Jewish Music superstar Yaakov Shwekey is himself a show-stopper, but in his latest benefit concert for United Hatzalah at the Jerusalem Theater, he stopped the show in honor of someone else -- seven-year-old Raphael Assoulin.
Assoulin is battling cancer for the second time in his young life: triumphing over brain cancer a few years ago, he now faces cancer in his leg, for which he will receive a bone-marrow transplant on Thursday.
Raphael’s father, Moshe Assoulin, is no stranger to life and death situations. As one of the most veteran medics at emergency response organization United Hatzalah, Moshe has been going on emergency calls on his ambucycle – the two-wheeled vehicle fitted with all the emergency gear of an ambulance - for years, saving lives as a daily routine.
Three donors who heard of Moshe’s dedication and his son’s illness donated a new ambucycle for the merit of Raphael’s recovery. A fourth donor surprised father and son during Shwekey’s concert with an electric “mini” ambucycle - specially fitted for Raphael’s small size.
The donor promised to “graduate” the young boy to a real ambucycle when, at age 21 - following in his father’s footsteps - he fulfills his dream by training to become a medic.
There was barely a dry eye in the full house when Shwekey presented Raphael with his new mini ambucycle. Some in the audience who’ve battled cancer themselves became so emotional they had to leave the auditorium.
“People are the soul and the strength of this organization,” said Eli Beer, Founder and President of United Hatzalah. “We are grateful for every one of our volunteers, for helping people at their most terrible times, and saving lives. Soon Raphael will be healed, be’ezrat hashem, and will grow up to be a great medic, like his father.”
“I can’t fully express my emotions at this gesture, because thank you just doesn’t seem enough,” said Moshe Assoulin. “I pray for the day when my son and I ride our two real ambucycles together.”
On Wednesday, Moshe Assoulin used the new ambucycle dedicated to his son as he assisted in the evacuation of people who were injured in the terrorist attack in Jerusalem.
“After treating the injured in the attack I had mixed feelings of deep sorrow accompanied by satisfaction,” Assoulin wrote on Facebook, adding, Sorrow over this tragic incident...satisfaction that I got to add more rights to the ambucycle donated for my son Raphael.”