Israelis, Jews climb Kilimanjaro for charity

Third annual mountain climb adds additional $200,000 for Wolfson Medical Center's operations funded by Save A Child’s Heart.

Alex Waislitz climbs Mount Kilimanjaro 370 (photo credit: Courtesy SACH)
Alex Waislitz climbs Mount Kilimanjaro 370
(photo credit: Courtesy SACH)
Israelis and Jews from abroad climbed to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro last week, to raise money for Save a Child’s Heart, the voluntary organization based at Holon’s Wolfson Medical Center – whose medical staff volunteer to perform life-saving heart surgery on children around the world who suffer from congenital defects.
The founder of the organization, Dr. Ami Cohen, died in a tragic accident 11 years ago while climbing the same mountain – the highest in Africa.
The 2012 Kilimanjaro climb was SACH’s third major annual effort in the campaign to raise a total of $1 million. Some $700,000 were raised last year, and the Melbourne-led international team raised an additional $200,000 this time.
Since its inception in 1995, Wolfson Medical Center has performed heart surgery on 3,000 children from 44 countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia that were brought to Israel by SACH.
Alex Waislitz, who heads an Australian investment company, brought an international team of 15 to Tanzania for the climb. With him was his 14-year-old son Jake, who was the youngest climber in team.
Among the Israelis on the climb were leading Israeli actor Ori Pfeffer and his brother Eran Pfeffer. Also climbing was Dr. Godwin Godfrey from Tanzania, who is finishing his fourth year in SACH’s training program at Wolfson.
Godfrey is training in pediatric heart surgery, and when he returns to Tanzania next year he will be his country’s first pediatric heart surgeon.
The day before the climb the team met Esther, 10, in Arusha, near Kilimanjaro.
Just two years ago, the girl was seriously ill and flew to Israel to undergo heart surgery at the Holon medical center. A grateful Esther and her school friends sang for the visitors and wished them good luck before they began their ascent.