NJ cyclists will raise funds for Israeli pediatric rehabilitation hospital
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NJ cyclists will raise funds for Israeli pediatric rehabilitation hospital

Dr. Larry Stiefel, left, and Michelle and Jonathan Lupkin (Photos Courtesy Alyn)
Dr. Larry Stiefel, left, and Michelle and Jonathan Lupkin (Photos Courtesy Alyn)

Dozens of supporters of Alyn Hospital, an Israeli pediatric rehabilitation hospital, will gather along the eastern shore of Maryland this month for Wheels of Love, a three-day, 130-mile charity bike ride. The October 24 to 26 ride will raise funds for the care of children with a wide range of physical disabilities, both acquired and congenital. Local participants include Michelle and Jonathan Lupkin and Dr. Larry Stiefel of Teaneck, and Sam Alexander of Springfield.

Alyn is Israel’s only pediatric and adolescent rehabilitation facility; it provides the innovative care and treatment needed to enhance the quality of life for the children treated at the hospital.

The ride has become has become an activity Michelle and Jonathan Lupkin can do together while giving back to a cause they’re both passionate about. It’s Jonathan seventh ride and Michelle’s third. They are part of the Grumpy Roadsters, a New York-based bicycling team that has part of Wheels for Love since 2014. This year, Jonathan’s law firm, Lupkin PLLC, is one of the ride’s corporate sponsors. “We feel strongly about the event and the life-changing work that ALYN hospital does, regardless of ethnicity or religion,” he said. “Even though the pandemic has prevented us from riding in Israel the past two years, or commitment to supporting this special institution remains unwavering.”

Larry Stiefel of Teaneck, a pediatrician from Tenafly Pediatrics, is riding in his sixth Wheels of Love. “As a pediatrician, I can really appreciate the amazing work ALYN Hospital does for its patients,” Dr. Stiefel said. “I’ve been very impressed with the hospital, and I am proud to support Alyn.”

Dr. Stiefel has many connections to Alyn. Two of his children volunteered at Alyn Hospital, and his sister, Monica Gorodetzer, worked as an occupational therapist there. “I’ve made many friends over the years from participating in the ride,” Dr. Stiefel said. “I feel like I am part of the Alyn family.”

Last year, the pandemic forced the ride to go virtual; in May, a single-day ride in Morristown raised more than $130,000. This year is the first time that American riders can participate in a multiday ride in the United States. Israeli cyclists also will participate in the 22nd annual Wheels of Love ride, this year set for in Southern Israel. It will begin on October 24.

“Wheels of Love is the hospital’s largest fundraising event of the year, supporting the thousands of children with disabilities who rely on the innovative and personalized treatment Alyn Hospital provides,” Maayan Aviv, American Friends of Alyn Hospital’s executive director, said.

Online registration is open now. The $500 registration fee covers accommodations at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Resort for the three-day ride, as well as lunches, a dinner reception, and more. Registered cyclists pledge to raise $2,500 each. Sponsorship and underwriting opportunities are available as well.

To ensure participants’ safety, covid-19 precautions will be in place throughout the event. All riders must submit proof of vaccination. A virtual ride, #MyALYNRide, is available for people who are committed to supporting ALYN Hospital but unable to travel to Maryland. For more information, go to alynus.org.

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