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Teaneck Man Organizes Race to Aid Israeli EMS Group

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A Teaneck man is organizing a race Sunday in New York to help save lives in Israel.

The money raised by the fourth annual 5K “Race to Save Lives” will go toward United Hatzalah.

The Israeli emergency response organization is made up more than 2,000 volunteers and boasts response times of less than three minutes using ambucycles—medically equipped motorcycles—and GPS technology. Teaneck native Aharon Watson, 22, and friend Alex Goldberg first learned about the group during a gap year in Israel in 2011.

They were looking for an organization for which they could raise money and wanted their funds to go as far as possible. A friend of Goldberg’s introduced them to United Hatzalah.

“We were blown away and the thing that swayed us was the return on investment,” Watson said.

They organized the first two races in Israel, raising $250,000 and $300,000 respectively. Last year, the race moved to New York and raised $1 million.

Watson hopes to surpass that this year.

The race is being held on Roosevelt Island. Watson said the course was easy enough for any beginner to run.

For those who don’t, there will be a carnival for children and an outdoor barbecue.

Each runner raises $360 for United Hatzalah, which makes a “huge difference,” Watson said. The funds will go toward the purchase of 62 ambucycles and life-saving equipment to help bring response times even lower.

Eli Beer, who founded United Hatzalah in 2006 in Israel, visited the Bergen County EMS Training Center in March.

Every donation increases the likelihood that a volunteer is close at hand during an emergency, Galila Schapiro, a member of the board organizing the race and a part-time employee with United Hatzalah, said. Schapiro, an alumna of the Frisch School in Paramus, said she and 30 to 40 students and alumni are running in the race.

For more information, visit the race website here.

(Source: NJ.COM)

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