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ALYN's Heels of Love

February 16-18, 2021: Take a Hike, Change a Life

DAYSHOURSMINUTESSECS
February 16, 2021
0% raised of $120,000

ALYN's Heels of Love 2021: Park Timna

The 2021 Heels of Love Hike will take place around the magnificent region of Park Timna, about 30 minutes north of Eilat. 

Many have called Timna Israel’s most beautiful national park. It is a sprawling nature preserve in the desert with awe-inspiring rock formations and unique geological monuments that have been formed over thousands of years. The mountains that ring the park make for extraordinary hiking opportunities. In fact, the Israel National Trail cuts through a broad expanse of the area. We will begin the hike in the Eilat mountains and conclude with the final day of both hiking routes in Timna. 

Contact us to find out more. 

Details

Heels of Love has two options. The 3-day hike is challenging. We cover around 16 kilometers/day with many steep ascents and descents.  There are often “ladders” — steel bars set in the rocks that we climb up or down along the trail. You should be in reasonably good shape for the 3-day hike.

The 2-day hike is more moderate for those who prefer shorter distances with less climbing. There are still hills but the grade is more gradual and the path less technical.

Our staff and guide are there to assist you. If someone is having difficulty, we will escort them out of the mountains and have our jeep pick them up as close as possible. We care deeply about safety and want everyone to have an amazing time.

After a long day’s hiking, nothing is more welcoming to the eyes than a beautiful campsite that has already been set up by our staff. Every hiker gets his or her own tent and mattress (couples can share of course.) Tents are set up around a campfire, surrounded by comfortable futons where we can sit back and relax and share adventure stories of the day’s hike.

Our hot dinners are delicious and accompanied by your choice of beverages. As we sit around the campfire, our special guests will inspire you with their stories of the miracles that happen at ALYN every day. 


The Desert at Night

The Winter is the perfect time of year for hiking in the desert. The daytime temperatures are usually around 18-25 degrees. It does get very cold at night, with temperatures moving toward the freezing point. We strongly recommend that you bring a sleeping bag designed for colder weather.

Our campsites have toilets and a place for washing hands/face and brushing teeth. We will have hot showers at the conclusion of the hike on Thursday.

With over 20 years experience guiding groups, Assaf Priel will once again be our guide for the three-day hike. Assaf spends at least 50 days/year in the Negev and has led groups from all over the world, including the US, Canada, and the UK.

He is an expert in the region, including the geo-history, flaura, and fauna of the paths we will be taking.


Elad Bar Ilan

Elad Bar Ilan, the leader of our two-day hike, is the founder of “Time Travel Israel”, an Israeli adventure touring company which allows individuals and organizations to experience Israel in a unique way.

His main goal is sharing the passion that he has towards the country and strengthen the connection between the Jewish people to Israel.

 

3-Day Hike: We will have a bus leave from a central location in Jerusalem in the early morning to the start of the hike north of Eilat. We are designing the route to be about 5-6 hours, around 15-18 kilometers per day. We will have a hot breakfast and hot dinner every day and sandwiches, fruit, nuts and other fun camp things for lunch.

2-Day Hike: We start on Wednesday, February 17. While our routes will be separate than the ones taken by the three day hikers, we will join together on Wednesday night at the campsite.  

On Thursday, we will finish the hike together in Park Timna. We will have a wonderful farewell dinner together before going back to Jerusalem.

Each participant will receive:

  • 3 deluxe trekking dry-fit shirts (2 for those who chose the 2-day hike)
  • Headlamps
  • One pair hiking socks
  • Sun block
  • Transportation to Eilat from Jerusalem and back
  • Hot food for breakfast and dinner at the campsites. Lunch will be sandwiches, fruit, and snacks. All meals are certified kosher.
  • Tents and all camp needs. Camping mattress/ground cover. We will set up the tents (one per hiker) each night together.  Hikers must bring warm sleeping bags.
  • Showers and special dinner at conclusion of hike. 
  • We will be accompanied each day by a professional guide, paramedic, and ALYN staff

 

 

Essentials

  • Comfortable hiking shoes — not sneakers, running shoes, or sandals! This is one of the two most important things. Your whole hiking experience will be affected by your shoes. You will be walking around 15 km/day in your shoes, that’s 45 kilometers for the three day hikers!
  • WARM sleeping bag. While the days should be pleasant, it can be very cold in the Negev at night. Bring a sleeping bag rated to keep you warm down to freezing temperature. You do not have to carry the sleeping bag on the hike, you should put it in your duffel bag. (See below).

