Aely Haccoun immigrated from France to Israel eight years ago. Like most immigrants, she worked hard to learn the language, find a job and an apartment in a good neighborhood and has been happy living in Tel Aviv, the city she now calls home. One of the things that make Aely unique is that after moving to Israel she also chose to become a United Hatzalah volunteer and rushes out to save lives whenever an emergency occurs in her vicinity. Making her even more unique, is that she recently became the first woman in Tel Aviv to drive one of the organization’s iconic ambucycles.

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Aely with her ambucycle. – Photo Credit: Karel Serfaty

Aely, who became the third woman in the country to drive an ambucycle, following in the footsteps of Sophie Donio from Eilat and Sanaa Mahameed from Umm al-Fahm works, as a project manager whose expertise focuses on resource development and cross-organizational partnerships in the non-profit sector. She joined United Hatzalah over a year-and-a-half ago and volunteers as one of 5,000 EMTs, paramedics and doctors who assist anyone in need of emergency medical care for free. In addition to becoming an ambucycle driver, Aely is currently completing a course to become an ambulance driver as well.

When asked why she chose to volunteer as an EMT with United Hatzalah Aely replied: “I’ve known about the organization for some time and I’ve seen their volunteers rushing to emergencies and providing emergency medical help to anyone in need. I was looking to volunteer for an organization that was out of the box. I wanted to help others in a significant and positive way so that I could help make Israel a better place to live. I fell in love with the ideals on which United Hatzalah was founded, which are providing fast and free medical care to anyone who needs it regardless of race, nationality, religion, gender or socio-economic standing. I’ve always loved helping others and there is no better way to do that than by saving a life.”

Two years ago Aely witnessed a CPR in progress which was the catalyst for her to take the leap and enroll in an EMT training course. “I saw a woman collapse and I had no idea what to do. Volunteers from United Hatzalah arrived within minutes and began CPR on the woman. All I could do was stand and watch as they tried for 45 minutes to save the woman’s life. After almost an hour the paramedic in charge of the scene began preparing the woman’s family to receive the news that they were going to stop CPR.

He went up to the woman’s son and told him: “In these cases, only a miracle can save her.” He had just finished the words and the monitor that was attached to the woman began chirping alerting the crew that the woman had regained a pulse. It was at this moment that I knew what I had to do to make Israel and the world a better placeץ  I had to become an EMT and save lives,. I promised myself that I would never again sit on the sidelines and watch without being able to help. The next day I called United Hatzalah and enrolled in a course.”

Aely now goes on approximately 60 emergency calls per month and has merited to save countless people. “It never gets old. The knowledge that you are helping someone else who cannot help themselves and that what you are doing can make the difference between life and death is the greatest sensation that there is.”

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