On June 22, six-time NBA All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire presented a check for $441,318 to United Hatzalah—a nonprofit emergency medical services organization in Israel—as part of the Amar’e Saves campaign. Throughout the 2014-2015 season, Amar’e Saves asked young people to create teams of friends and family, each of whom pledged to make a donation for every point Amar’e scored. While playing for both the New York Knicks and Dallas Mavericks, Amar’e racked up a total of 719 points this season and drew the support of nearly 600 participants to the campaign.
United Hatzalah’s Vice President Michael Littenberg-Brown said, “The money we’ve raised will save countless lives, but the real goal was to encourage young people to become involved in saving lives and forge a deeper connection with Israel.”
United Hazalah Founder and President Eli Beer added that the money raised would supply enough medical equipment and new “ambucycles” to save as many as 4,200 lives. “We are very grateful for the amazing support and generosity of Amar’e and his fans. This will help us tremendously to save lives by being the first to arrive on scene after car accidents, terrorist attacks and other medical emergencies. Our volunteers are very grateful,” he said.
Stoudemire, who is part owner of the professional Israeli basketball team Hapoel Jerusalem—considers himself culturally Jewish and visits the country often. He first learned about United Hatzalah, however, last year through his work with New York financier David Kleinhandler. “It’s kind of a beautiful place to connect yourself with,” Stoudemire told PIX11 News last week, “because of all the history that took place in the land of Israel.”
Stoudemire was most impressed with United Hatzalah for its efforts to decrease response time using a fleet of ambucylces—medically equipped motorcycles—and a cutting-edge, GPS-based mobile dispatch application. “In today’s society, which is so fast, we need to be doing something about saving lives quicker, and United Hatzalah is doing that,” said Stoudemire at the launch of the Amar’e Saves campaign last October. With a network of 2,500 trained volunteers across Israel, the organization routinely responds to emergencies in as few as 90 seconds.
“You’re truly saving lives,” said Stoudemire, “and to do it in a way that’s fun to me, to play basketball, it’s a win-win.”