Day Pack: (A medium backpack that you will carry with you on the hike):

We will give you food and bottles of water. You may prefer to have a hydration bag within your pack that you fill up from the bottles and sip while walking.

  • Hat against the sun
  • Sunscreen
  • Toilet Paper (We will provide and you should put it in your pack)
  • Small Plastic Bag (for garbage, damp clothing, etc)
  • Pocket Knife (optional)
  • Light jacket against wind or rain
  • Band-aides, anti-chafing cream (we will have a paramedic, but it is useful to be have these on hand)
  • Personal Snacks (If there is a trail mix you just can’t live without!)
  • Alpine walking sticks (optional — If you use them on hikes)
  • Phone/Camera (We will have electricity to charge at the campsites)
  • Sunglasses
  • Ear Plugs. Some people snore and noises carry in the desert.
  • Lip balm. Lips can get sunburned from the dry heat and wind if not protected.

Duffel Bag (Duffel Bags are much more convenient than suitcases for the hike. It is better that you put everything you will need for the campsites in the bag, including your sleeping bag). These bags will be waiting for us at the campsites.)

  • Walking clothes for each day on the trail. We will be providing hiking shirts, but you should bring shorts/pants, extra T-shirts. If it is cold, you will want a base layer to go under the hiking shirt. 
  • Warm clothes for the evenings/sitting around the fire. (Warm jacket, hat, coat, socks, etc)
  • Comfortable footwear for after the hike
  • Blanket
  • Plastic bag for laundry
  • Swimsuit
  • Personal Toiletries (We will have access to showers only on Thursday at the La Playa Hotel)
  • Personal medicines
  • Extra batteries for flashlight, charger for phone, etc.

 

 

 

The cost of participation is a nominal registration fee and a minimum fundraising requirement or donation of $3,000 for the ALYN’s Children’s Hospital ($2,000 if you would like the 2 day option.)   All contributions are tax deductible in Israeli, American, Canadian, and UK currency.

Registration fees are as follows:

  • Pre-registration — Pay $100 now and complete the balance by August 16 for a 10% discount ($360 total)
  • Regular: $400 — Register by November 30, 2020
  • Late: $450 — Register by January 30, 2021
  • No registration after February 1.
  • BRING A FRIEND!  If you bring a friend who has not particpated in Heel of Love, you will recieve another 10% discount.

Minimum Fundraising for ALYN: $3,000 for 3 day hikers and $2,000 for 2 day hikers. (Couple discounts $5,000 combined for 3 days, $3,500 for 2 days)

We ask that everyone raise the minimum required amount by February 10 (one week before the hike.) We will keep your pages open for another week so you can raise even more by telling your friends how amazing it was! We will ask you to commit to covering any fundraising gaps before the hike starts. 

Besides online donations, the American and Canadian Friends of ALYN office can accept US and Canadian checks and bank transfers and issue American tax receipts. To get in touch with them , email Maayan. We will post all these donations to your page and add the amounts to your totals.

The more you know about ALYN, the easier you will be able to raise donations. Read more about ALYN.

 

Participant Accounts of the 2020 Hike

From Hiking the Holyland:

Summer camp – there’s something about being plunged into a bunkhouse in a forest with a bunch of little strangers that touches you forever.

At camp, you’re united by a common purpose (that’s what camp songs are for).  You challenge yourself physically and make new friends.  And it all happens against the backdrop of nature, which helps you access something deep within your soul.

This past week, I hiked for 3 days in the desert with Heels of Love: a fundraising hike for Alyn Children’s Rehabilitation Hospital in Israel.  The depth of the experience took me completely by surprise. 

Alyn Heels of Love
More than expected.

I had expected a good hike, a physical challenge, and the satisfaction of raising money for an important cause.  But I hadn’t expected such a meaningful experience.

