Rami Yulzari
Photo: Mazi Solomon Yulzari
Daniel Goldblatt
Photo: Keren Goldblatt

Running for posttraumatic stress

Rami Yulzari, who suffered from posttraumatic stress for decades, runs in Tiberias Marathon to raise awareness for therapy that saved his life. But he isn't the only one to run for social cause

Some 2,000 runners participated recently in the 34th International Tiberias Marathon, braving 42 km (26 miles) of sweat and effort with a spiritual high at their end. This year, two competitors stood out from the rest: Rami Yulzari and Daniel Goldblatt, both of whom ran for causes more significant than just reaching the finish line.


Decades after his military service during the first Lebanon War, Yulzari suffered from posttraumatic stress disorder. Anxiety, depression, flashbacks and nightmares were facts of life for him until Exposure Therapy finally brought him back to normal life, or as he put it "turned the experience in Lebanon into just another experience. An annoying, life-changing, monumental experience, but just an experience."


About a year ago, at a record weight of 120 kg (265 pounds), Yulzari decided to turn his life around, and began jogging for the first time. But what started as a personal goal to lose weight quickly turned into a social cause: Yulzari realized that he has an opportunity to raise awareness for the successful therapy he received, thus helping others who suffer from posttraumatic stress. This is when the Tiberias Marathon came into the picture.


With help from close friends and uncompromising support from his wife, Mazi, he initiated the project "Running with Rami." His small team consisted of seven amateur runners who participated in the event in order to aid Yulzari in his goal. Yulzari asked those who wanted to contribute to 'buy' 10 meters in the race in order to help posttraumatic stress victims finish their own marathon – the battle with the disorder.


Though this was their first marathon, the entire team managed to reach the finish line with a smile on their faces and the hope that this was just the beginning. They now plan, in addition to participating in the following races, to start a running team that will promote posttraumatic stress therapy.


Raising funds for mentally disabled

Daniel Goldblatt ran for an important cause as well. Only 19, he already has an impressive record of working towards social change. Together with another volunteer, Orat Elior, Goldblatt started "The Good Guys" in 2009, a project that brought together mentally disabled individuals 18 and older with teenage volunteers to socialize. The group, which is supported by Akim, a foundation that supports the mentally disabled, and the local authorities, also distributed food to the needy.


Goldblatt currently volunteers at an orphanage in the southern Israeli city of Kiryat Gat, as part of a year of National Service that he is completing before enlisting in the army. He participated in the marathon – his first – in order to raise fund for "The Good Guys," which continues to operate with a new round of volunteers. Goldblatt asked supporters to donate one shekel for each kilometer he ran – that is NIS 42 ($12) each. He finished the race with a time of four hours and six minutes - motivated by the power of the cause.



פרסום ראשון: 01.21.11, 00:37
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