Network Summit and Mini-Marathon
I just returned from a trip to Louisville, KY, where I was lucky enough to spend three days participating in the national summit for the NeuroRecovery Network (NRN). For those who are not familiar with the NRN, it is a network funded by the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation that delivers activity-based treatments to spinal-cord-injury patients across the country. Magee Rehabilitation Hospital in Philadelphia (where I work) has been part of the NRN since its launch in 2004, so I fortunately got to participate in the summit on the Magee team. I have been working with the data-management side of the NRN for the past eight months, and while I get to see the impact the program has on our patients' lives on a daily basis, I never realized the full scope of the network.
The summit was a great learning experience for so many reasons. With only one month left before the start of classes, it was energizing to be around such intelligent and compassionate people. I also got to participate in the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon/Mini-Marathon as part of "Team Reeve." Seven of us represented Magee in the race, but the best part was the patient participation. During every mile of the race an NRN patient was competing, and all of them got to cross the finish line. One even walked the half marathon! I'll admit that I cried when I watched a guy, in his Team Reeve shirt, get out of his chair and walk the last 200 feet to the finish line with a rolling walker. And again when another patient got out of his chair and walked with canes... and again when someone came across without an assistive device. I was proud to be a part of it.
I know this past weekend will be something I remember for a very long time, from both a personal and academic standpoint. I know it's too early to decide what I want to do, but my experience at Magee and with the NeuroRecovery Network has certainly piqued my interested in SCI. If this weekend is any indicator of how fulfilling the neuro path can be, then I can't imagine myself anywhere else. And if that's not enough to get me through the rough times in PT school, I don't stand a chance.
In case anyone is interested, here is the link for the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, where you can find information on the NRN in addition to many other resources for spinal cord injury: http://www.christopherreeve.org/