 

Read the full post

Our experiences on the ALYN Heels of Love Hike 2020.  I went with my daughter Shira who is a bat sherut at ALYN this year.

2 am to Jerusalem
So the big day is here! Shira and I are up and ready for a taxi to meet the group bus from Jerusalem.

 4 am to the Eilat Mountains
A 4-hour ride, with one stop on the way, to the starting point of our hike.  Forecast is for some rain around midday, so the guides have modified the hiking routes of the groups accordingly.

8 am Breakfast at the side of the road
The logistics company is waiting with a fresh breakfast – scrambled eggs, coffee, tea, bread and rolls, fruit, cut vegetables, various spreads.  From the same spread we make sandwiches and take some snacks for the day.

Everyone takes a couple of bottles of water, some fill them into their hydration packs, organizes their day packs and leaves their duffels with the logistics team to meet us at the campsite tonight.

We are on our way!

 

Comments


The Routes

“Well within my comfort zone, especially with the EXCELLENT guiding by Asaf — he understood what each of us were capable of but let us make our own decisions, based on his VERY ACCURATE assessments, particularly on Day2 and the ascent to Har Shlomo. I was pleased with my decision (I did not do the ascent) and grateful for the guidance and assistance!”

“Challenging but great!! wouldn’t have wanted it any other way!”

“I thought the routes were spectacular and a just right combination of technically challenging and more ‘relaxed’ with the breaks well spaced and timed.”

Our Guides & Staff:

“Asaf was terrific in keeping the group engaged and entertained and was very knowledgeable in both the specifics of the routes themselves and information of the history and nature.”

“Elad was outstanding! He had interesting information to share, was able to help us through the difficult stretches. I have recommended him to several friends who are looking for hiking experiences in Israel.”

“Much enjoyed the insightful and honest presentations of the staff and sharing of stories, allowed group to feel more cohesive.”

“Tal and Yarden- cannot day enough about them. The trio of Asaf, Tal and Yarden were exceptional. I came home, bum knee notwithstanding, feeling like I had the opportunity to meet and get to know exceptional human beings. I will always treasure that experience.” 

General Comments

“The hike is wonderful. The cause is wonderful. I feel very safe & well taken care of. I would love to go every year.”

“I was really impressed with the catering service – great meals and nice presentation.”

“I returned home with the feeling that I had pushed myself to the physical limit, built up my soul and spirit, and contributed to a worthy cause.  What better way could there be to spend three days of my life?”

Hiking routes

Hikers have 2 options: A challenging 3-day hike as well as a more moderate 2-day course. Detailed maps will be available closer to the time of the hike.

The 3-day hike is designed for those who enjoy a serious challange. Hikers will cover about 14 km/day with many steep climbs and technical passages. Hikers should be in good physical shape before the hike.

While not easy, the two-day hike is more moderate than the three-day option. Hikers will cover about 10km/day. The region of Park Timna and the Negev is hilly and there will be several steep climbs lasting around an hour or even an hour and a half. However, we will take it slow and have frequent breaks so we can spend more time listening to the explanation of the guides. The two-day hike has one night of desert camping. 

Your ALYN Fundraising Tool Kit

We know that for many of you, the thought of asking friends for money to fundraise for the hike is uncomfortable and might be uncharted territory. Don’t worry – fundraising is much easier and more rewarding than you might expect, especially when you are raising money for such an incredible cause. ALYN Hospital is such a unique and special place, that once you share with others about the hospital and the children receiving rehabilitation there, people will be willing to support you.

How do we know? We have nearly 20 years of experience and thousands of particpants who have successfully raised money for ALYN as proof.


Remember, the people who will sponsor you will do so because of your relationship with them. They are YOUR friends and YOUR family! They trust what you have to say. The more personal you can make the request, the better.

Start by personalizing your fundraising page. Send us a picture of yourself and a few sentences about why you are hiking (90 words or less.) It does not have to be long, what’s more important is that it comes from you. If you want to write a lot more — great! Write your story in an email that you send with your link. Let us know if you need any help.

