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Oopsie – Crippled Kids Can Walk!

By Shlomo Maital

Oopsie  Oopsie 2

When our children were small, I recall fondly placing their little feet on mine, and walking around with them, while singing or humming  “Teddy Bear’s Picnic” (dum di diddle di dum, di dum..).  

   Yesterday, a short clip on an Israeli news program brought back this memory poignantly. A loving mother, whose child could not walk owing to infantile paralysis, named Debby Elnatan, was determined that her little boy would walk.

   “When he was 2, my son Rotem had doctors tell me that Rotem did not know what his legs were. I began to tie his feet, his hips and his back to my body and legs and we started to walk together. In the end, after some trial and error, I arrived at the product now called Oopsie.   The first time I tried it, he collapsed. But a year later, we could leave our home with it and go out into the street, to play or to shop. This gave Rotem a childhood.”

     Ooopsie is simply a set of sandals for mother or father and for the child, fastened together.   Ultra simple!   Among its many advantages: disabled children get to interact with other children at eye level.

     According to the website Mako, Rotem is now 19 and is too big to use his mother’s invention. But this month, thanks to cooperation with an Irish company, children with paralysis all over the world can enjoy the invention. The Facebook page of the company has already been swamped with messages from thrilled parents, with video clips showing their children “walking” or even “dancing”. Oopsie costs $500, but parents say, this is nothing compared to the radical change it makes in the lives of their children.

If you know someone with a small child who cannot walk, spread the word.   This device is really cool, simple, and in some ways,  life-changing, for parent and child.  And it reflects one of the most inspiring aspects of creativity — refusal to accept the word ‘impossible’.

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 Shawn Leibowitz Retires Undefeated

By Shlomo  Maital

Sean

   Last Thursday 15-year-old Shawn Leibowitz completed a 2 km. race. He got a special medal, awarded in a podium ceremony. Big deal, you say? Marathons are 21 times longer.   For Shawn it was a big deal. Shawn was abandoned as a baby, because he suffered from infantile paralysis. He trained for the race for months. His adopted parents live in a Moshav, Kochav Michael, in the South of Israel.   His friends and coaches applauded him as he waved from the podium.

   Yesterday Shawn passed away. His heart simply stopped. Was there a connection with the race? No one knows. Whatever the case, completing that race made Shawn immensely happy.   It’s a cliché, but – he definitely died happy.

   The race was held in memory of members of Kibbutz Yad Mordecai, on the Gaza border, who died in battle.

   When I jog today I will think of Shawn. For many, running 2 km. is effortless. For a few it is an enormous challenge.   Perhaps someday, Shawn will have a race named after him, with a special effort to enrol those who have a physical handicap.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Blog entries written by Prof. Shlomo Maital

Shlomo Maital
June 2019
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