Gali is a fifth-generation Israeli whose family immigrated to the Holy Land from Eastern Europe about a century before the modern state of Israel was established. She grew up with one sister in a very proud Zionist family. After serving in the army, she earned a degree in mechanical engineering.
“I had a beautiful life,” Gali said. “After university I found a great job, and not too long after that I met the man I would eventually marry.” The start of their marriage was a dream. Gali worked in a field she loved, and her husband, an artist, was free to explore his talents. The young couple was extremely happy and were settled into their careers, so they decided to start a family.
Unfortunately, the birth of their son, though a blessing, also ushered in challenges they never anticipated.
“My son Avi was born with cerebral palsy,” Gali explained, “a condition which does not go away and requires around-the-clock care.” The news was a shock to Gali and her now ex-husband, and as the reality settled in, they understood that life would never be the same.
Gali’s company let her keep her job, though she had to drop to part-time hours and was demoted to a position with less responsibilities. At home, her life went from a dream to a nightmare; the beautiful child she loved so dearly was severely handicapped. The pain of seeing him unable to walk, use his hands, bathe himself, and dress himself was unbearable – and drove Gali and her husband apart.
“Avi is handicapped from head to toe,” Gali explained. “As his mother, I have been by his side every day of his life for the past 19 years.” The task of caring for Avi is a fulltime job. He needs hydrotherapy and physical therapy, and he’s had multiple surgeries requiring months of hospitalization. It has not been easy, but Gali is a warrior, and she has not given up on her son.
Gali got remarried, and she and her second husband had twins, who are now 8. Her ex-husband visits Avi often and takes him to his house once a week. But financially, he has not been much help.
“It is extremely expensive to properly care for someone with cerebral palsy,” Gali explained. “I have spent all my savings to help my son, but it was simply not enough. I thank God for the help I receive from The Fellowship, which enables me to give my son a better life.”
The Fellowship’s Kupat Yedidut emergency fund provided Avi with a specialized walker, which has enabled him to stand and even walk around a bit. “The help we received from The Fellowship brought some light to our life during a time of so much darkness. I cannot thank you enough.”
Gali still works part time, and when she’s at work a counselor comes to spend time with Avi. He helps him with schoolwork (Avi is studying for his high-school equivalency exam) and with hydrotherapy. He has counseling sessions with Avi, letting him express his bottled-up emotions. Most of all, he is a friend to Avi, who, outside of his close-knit family, doesn’t have any community.
It’s a long road for Gali and Avi. As a mother, Gali worries about Avi’s future. But the help they receive from The Fellowship gives her hope. “It showed us that there are people who care,” she said, “people we can count on.”