Once you have your page set up the way you like it, send the link with an email to your contacts. You can post it on Facebook or other social media. Again, the more personal you can make the request, the more likely you are to receive a favorable response. We have a sample letter you can use (below). Make sure to tweak it and make it personal, so that the people you are asking know it is a genuine ask from you. Then follow these four steps:

  1. Aim high. Set an ambitious fundraising goal for yourself. The minimum you need to raise is either $2,000 or $3,000, but we hope you will aim for more. If you can hike through the mountains of Eilat, you can certainly go the extra mile for the children of ALYN. 
  2. Make a personal donation. Lead by example. To convince others to make a contribution, it helps to show that you are equally committed to the cause. Your registration fee helps pay for the hike logistics; donations are sent directly to the hospital.
  3. Ask friends and family. It’s easiest to start with those closest to you. Once you convey your excitement about participating in Heels of Love and they learn about ALYN, they will be happy to support you. Suggest an amount with which they would be comfortable.
  4. Expand your asking circle. If you think beyond closest family and friends, there are endless possibilities: neighbors, work colleagues and business associates, acquaintances from school, college, synagogue/church, the health club and your hiking club. If you work for a company with a matching gifts program, you may be able to multiply the effect of your gift. A basic rule of fundraising is that the main reason people give is because they have been asked by someone they know and trust. That someone is you!

Dear Friends,

I’m very excited to share with you that this February I will be participating in the Heels of Love charity hiking event, benefiting the children of ALYN Hospital. I will be hiking approximately 10 miles a day/6 miles a day through the mountains of Eilat and camping in the desert in the evenings.

ALYN is the only facility of its kind in Israel and is one of the world’s leading specialists in the active and intensive rehabilitation of children with congenital and acquired physical disabilities. ALYN changes lives and transforms disabilities into abilities. You can learn more about ALYN at www.alyn.org.

This year’s fundraising goal for Heels of Love is to raise $100,000, to bridge the shortfall gap between reimbursements and the actual costs of the high-level services provided to the children. My personal fundraising goal is $XXXX. Thank you, in advance, for being as generous as you can be.

There are two easy ways to donate:

1. Donate online with a credit card at (INSERT YOUR FUNDRAISING LINK)

2. You can also send a check to:

US Dollar Donations:

American Friends of ALYN Hospital
122 E. 42nd Street, Suite 1519
New York, NY  10168

The American Friends of ALYN is a qualifying 501(c)(3) organization, and your contribution is tax deductible in the US. If you work for a company with a matching gifts program, you may be able to multiply the effect of your gift.

Israeli Shekels

ALYN Special Projects
84 Shmaryahu Levin Street, P.O.B. 9117
Jerusalem 91090 ISRAEL

Friends of ALYN Hospital has a contribution certificate from the tax authorities according to section #46 of the Income Tax regulation. Donations are tax deductible under Israeli law.

If you live elsewhere, please email the office at ALYN for options to donate in other currencies.

Thank you!

In 3 minutes, get an introduction about what makes ALYN — and the children it treats — so special. 

The work that ALYN does is inspiring. The more you can relate to your friends and family about the impact ALYN has on children, the more effective your fundraising will be.

Here are three stories that demonstrate how important ALYN has been to so many families:


Roi: Coping with Cancer

Roi is 9 ½ years old from Jerusalem, the second of four children. He likes to play games like Legos, marbles, chess, checkers and to draw. He is an excellent student and particularly good at math.

Roi was diagnosed in January 2017 with brain cancer and came to ALYN Hospital after beginning his treatment. From the Channel 2 news broadcast: Roi started his treatment at ALYN Hospital as an inpatient in our Rehabilitation Department and is now a patient in the Day Hospitalization Department, coming for intensive therapeutic treatments four days a week. After the removal of the cancerous growth from the back of his head, he experienced serious developmental decline and didn’t talk or move for a long time.

Roi now is still too weak to walk alone or without the assistance of a walker, and uses a wheelchair for longer distances. At ALYN Hospital, Roi benefits from hydrotherapy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and emotional support therapies such as music & art therapy.

