Earlier today, the Israel Paralympic Committee shared the news that 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award winner Uzi Perla (עוזי פרלה) died after an illness. He was given the award for his work with people with disabilities in Haifa and the whole country. The funeral is scheduled for tomorrow at the Zichron Yaacov Cemetery.
Perla ran the Israel Sports Center for the Disabled (מרכז הספורט לנכים) in Kiryat Haim since it was created over 30 years ago, only resigning last year because of declining health. The organization was founded in 1961 by Ramat Gan by ILAN (איגוד ישראלי למען נפגעי שיתוק ילדים) activist Betty Dubiner. A first of its kind facility created for people recovering from polio, Perla played a key role during the 1980s expanding the organization’s reach to serve victims of terrorist attacks, IDF service members injured during their service, victims of motor vehicle accidents and other people with disabilities, amputees, people with vision impairments, and people with cerebral palsy. He was very interested in swimming, and supporting Israeli swimmers with disabilities. He was part of the Israeli delegation at the 2013 IPC Swimming World Championships in Montreal.
The Haifa local was also responsible the construction of an ILAN center in the city, making the center a major hub in the life of children, teens and adults with disabilities. He was also involved with pushing through the construction of the House of Mary. Perla was also involved with March of Dimes efforts in Israel.
Despite health issues and having resigned from the Israel Sports Center for the Disabled, he spent the last year of his life advocating for and being involved with disability sport in Israel. He initially became involved in disability sport because his daughter had a disability.