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Physical Therapy Students Help Coordinate Race for the Cure

Physical therapy students from Belmont University helped coordinate Nashville’s Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure on Oct. 27.  Over 100 student volunteers assisted with course set-up and take-down, served as course marshals throughout the course including the start/finish line, provided water at course stations and managed the crowd .  The event drew over 26,000 participants and spectators.  The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure is a nationwide effort to raise funds to help end breast cancer forever.

Physical Therapy Professor Michael Voight was co-chairman of this year’s race. Voight is a longtime supporter of the organization and for years has brought physical therapy students to help coordinate the annual race.

“I chose to support Komen because 75 percent of every dollar raised in the region stays in Middle Tennessee and provides grants to other area non‐profits. These local organizations are working on the front lines to battle breast cancer, educating all of us on the value of early detection and promoting awareness to low‐income and non‐insured individuals. To date Komen Greater Nashville has provided more than $3 million in screening, treatment and educational services to the women of Middle Tennessee,” he said.

Weeks before the event, students in the School of Physical Therapy prepared over 8,000 race packets for participants that had signed up for the event.  As the day of the race neared, many students were involved in the preparations required for an event of this magnitude.  Then on race day, over 100 students showed up at 6 a.m. to begin preparations for the day.

“It was amazing the work going on long before participants started coming in, everyone braving the rain and cold, putting on the last minute preparations and then the cleanup. It was no small effort. It was worth it though to see so many survivors happy to have finished the race, whether running or walking. It was one more victory against this disease. This would not have happened had it not been for all help provided by the students,” Voight said.

Associate Professor Pat Sells, who also helped lead the race volunteer program, said, “The manner in which our students conducted themselves overwhelms me. They were kind, energetic, dedicated, willing to do whatever was asked of them, and, most of all, they were smiling and enjoying the day. It was evident they were happy to be there and giving back. I received so many positive comments about them, I was truly proud to be considered as part of their team.  The small army of Belmont PT students managed a race course of 26,000 people … flawlessly.”

The Komen affiliate members said they were thankful for the students’ support.

“The team of volunteers from Belmont School of Physical Therapy made a huge difference in this year’s race,” said Komen Executive Director Patty Harman. “The Race would not have been so successful without them.  We had more people participate this year than ever before, and Belmont jumped in to do whatever was needed to make it a wonderful experience for each person. We can’t thank them enough for all they did.”

Lynn Edwards, chairman of the board for the Komen Affiliate, said, “Thank you so much for your every effort, through planning efforts, logistical team packing and mailing hand‐outs and Race Village clean up. This was truly a magnificent event on Saturday. The Sea of Pink was overpowering. We saw so many people that have been impacted by breast cancer. We saw those still in the midst of their healing, those that had been survivors for many years, co-survivors and those there in support of someone that they knew or love.  It was such an emotional event for all involved. We appreciate those who helped with making this a success for them and their family and friends. I am so grateful to all of you who have helped with this year’s event.  We cancer survivors and co-survivors understand the gift of you time in a unique way.  Cancer can hit anyone at any time. Not only is it a major shock to the individual receiving the diagnosis but also to the entire family of those caregivers and ones that love you through the many days of doubts, treatments and sickness. The board, Komen staff and I owe you everything. Please know we today honor your gift of time.”