Since Roi has been missing regular school for many months, he also learns in our Learning Center so that he can keep up with his studies. “Hebrew and math are important to me” he says in the interview. His mother Gina says, “It wasn’t obvious that he would have his . . . anything. We had no idea what he would gain back, what he wouldn’t gain back. He loves math, so for me that’s amazing.” Later in the interview she says, “Every stage that he reaches, it’s simply a miracle.”

At the end of the interview, Roi says about his treatment at ALYN Hospital, “It helps me be myself and it helps me return to who I was before the surgery. A regular kid.”

 
Yusef's miraculous journey to rehabilitation

This article is a summary translation to English by ALYN Hospital staff of extracts of the original article, which was written by Dana Ben Shimon. Photo credit: Yoav Dodkevich.  

“It was a rainy and stormy evening, Yusef fell down an elevator shaft in the dark, like in a movie,” recalls his father, Kazem. “A neighbor said that there was a child from the Jardat family who fell in a lift,” says the father. “I went down quickly and realised that it was Yusef.

The doctors told me that they couldn’t believe that he was alive after what happened.” Yusef was taken by ambulance to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital, with a large fracture that split his face in two. At Hadassah, they performed the unbelievable – they were able to put his skull back together during a complicated operation. He was later transferred to ALYN Hospital for rehabilitation, with his family accompanying him throughout the process.

“When Yusef came to ALYN Hospital, he was not able to get up,” says his father. “Twice a day he underwent physiotherapy. He also received emotional care and a lot of encouragement from the staff. 

Yusef underwent rehabilitation treatment, during which he got back on his feet and began walking again. “We had to teach him how to walk again because he had a very complicated leg fracture. He also had difficulty speaking because of the fracture in his jaw and we helped him with that as well, in physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and he was helped to eat independently”, explains Yusef’s accompanying physician in the rehabilitation department of ALYN Hospital. “His head injury was significant, but he was lucky that there was no brain damage. He also had fractures in his skull, and it’s very rare for someone who has experienced such an event to recover relatively quickly.

Recently, as the rehabilitation process progressed and his condition improved, Yusef began to go to the school that was established inside ALYN Hospital and learned Hebrew and English there. 

Of course we’re happy,” says the father. “In recent months I have barely left Yusef’s side, I have been with him all along, and his situation has improved slowly, but now he will be able to return to his family. Lately, he was able to come home on weekends, but now he will finally be able to sleep at home every day. This is the biggest relief.”

Aviel's Victory Run

This article has been summarized and translated to English by ALYN Hospital staff. The original article, written by Lior El Hai, appeared in Yediot Ahronoth on 13 March 2019. Photo credit: Alex Kolomoisky.

Tomorrow, three years after Aviel Avrahamoff’s leg was nearly amputated due to an accident, he will participate in the Jerusalem 5-K Run. The accident happened in Haifa during a fun day which he spent with his family when he was six years old. A driver who accidentally accelerated instead of braking, slid into a field near the road where Aviel was walking with his family and hit him.

Aviel was seriously injured. He was transferred to Rambam Medical Center and was rushed into the operating room. “The doctor told me that the situation was complicated, and it could be possible that in the middle of the operation he would ask me to sign an agreement to amputate Aviel’s entire leg. It was shocking to me that Aviel could return home with only one leg,” recalls Aviel’s mother, Vered.

Fortunately, the operation was successful. From that point on, Aviel began a long and difficult rehabilitation process at ALYN Hospital, in his home town of Jerusalem, which is a facility designed for rehabilitation especially for children and youth.

In the beginning, Aviel couldn’t even stand on the injured leg and found it difficult to move it. Thanks to the intensive and devoted care of the team, slowly but surely he made progress. He was eventually able to stand on both legs and even joined the running group of hospitalized children.

Nurit Stern, a senior physiotherapist at ALYN Hospital, said: “We are not satisfied with the fact that the children will only learn to walk again, therefore we are instilling in them the value of sport, training and overcoming difficulties.” At the end of the rehabilitation period, Aviel returned home, but continued to train with the running team.

Update: Aviel completed the Jerusalem 5-K last year!

Why Hike for ALYN?

DAYSHOURSMINUTESSECS
February 16, 2021
0% raised of $120,000
DAYSHOURSMINUTESSECS
February 16, 2021
0% raised of $120,000
ALYN's Heels of Love