Alisa, a 9-year-old girl, received a yellow belt in Judo rankings from Israeli Olympic medalist Ori Sasson on Sunday at the Shalva National Center’s sold-out gala event at the Hevel Modiin Cultural Hall in Airport City.
Alisa has Prader Willi Syndrome, a rare genetic multisystem disorder that is characterized by diminished muscle tone. However, this disability does not stop Alisa from participating in judo training programs for disabled children. The program, established by Sasson himself, uses judo to develop motor and behavioral abilities and helps many disabled children and adults weekly.
The gala event, which was to benefit rehabilitative care for disabled children, was attended by over 750 people in-person and over 1,000 virtually, including prominent businesspeople and corporate individuals in the finance, transport and gas industries.
“This is one of those moments that reminds of why I do what I do; how judo has built me and how it builds them and what an honor it is to be part of the Shalva organization’s amazing work," Sasson said after giving Alisa her yellow belt.
Shalva founder and president Kalman Samuels said that "this partnership allows us to provide the best care to thousands of individuals with disabilities and their families."
The event also presented the Shalva Band, accompanied by the Ra'anana Symphonette Orchestra as well as some of Israel's most famous vocalists such as Shiri Maimon and Amir Dadon.
Furthermore, last September, the band collaborated with the World Health Organization (WHO) to advocate for disability rights and inclusion in Europe.