City of Kentwood and Hanger Clinic’s Third Annual Limb Loss Awareness 5K Set for Saturday, April 24
In recognition of Limb Loss and Limb Difference Awareness Month, the City of Kentwood again is partnering with Hanger Clinic, a local prosthetic and orthotic patient care provider, to host the third annual Limb Loss Awareness 5K on Saturday, April 24.
The all-ages and all-abilities event will take place at Bowen Station Park, 4499 Bowen Blvd. SE. It will continue to raise funds for Kentwood’s adaptive recreation programs, which provide empowering opportunities for people with various disabilities to take part in athletic activities in an adapted way to allow for a safe and fun experience.
The route for the clock-timed race will include sections of the East-West and Paul Henry-Thornapple trails, and a boardwalk. Participants will see woodlands and wetlands along the route, featuring lots of wildlife and budding trees in the springtime. COVID-19 precautionary measures will be in place, including staggered start times beginning at 10 a.m., required face coverings at packet pickup and physical distancing. Packet pickup and start times will be shared with registrants closer to the event date.
Online registration is available at runsignup.com. Registration is $35 through April 23. Race day registration is $40. Participants will receive a T-shirt and goodie bag.
The event also will include a 1-mile fun run for children ages 12 and younger at 11 a.m. along the same route. The kids race costs $5 per child and includes a T-shirt and finisher ribbon.
“Our Limb Loss Awareness 5K has quickly become a popular race and community-building event since its inception in 2018,” said Katelyn Bush, Kentwood recreation program coordinator. “More than a typical 5K race, this event’s purpose extends beyond promoting health and wellness.
“It also helps increase awareness of limb loss, build relationships between people of all abilities and raise funds for Kentwood’s adaptive recreation programs. It’s wonderfully inclusive, educational and fun for everyone involved.”
Nathan Wolford, a young man who has experienced limb loss, will share his story during the event. The 22-year-old Fremont resident was struck by a car while on the job three years ago, ultimately causing him to lose both legs above-the-knee. Walking independently can be challenging for bilateral above-knee amputees, but Wolford never gave up on regaining his mobility and returning to the activities he loves, like drumming. He has mastered walking independently on two microprocessor-controlled, waterproof prosthetic knees, which have opened up a world of possibilities for him.
Wolford is invested in giving back to others as a certified amputee peer mentor through Hanger Clinic’s AMPOWER program, and is in his fourth year of college, where he is studying ministry with the goal of becoming a youth pastor. Wolford will share his story as master of ceremonies to kick off the 5K race.
The event will feature several educational components. Signs with facts about limb loss and amputation will be placed throughout the course. When participants are not racing, they can learn about amputation, prosthetics and orthotics at community booths.
Hanger Clinic Care Coordinator Nikki Stoner says the event is a great way for individuals who have experienced limb loss to connect with others in the amputee community.
As an amputee herself, Stoner knows how important it is to have a strong support network when experiencing limb loss. Since having her leg amputated due to a hunting accident 26 years ago, increasing limb loss awareness and support for fellow amputees has been her passion.
“This event is one way we can help people experiencing limb loss or limb difference know they are not alone in their journey,” Stoner said. “Welcoming others to the limb loss family, to our community, is incredibly meaningful to me.”
Hanger Clinic will have one of Winter the dolphin’s prosthetic tails on display. Winter is the dolphin that lost her tail after it became entangled in a crab trap in 2005. In 2006, Kevin Carroll, an expert prosthetist and vice president of prosthetics at Hanger Clinic, heard Winter’s story and offered to fit her with a prosthetic tail that would allow her to swim again. Her movie debut in “Dolphin Tale” premiered on Sept. 23, 2011.
In addition, Hanger Clinic will have other prosthetics and orthotics on hand to show people how they are made and answer questions. Spectrum Health, Advanced Cardiac and Vascular Centers for Amputation Prevention and Life Beyond Barriers Rehabilitation Group will also have booths on-site.
Race organizers are also seeking volunteers for the event. Those interested may sign up at runsignup.com.
Race results will be displayed at Bowen Station Park and posted online shortly after the event. Four first-place awards will be given to the first adult men and women amputees and nonamputees who cross the finish line. The event is set to conclude at 1 p.m. More information is available at kentwood.us/LimbLoss5K.
All profits from the event will go toward improving and expanding the City of Kentwood’s adaptive recreation programs to encourage health and wellness, socialization and excellent quality of life for all. The programs – offered in collaboration with community partners – enable participants to enjoy the benefits that come with any athletic or recreational activity, such as a sense of camaraderie, improved confidence and new skills. To learn more about current offerings, visit kentwood.us/adaptive.