At the annual Shalva Gala Dinner, 2,000,000 NIS was raised to benefit Shalva's many programs for children with disabilities including a new Judo program to be headed by the esteemed Israeli Olympic bronze medalist Ori Sasson. Sasson donated his Rio Olympic Judo Jacket to Shalva which was auctioned at the dinner for $100,000. The Gala Dinner took place at the HaAhuza events hall on Sunday December 18, 2016 and was attended by nearly 1,000 people. Among the guests were dignitaries, celebrities, and top business professionals: Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein, Yaron Kestenbaum, Irina Nevzlin, Shai Talmon, Yehudah Raveh, Udi Savion, Avi Dotan, Haim Taib, Idit Wertheimer.
Kalman Samuels, founder and chairman of Shalva, spoke of the dream to build a world class center to provide quality care children with disabilities and support to their families. He and his wife Malki established Shalva twenty-six years ago as a result of their personal experience raising their son Yossi who was injured during infancy and became blind, deaf, and hyperactive. Through award winning programs and internationally recognized therapy models, Shalva rose to become a leader in the field of disability care, today thousands of children with disabilities and their family members. The Shalva National Center is the largest, most advanced facility of its kind, offering cutting-edge therapy solutions and unique programs.
Ori Sasson presented the jacket to Shalva before an applauding crowd. "A minute before I handed over the jacket, when it was still in my hand, I thought about whether I would miss having it," relayed Sasson in private audience with Shalva's administration. "But then I thought about all the good it would do and realized that it has reached its ultimate purpose."
Ori Sasson is one of many important visitors who have come to Shalva to experience the love, hope, and dignity that has changed Israel's standards of disability care and inclusion. Sasson was very moved by his interaction with the children at Shalva and decided to launch a new judo program at Shalva for children with disabilities. He left Shalva's children with a message: "With perseverance you can accomplish anything."
"Shalva started from the dream to help children with disabilities in Israel, but this dream has generated many new dreams to help more children in more ways," says Avi Samuels, Vice Chairman of Shalva. "Today we do not only dream, we realize dreams."
Shalva, the Israel association for Care and Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities is dedicated to providing quality care for people with disabilities, empowering their families, and promoting inclusion. Non-denominational and free of charge, Shalva's programs provide an all-encompassing range of services for thousands of individuals from infancy to adulthood and their families.