"When I fly remote-controlled model airplanes, I feel alive...” In recent days, members of the Department of Internal Medicine D at Rambam Health Care Campus were seen wearing masks with this quote, emblazoned in blue and white.
This is a simple story of love—a young man’s love of flying, a father’s love for his son, and a love of nurses and doctors for their fellow human beings.
"About a week ago, a patient came to our department. It wasn’t something complicated – she was hospitalized for two days due to allergies and was then released. We talked to her and her husband and got to know them a bit,” shares Sharon Krauss, Deputy Head Nurse in the Department of Internal Medicine D. “The couple wore these masks and explained that it was a commemorative project for their son, who was killed while performing his military service. Every year, they host a large event in their son’s memory. This year, the event was cancelled because of COVID-19, but they decided to distribute these masks. Their story touched me deeply and I asked for some masks. The following day, I received a whole box,” says Krauss. “Since then, many of our staff members wear the masks. I think it is a beautiful gesture.”
Eleven years ago, on July 26, 2010, an Israeli Air Force helicopter crashed as part of a training flight in Romania. The entire crew – four pilots, two airborne mechanics, and a Romanian officer – were killed. Among those who lost their lives was Lt. Nir Lakrif, a 25-year-old resident of Kiryat Ata, who left behind his young wife, then in the last months of her pregnancy.
Since that terrible day, Nir’s father, Yuval, has made commemoration of his son’s memory his life's mission. Whether through volunteering, collaboration with philanthropic associations, lectures, or large events, Nir and all he symbolized are at the heart of Yuval’s activities.
In recent years, Yuval has taken his son's love for pilots and flying and transformed it into an impressive annual rally, with the participation of thousands of people. But this year, because of the pandemic, the event could not be held. Yuval explains, "Nir is always in my heart, in my thoughts, and in everything I do. He motivates me to do positive things that change our perception of life. I have been distributing these masks everywhere I go, even to the hospital where my wife received such dedicated care. The masks and their inscription cause people to question, to wonder, to talk about Nir, and to understand that there are things more significant than what happens here and now.”
The staff in the Department of Internal Medicine D at Rambam treats thousands of patients every year and while all are important, not everyone leaves a long-lasting impression. However, the Lakrif family and their late son Nir hold a special place in their hearts, and will be remembered for a long time.