They come from big cities and small villages across Israel and fly in to Jerusalem from all over the US, Canada, South America and the UK. A colorful cadre of runners and walkers in all shapes, sizes and ages descend on to the capital in March to take part in what many feel is an unforgettable experience.
The International Jerusalem Winner’s Marathon, celebrating nine years on March 15, has become a modern-day pilgrimage for more than just competitive athletes. Running through 3,000 years of history, crossing over hallowed grounds, jogging through winding cobblestone pathways, and walking through neighborhoods where the ancient and modern diverge and converge is life changing. Sharing this experience with thousands of fellow runners and Israel supporters is potentially transformative.
Leora Ashman, an Efrat resident, is coordinating Team #KoachEitan to raise awareness for both stroke and aphasia, and to fundraise for the Adler Aphasia Center, Hadassah Academic College in Jerusalem. Team KoachEitan, with more than 90 runners this year, was founded after Ashman’s husband, Eitan, had a left-sided ischemic stroke in the summer of 2017 that left him with significant physical limitations and aphasia. Eitan receives weekly treatments at the Adler Aphasia Center, and after years of fund-raising in the marathon for both Shalva and ALS, they decided to turn the spotlight on to stroke prevention and aphasia awareness.
“Everyone who runs needs to make a donation to The Adler Aphasia Center, but there’s no minimum requirement because that becomes a stress for a lot of people,” said Leora Ashman. “Our main goal for this team is really to raise awareness about stroke and aphasia. Before my husband’s stroke, I had no idea about stroke or aphasia. It’s so important to know what a stroke is, how to prevent it, what aphasia is and how to speak to and include people who suffer with aphasia.”
To read the complete article about the different teams that will be in the marathon, click here.
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