Supporting Healing ♦ Teaching ♦ Research
On Sunday, May 2nd, Hadassah International volunteers, friends, and families joined together in a truly global fundraising phenomenon: Young Hadassah International’s World Wide Walk. With a kickoff in Auckland, New Zealand and a finish in Los Angeles, events also took place in Australia, Holland, England, and Mexico, raising nearly $100,000 for the pediatric area of the Hadassah Medical Organization’s new Center for Emergency Medicine.

This third annual global fundraising Walk, organized by Young Hadassah International, was created by Stacey Plax and Vicki Jossel of the United Kingdom. Both these young women were airlifted to Hadassah Medical Organization after being severely injured in a jeep accident in the Israeli desert. In appreciation to HMO for their full recoveries, they organized a “Bridges to Peace” Walk in London the following September 2000. Their enthusiasm was contagious: the event now occurs in 10 countries.

“The spirit of Hadassah International’s supporters shines through in an event of this magnitude,” comments Joslyn Arnon, Hadassah International Associate Director. “So many people in countries throughout the world all working together for the same goal is really quite special.”

Each country added its own flavor. In London, United Kingdom, the 200 participants who walked through beautiful Regents Park met up at the London Zoo, where they enjoyed a special brunch, complete with raffle and other festivities. In Amsterdam, Holland, where 120 people participated, the local organizers, Aaron Konijn and Netanella Triestman, report that there were special treats for the kids, including an air castle, sweets, games, and presents; for adults, there was a feast of falafel and a dance band. As a special surprise, Natalie Bab from Argentina joined the Walk in Amsterdam to gain inspiration for next year’s Walk in Buenos Aires!

In Auckland, despite initial rainy weather, 200 Kiwis turned out to walk the 8 kilometers along the waterfront. Organized by Valda Knight, President, Hadassah New Zealand, and Sheraz Kamp, President, Young Hadassah New Zealand, the day featured a celebratory catered brunch in town. In Melbourne, Australia, the event was officially opened by Sir Zelman Cowen, a former Governor General of Australia and a much loved, well respected national father-figure. Despite chilly (12 degrees Celsius) weather and a blustery wind 200 participants persevered. In contrast, the 60 Los Angeles walkers, including high-school students, braved a heat wave, walking together at the Beverly Glenn-Comstock park in Beverly Hills. “I thought this was a very good way of bringing the new generation to Hadassah,” notes Soraya Nazarian, event organizer. In addition to raising money for HMO, the students earned community service hours.

Built on this exciting start, the spirit of Hadassah International’s global fundraiser will continue with additional Walks in Jerusalem, Israel, Barcelona, Spain and Paris, France.