The 22nd Annual Race for Rehab Raises More than $4,100 for Achilles International
The 22nd Annual Race for Rehab hosted by the Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.) students in the School of Health Sciences and Practice was virtual but its success was real
The 22nd Annual Race for Rehab hosted by the Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.) students in the School of Health Sciences and Practice was virtual but its success was real—raising more than $4,100 for Achilles International. Instead of racing on the Valhalla campus, 29 participants and 10 Achilles athletes, including one-hand cyclist, completed 3.1 miles (five kilometers) in their location of choice, anytime between October 11 and October 18 and logged their time on the Race for Rehab website before 10:00 a.m. ET on October 18.
To date the Race for Rehab has raised $148,866 to Achilles International, a not-for-profit organization that provides athletes with disabilities with a community of support, using sports as a tool to bring hope, inspiration and the joys of achievement to people with disabilities.
“When the pandemic hit, we decided to go virtual in the early summer due to the COVID-19 restrictions and the uncertainty of everything,” explained Maliha Habib, D.P.T. Class of 2022, who helped organize the event.
Since much of the fundraising for the race is typically done on campus through events and bake sales, the students had to get creative. They tirelessly solicited donations from individuals, companies and organizations, organized a Chipotle fundraising evening and created tee shirts for purchase. “We quickly learned how to adapt to the pandemic restrictions. We found creative ways to promote our event, expand our outreach and raise money,” said Ms. Habib.
On the morning of October 18, students tallied the results and announced the winners in an awards video that was shared with the participants.
Race for Rehab faculty advisors Janet Dolot, P.T., D.P.T., Dr.P.H. ’14, assistant professor of physical therapy, Susan Ronan, P.T., D.P.T., M.S., assistant professor of physical therapy and Anthony M. Sozzo, M.S.Ed., M.A., associate dean for student affairs and director of student financial planning and student activities, are proud of how the students rose to the challenge to keep the race going and couldn’t be more pleased with the results.
“The students who organized the race impressed me with their innovation, creativity and drive to make this successful despite the challenging circumstances. Their model for a virtual race will likely continue as part of the tradition even when we will gather for face-to-face future events,” said Dr. Dolot.
“Having been with the Race for Rehab since the beginning in 1999, in many ways the effort the students displayed this year was incredible considering the circumstances of hosting a virtual race while dealing with a pandemic. The D.P.T. students were creative in their approach and never lost hope the race would be a success,” said Mr. Sozzo.
Although not having the race in person was a bit of a disappointment, students found the silver lining in it. “We realized that we should continue to offer a virtual option for future races for individuals who might not be able to participate on a particular race day,” said Ms. Habib. “This will ultimately increase our participant base and make the Race for Rehab even bigger and better.”