Though unseasonably cold weather and torrential downpours brought a very different vibe to the 11th annual Jerusalem Marathon on Friday, March 25, the devoted staff, volunteers and supporters of ADI (adi-israel.org), Israel’s most comprehensive provider of residential and rehabilitative care for individuals with severe disabilities, braved the freezing rain and muddy Jerusalem streets to raise awareness for ADI and spotlight the importance of disability inclusion, equity and access.
With ADI’s residents sidelined due to the inclement weather, the 70 intrepid members of the “ADI Fleet” running team kicked it into high gear to make their presence known on the 5K, 10K, half marathon and marathon tracks, all while raising $17,000 to empower the ADI residents by providing them with the tools, treatments and therapies they need to take strides towards greater mobility.
“While it was disappointing that our ADI residents couldn’t show off their abilities at the ‘Communities Track’ as per usual, it was inspiring to see our ADI Fleet runners step up to represent the entire ADI family with such poise, passion and excitement,” said Elie Klein, ADI’s North American Director of Development.
“What they achieved during this rainy marathon is the perfect metaphor for disability inclusion advocacy: the road is long, it’s always an uphill battle and the social climate is never ideal. But teams of dynamic and determined distance runners can bring us a little closer to the finish line every time they step out onto the track with a sense of responsibility and a spirit of destiny. We are so impressed by their tenacity and so grateful for their partnership and support.”
The impressive ADI Fleet running team included ADI staff members and volunteers, parents and siblings of ADI residents and special education students, and young women and men on gap year programs, including students from Tiferet, Yeshivat Torat Shraga, Yeshivat Lev HaTorah, Yeshivat Har Etzion, Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh, Midreshet Rachel V’Chaya, and the Jean Schottenstein Oryah Institute. Having developed a deep connection with the ADI residents and special education students, these fleet-footed ambassadors happily pounded the puddled pavement, calling it one of the highlights of their year.
“I am inspired by every member of the ADI family, and I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to run for this incredible organization in the Jerusalem Marathon,” said Shaindel Lieblich, a New York native spending her gap year at the Jean Schottenstein Oryah Institute. “It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I’m so glad that I was able to run as a part of the ADI team!”
ADI cares for and empowers hundreds of Israel’s most vulnerable citizens – children, adolescents and adults with severe disabilities – to advance well beyond their initial prognoses and live happy, dignified, and meaningful lives. ADI also provides cutting edge therapeutic and recovery services to individuals needing inpatient and outpatient care following an accident or health event, and is laying the groundwork for the establishment of fully inclusive communities across Israel.