Shay-Lee’s light shines

Shay-Lee suffered an injury after a traffic accident back in 2016. Since then, she has lived at Reuth Rehabilitation hospital for a year and has been rehabilitating at the day center since. Here is her story:

“That’s me on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival in France. It feels like a rosy dream. I didn’t think I would make it to Cannes this year. After recurring postponements due to the pandemic, I wouldn’t even allow myself to hope… Walking on the red carpet with my cane and a funny limp, I wondered whether it was all just a dream. Only four years ago I was in a wheelchair, in rehabilitation, thinking only how to cheer myself up: ‘Today you went to the bathroom! Good girl! Today you walked 50 meters! Good girl!’ That’s what they taught me at Reuth:  Hurdle by hurdle. One step at a time. Congratulate yourself on small achievements.

In May 2016 I was injured in a traffic accident in Tel Aviv. An open fracture in my leg. Surgery. And then starting my life again at this place with the red emblem – Reuth.  For more than a year I lived my life at Reuth, learning how to find my way and rehabilitate myself.

I learned how to walk again. How to congratulate myself on small achievements. How to remember. All through excruciatingly hard work, guided by a professional team like no other.

I learned that anyone can one day find himself in rehabilitation, and that I can’t control everything that happens. I still live with a disability. My therapists at Reuth always told me that my self-worth has nothing to do with my disability. In my difficult moments it was hard for me to understand what they meant, but the fact that someone took the trouble to say these words to me in my dark times made me believe in processes, and today it helps me accept and embrace my place in the world, despite its limitations. 

Today I am a student, putting my heart and soul into Film & TV studies at Tel Aviv University. I converted my rehabilitation experience into my first film – “Neurim” (Adolescence in Hebrew), which I made as a student. In the film I play a disabled girl in a wheelchair who falls in love with her physiotherapist (sidenote: I am happily married). 

I couldn’t believe it when I got a favorable response from Cannes, that my film had been chosen to compete in the Festival’s Young Creatives category. I did not return from Cannes with an award, but just being a candidate was a great accomplishment for me.

I am grateful to Reuth’s  Rehabilitation department, which was my home in the year following my accident, to the team at Day Rehabilitation that continued to treat me afterwards, to every person I met in the elevator or on the 5th story roof or in the dining room, who made me smile.

I may not have recovered completely, but looking at the list of goals we made at that time, I believe that quite a few can be marked as ‘achieved’ – wouldn’t you agree? At least some of the actual stories turned into a film…

Love, Shay-Lee