wheelchair 298 88.
(photo credit: Alyn Hospital)
Nearly 500 Israelis and foreigners will roar off on their bicycles on Sunday for a five-day trip from Jerusalem to Eilat to raise money for the capital's Alyn Hospital Pediatric and Adolescent and Rehabilitation Center. Called "Wheels of Love," the bike trip will follow three different routes starting on Mount Scopus.
The hardiest bikers will ride over 620 kilometers of challenging roads, while another route is 420 kilometers and a third 450 kilometers long. It will be the seventh time that the event - the largest international charity sports event in the world - is being held. After a modest beginning, it will now have 475 riders from 10 countries - the US, Canada, England, France, Sweden, Italy, Holland, Australia, Brazil and Israel.
Each participant commits himself to raise at least $2,000 from sponsors among family, friends and colleagues. Last year, 324 bikers raised $1.9 million for Alyn, but this time, the hospital hopes the proceeds will reach $2.5m. The money will be used to rehabilitate children and young people who are victims of terror, road accidents, burns, congenital defects or cancer.
The youngest rider is 15 and the oldest 81. Some of the participants themselves have struggled against disease or disability. One is a New York doctor who was seriously wounded in the World Trade Center terror explosion and has since recovered and dedicated his life to Israeli society. Another is a multiple sclerosis patient who rides every day despite physical disability. Eight are Alyn patients riding on special bikes. Every rider will have the photo of an Alyn patient attached to the handlebars of his bike and a prayer for his or her safety during the five-day ordeal.
Among the companies and organizations that are patrons of the event are Champion Motors (importer of Skoda vehicles), Teva Pharmaceuticals, Israel Chemicals, Yellow, the Azrieli Group, Harel, Ma'ayan Meron, Hadera Ambulances and Shahal.