The story of Muki Baum is one that demonstrates the potential we all can have to make the world a better place. Muki Baum has physical disabilities. He also has the dreams and hopes we all have. He has a very supportive mother, Dr. Nehama Baum, who has never accepted the word handicapped for her son. Together they have brought this message of hope to others with physical disabilities like Muki’s.
The web site of the Muki Baum Treatment Center in Toronto, Canada.
“While in her pregnancy, she was a member of a governmental committee with a mandate to initiate and organize services in the State of Israel for children with Cerebral Palsy. In a twist of fate, in 1959, she gave birth to her own son, Muki, who was born suffering from Cerebral Palsy and deafness. Dr. Baum was able to use her professional expertise to enable her son Muki to learn and develop. She also used her expertise to help other families in similar situations and to mobilize the educational system in Israel to enable it to help such children.
Muki was the first child with Cerebral Palsy to be accepted to a specialized pre-school at the age of only three, rather than the age of five as was the custom at the time. Later, Muki was the first child in Israel with such complex handicaps to be integrated into the public school system.
Realizing that she was Muki’s lifeline and appreciating her own mortality, Nehama Baum felt that she needed to be seeking the stability of a more established, integrative life system for her son. She moved to Canada with Muki in 1976 while her husband stayed in Israel. In Canada, in spite of his physical and sensory handicaps and only after a few years, Muki became completely independent and eventually moved to his own apartment. He became a contributing member of society in his fundraising efforts on behalf of the organization that carried his name.
“In January 2000, Muki’s health deteriorated. He lost all of his body functions and was near death. He was diagnosed with cervical spinal cord injury and had to undergo a very risky and complicated surgery. Following that, Muki endured almost a year of rehabilitation in the hospital. He lost his ability to live independently and had to move back to his parents’ home upon his release.”
“Nehama Baum has had a lifelong belief in the arts as an important tool in the fulfillment of an individual. Her background includes twelve years in the theatre as a child actress, through the Military theatre in the Israeli Army, and in professional commercial theatre. She has a BA in Art History (Hebrew University), and two years of training in clay modeling and sculpture at the Bezalel Academy of Art, Jerusalem. With her son and at MukiBaum she put her beliefs to practise. She encouraged Muki, since his childhood to utilize his artistic talent. He is a clay creator and sculptor and to this day continues to work in an art studio on a weekly basis.”
“True to her commitment, Dr. Baum continues her work, improving the lives of people affected by multiple disabilities. She is an inspiration to countless professionals and parents of people with disabilities in Ontario and around the world. As MukiBaum Treatment Centres continues to grow and change, Dr. Baum is looking into the future full of promise – for the Association she has built and for the hundreds of individuals and their families whose lives were forever changed by her professional skill, knowledge, love and dedication.”