, and while their physical disabilities were clear, every one of them was smiling big bright smiles – whether with their mouths or with their eyes – and you could see how ALEH had positively impacted them and were helping them live happy, dignified and meaningful lives,” said Kinsley. “When I heard that ALEH needed help to keep these precious souls safe from COVID-19, I knew that I had to do my part, and I decided to put my best foot forward, literally.”
From Sunday, July 12, through Monday, July 13, Kinsley covered a total of 36 miles and raised nearly GBP 2,000 for ALEH Negev from family and friends across the UK. On Sunday, for a stretch of 10 miles, Kinsley was joined by a group of friends, who were also inspired by ALEH’s commitment to finding the abilities within every disability. These ‘Walking Warriors’ included Jules Katz, Deborah Markham, Laureen Levy, Susan Berman, Jenny Hoppen, Jonatha Hoffman and Martin Kirsch.
While Sunday’s circular route began and ended at Chelsea Bridge, the final leg on Monday concluded in front of the Israeli Embassy in London, Kinsley’s symbolic way of showing support for Israel even during the most trying times. To Kinsley’s surprise, Liron Rosiner Reshef, the Director of the British Friends of ALEH, had arranged for Acting Israeli Ambassador Sharon Bar-li to be waiting outside the Embassy to congratulate Kinsley on assisting Israel’s most vulnerable citizens.
“We are so grateful to Sharna for turning inspiration into action and pounding the payment for two straight days to keep our ALEH residents safe, secure and smiling,” said Rosiner Reshef. “During these confusing times, it is so heartwarming to see people go above and beyond to help our professional staff in their lifesaving mission, to reach out from afar to show their love for our ALEH family. These acts of extreme kindness help us stay upbeat and focused, and provide our amazing kids with everything they need to not just survive but thrive.”
ALEH Negev-Nahalat Eran, ALEH’s residential and rehabilitative village in Israel’s south, provides a continuum of loving care from infancy and childhood through adulthood, ensuring that its residents with multiple disabilities and complex medical issues receive the high-level medical and rehabilitative care and educational, vocational and social opportunities they need to reach their fullest potentials.