SAN DIEGO (MAY 16, 2010) Twenty-four Army, Navy and Marine Corps patients from the Balboa Warrior Athlete Program (BWAP) and staff from Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) ran, walked, or cycled across the Coronado Bridge in the Navy’s 24th annual Bay Bridge Run/Walk. This is the fourth year NMCSD’s BWAP has participated in the event. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jake Berenguer/Released)
SAN DIEGO (MAY 16, 2010) Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) Marine Sgt. Christopher Lawrence (right) finishes the 24th annual Coronado Bay Bridge Run/Walk along with NMCSD physical therapist Kristin L. Valent. This is the third year that Lawrence has competed in the race. The first year he competed on a hand cycle, last year walked and this year he ran continuously for the entire four mile race. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jake Berenguer/Released)
By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Chelsea A. Radford NMCSD Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO (MAY 17, 2010) – For a few hours, 24 Army, Navy and Marine patients from the Balboa Warrior Athlete Program (BWAP) at Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) will get the chance to run, walk, or cycle across the Coronado Bridge in the Navy’s 24th Original Bay Bridge Run/Walk on May 16, 2010.
This will be the fourth year athletes from the Wounded Warrior program at NMCSD have participated in the event. Registration completely sold out with more than a week and a half to go.
The patients from BWAP actively engage in therapy, including physical, occupational and recreational therapy.
“We work so hard in the therapies, it’s nice to step back on a Sunday morning and go do the run without all the formalities,” said Marla Knox, a recreation therapist with NMCSD.
Knox also commented that being motivated through exercise helps the patients maintain a positive outlook while recovering.
For some patients, this year will be their first time taking part in the Bay Bridge Run/Walk. For others, the run has become an annual event to look forward to.
“I’ve been doing the Bay Bridge Run every year since I got to Balboa (NMCSD),” said Marine Sgt. Chris Lawrence. “2008 was my first year of the Bay Bridge Run and I did it in a wheelchair since I had just gotten my leg amputated and had my first prosthetic. In 2009 I walked the entire thing so this year I’m trying to run it- maybe not the full thing, but at least run up the bridge.”
Along with the rare opportunity of running or walking across the bridge, the event also contributes to the well being and therapy of the patients.
“I was still kind of the whole ‘woe is me’ back in 2008,” said Lawrence. “I had just lost my leg and I was so self conscious and I didn’t think I’d be able to do anything, but then I went up that Bay Bridge. I had to do it in a wheelchair and my arm was messed up, I couldn’t use it. I had to one-arm drive the wheelchair, going up the whole bridge with one arm. I had people help me when it got bad. After I got done with that, I realized right there that the only thing holding me back from doing anything is myself, and how I feel. I’ve done the most ridiculous things now, like a 500 mile bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles. The Bay Bridge Run is what broke the ice for me.”
On top of the exercise, the occasion gives patients the ability to connect with other people from around the area.
“There’s a lot of people out there who actually care about what we do,” said Army Spc. Dan Lockey. “It’s nice, you get to see them and they get to see you and show that they really care.”
In addition to the wounded, ill or injured servicemembers, staff and family members will be participating alongside the BWAP patients. Athletes will start the event at 8 a.m. in Downtown San Diego near the Convention Center. They will then travel across the bridge in the method of their choosing and finish at Tidelands Park in Coronado.
For more news from Naval Medical Center San Diego, visit www.navy.mil/local/sd.