SIX years ago, Ziv Shilon’s life was rocked to the core.
Critically wounded in his last operational mission at the Gaza border, Shilon, then an IDF captain, was urgently flown to Soroka Medical Centre in Beersheba. He lost his left hand, suffered a severe injury in his other hand, and underwent 14 surgeries and intensive rehabilitation during an arduous journey to recovery.
“In one second, my life turned,” Shilon told The AJN from Israel in advance of his visit to Australia for UIA’s Young Leadership Event on Thursday, March 7. “After 11 months in hospital, I learned to do everything from the beginning; starting from dressing myself, taking showers, driving my own car and writing again … There were lots of ups and downs,” he said.
Shilon not only re-learnt the tasks necessary for daily functioning, but with steadfast commitment and willpower, conquered immense physical challenges.
In 2015, Shilon completed the Berlin Marathon, followed by two subsequent marathons, and a few months ago, he competed in Arizona Ironman.
“I started to have my own success that was not related to my disability. I majored in law at university, and after two years in school, I started to do things for Israeli society … When I was a commander in the IDF I had a huge responsibility – I commanded over 130 combat soldiers, [but] after two months in a hospital bed, I understood that I was only doing things for myself,” remarked Shilon.
Powerfully describing the path to healing as “conquering Mount Everest”, Shilon’s passion to shape the lives of others was another motivating factor propelling him forward.
“In the moment I started to influence other people and society, I understood that this is what I want to do with my life – to foster the development of young people and develop special academic programs for wounded soldiers like me,” he commented.
“I was [working towards recovery] not just for myself, but for the people in Israel – they gave me the strength to [keep going].”
By sharing his inspiring story, Shilon now instils that strength of conviction in others.
In 2014, at the end of an emotional speech delivered to the Friends of the IDF annual conference in Miami, Shilon proposed to his girlfriend, Adi. The following year, in a moving turn of events that saw new life emerge in place of great tragedy, the couple celebrated the birth of their daughter at the same hospital where Shilon was treated immediately after the attack.
The event is from 6.30-9.30pm.
Venue: Contact (02) 9361 4273 for details
Tickets: $45 with dinner and drinks