3DPO was familiar with the old English proverb “April showers bring May flowers”, but on Saturday, April 22, 2017 he would have preferred sunny skies and a reasonable temperature for outdoor exercise. The participants of the 2nd Annual Amputee Awareness 5K Walk, Wheel, or Run gathered that morning would probably have agreed with him! Held by Adventist Healthcare, rain or shine, the free event was designed to raise awareness about amputees “one step at a time!” Everyone gathered at Thomas S. Wootton High School in Rockville, MD for the 11AM start where participants were going to tackle the track. One loop around a track is a quarter of a mile, so a 5K (3.1 miles) would take 12 laps!
3DPO hitched a ride with Dankmeyer clinical staff members Nina Bondre, Rob Tyler, and Kelsey Kasten. They got to the event about an hour before the 5K was scheduled to start to set up a display table. They brought a couple of demonstration prostheses and green and white Gatorade in a show of Dankmeyer color spirit!
After the setup, 3DPO spent some time making new friends and introducing his therapy-dog-in-training, Digit, to everyone. This was Digit’s first public appearance and he seemed to feel right at home, because there were many other dogs accompanying their owner participants. For fun, 3DPO and Digit lined up before the start and took a few test laps to get warmed up to man the display table.
Dr. Andrew Rubin, one of Mark Hopkin’s and Rob’s patients, was there to participate. He was anxious to use his new prosthesis on the track. The prosthesis had just been delivered earlier in the week, and Dr. Rubin requested an adjustment to the alignment of his prosthesis. Between 3DPO’s three practitioner companions, all the tools needed were at hand, and Rob fixed Dr. Rubin up in no time. During the alignment process, 3DPO was able to get a good a good view from the top of the table of the transtibial (below knee) prosthesis, with an Ottobock Challenger foot. He asked Dr. Rubin what was special about the particular foot on his prosthesis, and Dr. Rubin explained that the foot is designed for people who do higher level activities, such as running, as it provides good energy return and shock absorption. Dr. Rubin revealed that he is a recent amputee - having had his surgery in September. He was excited to return to jogging after a twelve-year absence.
Further conversation revealed that Dr. Rubin is a regular attendee of the Amputee Walking School, and was going to put to good use some of the training and education he took away from those sessions. 3DPO excitedly told him that the next AWS in June would be held at Dankmeyer and that registration was already open! (For registration information, visit our Amputee Walking School page by clicking here.) Dr. Rubin assured 3DPO that he had already registered for the event and that they would see each other again in a few months.
Digit was also very happy to spend some time getting acquainted with Dr. Rubin’s dog Luca, a Goldendoodle. Luca was still a puppy, but a famous one! Luca had his picture on the Dankmeyer Facebook page back in January after coming to an appointment with Dr. Rubin. 3DPO hoped that Luca would visit the office again so that Digit and Luca could have a play date, now that they were friends.
At 11AM, it was time for the participants to begin walking/running/wheeling. Many participants had amputations, and friends and family members joined them on the track. A few people acted as wheelchair pushers, switching off every few laps to keep their participant moving around the track. Many different groups and organizations were handing out water, Gatorade, bagels, bananas, and cupcakes. People ran, jogged, walked, or wheeled around that track 12 times! While it did rain the entire time, everyone kept their spirits up and completed the race. In addition to the 5K, fundraisers such as a 50/50 raffle were held, and winners were announced at the end of the 5K. Proceeds were donated to the Amputee Patient Assistance Fund.
Rob, Nina, Kelsey, 3DPO and Digit enjoyed supporting all the participants and made sure to pose for pictures with Dr. Rubin. After a fun filled day, it was time to pack up and head home and dry off. And time for some tired puppies to take a nap.