It all started a year and a half ago a few days before Assaf’s Bar Mitzva. He was playing with friends in Alonei Habashan in the Golan where he lives. When he tried retrieving a ball from an electric transformer room, he was electrocuted and fell down. He had the strength and wisdom to shout to his friends to seek assistance.
His father came with paramedics to find something awful happened. “Assaf was lying on the floor his fingers no longer on his hands but there was no blood because the electrocution cauterized the wounds. When the paramedics were attending to Assaf I told him, no matter what, I’m always going to be there for you.” Assaf's father said.
The Goal, To fulfill the Dream
Assaf’s father said: “the truth is that it was a miracle Assaf was alive altogether! No one knows how his heart survived the shock and kept on beating! He also fell 4 and a half meters (15 feet!) without other injuries. There was a very large transformer in the room which could have fried Assaf to death had he slightest touched but it miraculously, Assaf didn’t touch it.
Assaf was whisked to the hospital where he then underwent 10 operations. In the ICU his main memory was when he awoke and there was a meeting with the surgeons and his parents where he learned there wasn’t anything left to do for his hands besides amputation. Assaf explained: “I asked the doctor if there would be a replacement for my hands and he answered, “Yes, it will be something good.” Assaf repeats with a smile.
“That “something good” turned out to be bionic hands which were being developed abroad. With Bionic hands Assaf could move the entire hand and all of his fingers so that’s what he wanted very much.” Assaf’s father explained. We started to discuss if this was a relevant option for Assaf and the doctors confirmed our suspicions that the hands exist but they are not covered by insurance in the “medical basket of Israel”.
Assaf’s parents decided immediately that there will be no obstacle that will prevent Assaf from realizing his dream. They started a fundraising project to make it happen. They flew overseas even though they weren’t fully funded for the procedure. The main thing was to fulfill Assaf’s dream and even get it done before the school year started. Last month they came back, still hundreds of thousands of Shekel in Debt bbut Assaf got his new pair of hands! The parents are hoping to continue their campaign and raise the balance.
With much emotion, Assaf’s father explained to Ynet that with his new hands, Assaf is even able to tie his shoes, eat and type on the computer! Assaf brings good tidings to Israel, the message of medical progress in the realm of hand rehabilitation in Israel.
No giving up on optimism
The most inspiring part of Assaf’s story was his parent’s unwavering optimism. Assaf’s father explains that it was clear to them from the very first moment that as parents they had to be strong for Assaf.
“When people came to visit Assaf after the accident, they sat around as if they were in a house of mourning. I couldn’t handle that!” Assaf’s father said. “What happened, somebody died? I told my wife “this is a crazy situation so we’re going to act like crazy people! Let’s decide that this is the best thing that ever happened to all of us! The truth is that since then, we were able to find the good in this because we became closer, more united and more giving. We also believe that the sky is the limit for Assaf! Assaf also caught this optimism from us, with a lot of humor too! He knows that there’s no dream he can’t fulfill!”
Assaf’s father adds that the main point in publicizing his story was to give Assaf a record of his challenges and how he met them. The purpose is also to send a message of inspiration to others in our country that are wounded, ill or even healthy people dealing with challenges.
After the story became public we received a lot of feedback and even until now we continue to hear how Assaf gave them strength. After a video was aired a woman called saying that she prepared her suicide farewell note two days before but after she saw the video about Assaf she tore up the letter because Assaf gave her strength to go on.