“People told me I shouted ‘Mom, I’m burning’. This wasn’t true — it just felt that way as the bomb blast had left me with a critical head and brain injury.”
Dudi Saidof, a 24-year-old, was serving in the Border Police. This special Police Force unit guards Israel’s borders from terrorists and infiltrators, protecting all the citizens of Israel.
On August 11, 2003, Dudi was in a patrol jeep with two others in a Jerusalem neighborhood when they got word that a terrorist was trying to infiltrate through the Kalandia check point. They were ordered to immediately assist and set up a road block. Israel’s secret service had the country on high alert!
At the check point, Dudi noticed a baby carriage and suspected that something was wrong.
As he approached it, the terrorist set off the bomb remotely from his cell phone and unfortunately Dudi suffered the consequences …
“People told me I shouted ‘Mom, I’m burning’. This wasn’t true — it just felt that way as the bomb blast had left me with a critical head and brain injury. I was rushed to hospital, where I remained unconscious and on life support for three weeks. They declared me dead three times.
“I was once a strong, healthy man. Now I am 100% disabled: the entire left side of my body is paralyzed, my speech is not what it used to be, my vision is impaired and I don’t hear well either. My short term memory has been affected and I suffered from epileptic seizures for eight years.
“My rehabilitation is a daily struggle: taking a shower, wearing Velcro shoes, using only one hand in simple things like getting dressed, folding clothes and putting the brace on my leg.
“I realize that this injury is a battle without any protective gear. ‘Have faith in yourself, fight and you’ll win’ is my motto and inspiration. It is at Beit Halochem where I understand that winning can be a reality.
“At Beit Halochem in Tel Aviv, I work out in the fitness room, swim in the Olympic-size heated pool, hand-bike cycle (using only 1 arm) and receive hydrotherapy treatments. Recently, I joined the wall climbing club and took the rappelling course.
“I spend a lot of time at the Young Veterans’ Club, going to their parties and events. Most of the participants are disabled veterans, wounded in the Second Lebanon War and from Gaza’s Operation Cast Lead. I’m one of the oldest, so it gives me an opportunity to share my story and try to cheer them up.
“Beit Halochem not only gives me the physical rehabilitation that I so desperately need, but it is a very special place where I can socialize with others who know and feel what I do. You never feel inferior there; we are all in this together. Beit Halochem has given me my life back. Today I have three homes: mine, my parents’ and Beit Halochem in Tel Aviv.
“After my injury I was decorated by the President of the State of Israel who congratulated me and asked if I had any regrets. I replied that I would do everything over again exactly the same way.”