Treadmills hum with patients, former patients, therapists, family, and friends. We hop on and off. Harness and unharness. Cheer and cheer!
It's a 24-hour Step-A-Thon to benefit Magee's Locomotor Training (LT) Program and the Reeve NeuroRecovery Network.
Magee's slogan is BELIEVE. And today, it's impossible not to!
I take to the treadmill at 9:30 a.m, keeping a steady pace of 3.2 m.p.h. Mom and Dad watch from the sidelines.
Ernie is my "buddy" on the LT machine.
And Mark takes over when I need a break.
This year is different from last year's Walk It Out. In fact, I don't even blink when my socket comes loose after 25 minutes! (That's right... I just expect it by now!)
This year, I'm thrilled to be walking, but I'm even more excited to watch my friends!
As I take a seat to pull off my sweaty prosthesis, my friend Matt straps on his harness and hoists himself onto the LT machine. Three PTs surround him: one at his hips and two at his legs. A fourth PT uses a computer to adjust the weight on his harness. The treadmill rolls.
We've been pals for a while, but I've never seen him WALK before!
Usually in the wellness center, Matt rides the stim bike while I walk or row next to him. But this is AMAZING!
Last year, Walk It Out coincidentally marked my 1000th Mile. This year -- though I can hardly believe it -- it paves the home stretch toward Mile 2000.
Walk It Out" still keeps me going. Some days, it simply gets me out of bed. Other days, it takes me farther than I ever thought possible.
And speaking of farther, friends Robert and Binal traveled to Philly just for this event! Last winter, they moved to New York for a study to improve Robert's muscle control and gait. As he climbs onto the treadmill today, I'm bouncing with anticipation!
Last year, Robert walked supported by the LT harness. Today, he will walk on a standard treadmill, 100% on his own. If anyone can make this LEAP, Robert can!
I can barely capture the story of all that happens in this small workout room at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital.
It looks like magic, but we all know the sweat, pain, and tears that have poured into our journeys.
Today, of course, there are only smiles. We're celebrating. WALKING TO VICTORY!
|Go Charmaine and Jeff!|
So after 24 hours (and 1,900 miles) what's left to do?
Check out the video!
Thanks to Charmaine, Binal, Robert, and Magee for the extra photos. Thanks to Dad for the videos. And thanks to everyone for the INSPIRATION and SUPPORT!