j'lem marathon, at jaffa gate_370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
It has been nearly five years since Racheli Wolfson lost her 15-year-old
daughter, Rikki, in a freak accident near her London home, but only on Friday,
when she plans to run the Tel Aviv marathon, will the 55- year-old finally find
“I am thrilled to be here,” the trained homeopath, who arrived in
Israel earlier this week, told The Jerusalem Post Wednesday. “Of course I wish
the circumstances were different but I am still thrilled to be able to do
In addition to running in the 10 km. portion of Friday’s race, the
London-based Wolfson, who spends significant amounts of time in Israel, will be
raising funds for the Parents Circle Family Forum, a charity that provides
support and programs for bereaved Israeli and Palestinian families
“It is all very, very personal and not just because of my
connection to Rikki but also because I feel connected to the charity too,”
stated Wolfson, who has already raised close to NIS 30,000 via her
Justgiving.com online fundraising page.
Wolfson was in Israel five years
ago when her daughter died. Rikki had been climbing a very large tree
near her family’s North London home, when, according to the coroner’s report,
she stepped on a fragile branch and fell tragically to her death.
asked me afterwards why she was still climbing trees at the age of 15 but she
was very bright and very physical, it was a unique combination,” said Wolfson,
who has four other children.
Since the tragedy, Wolfson has been looking
for a way to come to terms with her loss and deal with her grief by supporting
an activity or a charity in Rikki’s name.
“I wanted to do something in
her memory but I could not find anything,” she explained, adding, however, that
last October she decided to try her hand at running and not long afterwards
attended a talk at her local synagogue with representatives from the Parents
“I went to hear them speak and shortly afterwards I received an
email about the marathon and it just all came together; I will run in the
marathon and raise money for the family forum, all in Rikki’s name,” said
While she recognizes that losing her daughter might not be
exactly the same as Israelis and Palestinians who have lost loved ones due to
the ongoing conflict in the region, Wolfson maintains that “at the same time,
the loss and the repercussions are the same.”
In London, explained
Wolfson, there is little support from other bereaved parents because it is
uncommon for families to lose a child, but thanks to the Parents Circle and its
members, she has found kindred spirits that sadly share her sorrow.
know my daughter died in an accident and it is quite different, but the upshot
is that what you go through emotionally is exactly the same,” she said, adding
that the charity’s work in bringing Israeli and Palestinian families together
for reconciliation offers added meaning.
“It is a wonderful opportunity
to support this and I know it is something that my daughter would have supported
too,” said Wolfson.
Robi Damelin, public relations officer for the
Parents Circle and herself a bereaved mother, said that Wolfson’s efforts were
an “incredible gesture and I am happy she has found a way to express her
“We do not take it for granted that people who do not live in
Israel will identify with what we are doing,” she said, adding that funds raised
by Wolfson this week would go towards the charity’s educational projects for
Israeli and Palestinian children.