Challenge Athlete

Written by: Hanger Clinic team

At Hanger Clinic, we are proud to be a national sponsor of the Aspen Medical Products San Diego Triathlon Challenge (SDTC) and to be a presenting sponsor of the Kaiser Permanente Thrive 5K Fitness Walk on Oct. 22, 2017. Our clinicians, patients, physicians, and supporters are so excited to participate in the weekend events.

This is the 15th year for us to participate and offer sponsorship and support to the athletes and the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF). To date, the Hanger Charitable Foundation has donated $115,000 to help CAF further its mission. But it’s really about the hands-on commitment from so many of our volunteer clinicians and employees that makes this weekend so special for us.

As in previous years, we will have a tent at the CAF Expo Village where Hanger Clinic team members will be at the ready to support participants and answer questions. The latest prosthetic technology will be on display, and clinicians will be on hand to provide repairs or adjustments to athletes’ prostheses, if needed.

Thanks to the feature film, “Dolphin Tale,” many people know the story of Winter, the dolphin who lost her tail due to an injury. Kevin Carroll, MS, CP, FAAOP(D), Hanger Clinic VP of Prosthetics, will talk about the journey of helping Winter and will have a prototype of the tail at the Hanger Clinic tent, where he’ll also sign copies of the “Dolphin Tale” books.

Nick_RWe’re especially proud to be the presenting sponsor of the Kaiser Permanente Thrive 5K Fitness Walk, coordinated by one of our Hanger Clinic team member’s Nick Roumonada with special guests, Clayton and Ezra Frech, speaking on behalf of Hanger Clinic at the beginning of the 5K Walk.

“The 5K is a great opportunity to connect with more of our patients who are not able to participate in the triathlon,” Nick said. “Some people may have only been wearing their prosthesis for a short time and a three-mile walk can be daunting, but when they do it, it empowers them to realize, ‘I can do this; I’ll be fine.’”

CAF is especially meaningful to Nick, a cyclist, because he received a grant from the organization which helped him become physically active. “That changed my life and it’s why I’m so glad for the involvement by Hanger Clinic. I knew what it did for me, and I know what it will do for our patients.”

Nick, who became an amputee as a child, will also be on hand in a special event for parents whose children have a physical challenge. Fun activities are planned for the kiddos while the parents can hear presentations and ask questions of panelists. Nick will also be cycling as a member of one of our six Hanger Clinic teams on the triathlon course.

Yvonne_swim photoOne of our athletes, Yvonne Llanes, is another remarkable example of what can be accomplished when someone feels empowered. Yvonne used a wheelchair for nearly 10 years. She describes it as the worst time of her life. She didn’t know how to overcome her depression until her community care coordinator (and relay team partner) Mona Patel, encouraged her to attend our Bilateral Above-Knee Bootcamp.

Yvonne says boot camp changed her life. “I saw people just like me up and walking. They weren’t using chairs or canes or crutches. They were just living their life in a normal fashion, and I wanted to be just like them. So that’s when I took it upon myself to get up and go, and I haven’t looked back since.”

Yvonne took up swimming earlier this year as part of her therapy and fell in love with the sport. She swims nearly every day and is excited to be part of the Hanger Clinic team during the CAF Tri weekend. “It’s going to be the first time for all of us on my team so we are not out to make it a race; we’re just out to complete and show people anything is possible,” Yvonne said. “Whether you came in first or came in last, it’s important that you went out there and you tried your best!”

Coordinating our overall participation is Hanger Clinic team member Jill Drawbridge. It is Jill’s 24th year at the event, and she has never lost her enthusiasm for it.

“It is a fabulous event from a feel-good standpoint. It reminds us all why we do what we do!” Jill said. “It is also the single largest prosthetic sporting event where more than 200 physically challenged athletes participate. Many call this event ‘life changing’. I personally invite patients and physicians that I feel can benefit from being involved in this event. Sometimes people are hesitant, but once they get involved they tend to do it every year.”

Stop by to say hello at our Hanger Clinic tent at the CAF Expo Village and at the Kaiser Permanente Thrive 5K Fitness Walk. We welcome your company and look forward to seeing you there!