Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A sports rehab park for children and youth will be constructed at the Meir Hospital in the city of Kfar Saba thanks to a donation from friends of KKL-JNF in Canada. The cornerstone for the new park was laid at a ceremony attended by executive officers of the hospital, KKL-JNF representatives, donor Marilyn Libin and members of the October 2014 National Canadian Mission now visiting Israel. The impressive park, which is already under construction, will include sports fields, exercise equipment, a race track, a promenade, lawns and gardens.

“Physical exercise is a fundamental component in the development of children and youth,” said Prof. Dan Nemet, Deputy Director of Pediatrics at the Meir Medical Center. He said that although physical exercise can help in dealing with many illnesses, the subject is hardly studied in medical schools. In addition, the park will provide medical researchers an opportunity to study the effect of physical exercise on the children’s healing process.

Marilyn Libin, honoree at the Negev Dinner this year in Calgary, said that when she was asked to choose a project to be undertaken with the funds raised at the gala event, she reviewed more than a hundred different proposals. The hospital park stood out among all of them because of the connection between medicine and sports. “I’m sure the park will contribute to the health of the children, especially children with handicaps and chronic illnesses,” said Libin.

“Thanks to the park, children will discover what they are able to do in spite of the challenges they have to face.”

The cornerstone ceremony was led by KKL-JNF Chief of Protocol, Andy Michelson. Zeev Kedem, Director of the KKL-JNF Resource Development Division, said to Libin and to all others present that “this is not only a contribution for a park, but also a contribution for people and for children.”

Hannah-Laura Taylor, from KKL-JNF Canadian Desk, conveyed greetings from KKL-JNF Chairman Efi Stenzler to the donors and to the Canadian Mission. “The sports park will contribute to physical exercise, to mental health and to the peaceful atmosphere of everyone at the hospital, and this is an important part of the medical treatment,” she said. On behalf of the KKL-JNF chairman, she also thanked Libin and Friends of KKL-JNF in Calgary, Canada, whose contribution is making the development of this special park possible.

Dr. Eytan Wirtheim, CEO of the Meir Medical Center, expressed his hope to Libin that “the project would be a realization of her love for Israel and for people, the aspiration to make our country green and, above all, it will promote the children’s health.”

The patients in the Pediatrics Department were represented at the ceremony by Yinon Barak, a former patient, who told the audience that he had been hospitalized six years ago, when he was fifteen and weighed 170 kilos, and was unable to walk. The treatment he received reduced his weight by 70 kilos, and he is now serving in the IDF. “When I was treated here, we exercised in the sand,” recalled Barak. “It makes me happy to know that there will soon be such a wonderful facility here.”

After the greetings were concluded, the representatives went outdoors to sign the covenant and bury it at the cornerstone of the project. Where bulldozers are now busy working, it is expected that in about a year there will be a beautiful park for the benefit of everyone who comes to the hospital, especially the children and youth treated at the Meir Medical Center.

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Courtesy of Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael