A terminally ill Manchester teenager started his dream trip to Israel this week.
Ryan Grossman, 14, suffers from the rare debilitating muscular disease rod myopathy, which affects one in 47,000 Ashkenazi Jews. Ryan’s condition has confined him to a wheelchair and the King David High student was unable to join the school’s annual year nine visit to Israel.
But after receiving sponsorship, Ryan flew out to Israel with his mother Michele, 19-year-old sister Chelsea and a close family friend. He was looking forward to meeting up with classmates in Jerusalem. Speaking before their flight from Heathrow, Michele Grossman explained that the school trip would have been “too intense” for Ryan.
“We’re going to go all over the country and to the same places as everyone else, but at our own pace. His friends can’t believe it. They’re so excited to see him.”
The Grossmans, members of Heaton Park Synagogue in north Manchester, will also visit Tiberias, Tel Aviv and Eilat during the three-week trip. Ryan last went on holiday five years ago and was “very excited” about the Israel tour.
El Al provided two of the flight tickets on a complimentary basis and Ryan’s mother thanked the airline for its support. “They had two representatives meeting us at Heathrow, they’ve helped with our luggage allowance and put us up in the VIP lounge.”