Gann Runners Turn Out for Jerusalem Marathon To Support Alum’s Nonprofit

April 7, 2017
Gann alum Meital Galler has watched her younger brother Elan struggle with a rare form of epilepsy that limits almost every aspect of his life. So several years ago, she and her older brother founded a nonprofit that promotes epilepsy awareness and education, while also supporting young people with the disease and their families.

On March 17, a team of 175 runners, including Meital and three family members, ran the Jerusalem Marathon, raising $125,000 for the nonprofit, Hope Time Cure Epilepsy Foundation. Eleven of those runners were Gann alums. Meital organized the team from Jerusalem, because she’s spending a gap year studying there, before starting Barnard in September.

“I think the fact that 11 Gann people ran shows how supportive Gann community members are of each other,” says Meital, who graduated last year. It was the nonprofit’s fourth Jerusalem Marathon fundraiser and team members also ran in memory of Ezra Schwartz, a close Galler family friend who was killed in a terrorist attack in Israel in 2015.

Meital said that racing through the streets of Jerusalem is an experience like no other. “You feel the support and love from all of the spectators,” says Meital. “Last year, I had slowed down on a hill and I suddenly felt someone touching my back gently, saying in Hebrew ‘don’t stop.’ It was an incredible experience.”

Hope Time Cure began as a modest community service project for Meital’s bat mitzvah. Over the years, it has gathered a strong community of supporters and raised more than $100,000 a year through the Jerusalem Marathon. The race also allows participants to run a 5K, 10K or half-marathon.

Meital said that while Elan was the inspiration for her nonprofit, it was the tools that Gann gave her that enabled it to flourish. “I’m not a natural public speaker and I’ve never been confortable asking people for money and support,” says Meital. “But at Gann I gained a lot of confidence and learned how to express myself and share my opinions. My Gann teachers were excellent role models.”

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