Olympic medalist Ori Sasson and Yehuda Yitzhak Hayisraeli, a soldier who was critically wounded during the Protective Edge campaign in 2014 will be leading a group of disabled runners from the Shalva association at the Jerusalem marathon this Friday.
Yehuda Yitzhak Hayisraeli (25), a combat soldier in the Rimon unit of Givati, is married to Rivka and is the father of two children. In 2014, Yehuda Yitzhak HaYisraeli was enrolled in an elite officer’s training course. Exempted from the fighting, he nevertheless begged his commanders to be allowed to serve his country on the front line. After completing the training course, his request was granted, and Yehuda Yitzhak joined his comrades fighting in southern Gaza as part of Operation Protective Edge.
During the fight in Rafiah, he was critically wounded, suffering a near-fatal wound to the head. Shrapnel penetrated his skull, entering his brain, leaving him unconscious for an extended period and rendering him unable to speak.His second child, a son, was born while he lay unconscious in Soroka Hospital and the baby's brit milah was held there, with his bed moved to be near it, although he did not respond.
After many months of unconsciousness, Hayisraeli began to establish contact with his family, who never lost their belief that their son would wake up and recover.
At the present Hayisraeli is in the middle of a rehabilitation process. He is undergoing hydrotherapy treatments at the Shalva center, where he was exposed to the organization's activities with thousands of special needs children.
Ori Sasson volunteers frequently with the association and is in the process of establishing a judo school for disabled children at the National Shalva Center together with his brother Alon. Ori recently sold his judo suit in which he won his Olympic medal for 100,000 dollars which he will use for the children of Shalva.
1000 Shalva participants will take part in different heats of the Jerusalem Marathon, including Shalva children, volunteers, soldiers and about 400 youths and groups of people from abroad who will raise over a million dollars for the association's activities.