By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
On Saturday, Aug. 24, Limbs for Life and the Oklahoma City VA Medical Center will combine two annual events for one special purpose.
Limbs for Life’s 5K Blaze Run will be merged with the VA’s “Welcome Home Celebration” to bring together amputees from different backgrounds facing common circumstances.
The groups hope to strengthen the sense of community among amputees with or without a military background.
Lucy Fraser, Limbs for Life Executive Director said, “Joining forces with the VA Medical Center helps unite the community of amputees from both our groups, encouraging each person to share stories and words of support.
“The circumstances surrounding an amputation may vary significantly. One may be caused by a birth defect and another may have happened in the line of duty, but the stage of rehabilitation each person is going through most likely is one already faced by another amputee.
“Knowing that someone else has overcome the same obstacles is very powerful for another’s success in healing.”
Headquartered in Oklahoma City, Limbs for Life is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing financial assistance for prosthetic limbs for U.S. citizens and prosthetic components for amputees around the world.
With adequate funding, Limbs for Life help to transform lives from a state of depression and isolation to one of confidence and productivity.
Cody Busch knows just how important Limbs for Life is. He has a small ranch in Glencoe, OK where he raises calves and lives with his daughter, Chelsea. He has a very active life. In addition to his ranch, he works as a feed mill operator at the Oklahoma State University Beef Cattle Center.
Busch was in an automobile accident that resulted in his right leg being amputated above the knee.
“Limbs for Life helped to relieve a huge financial burden,” Busch said. “Because I have a prosthetic limb I can return to my dream of being a rancher and caring for my daughter.”
The Oklahoma City VA Medical Center invites all Post 9/11 Veterans to learn about the services that are available to them at the Welcome Home Celebration. They welcome veterans and their families from Operation Enduring Freedom-Operation Iraqi Freedom-Operation New Dawn (OEF/OIF/OND).
Michele Diesselhorst-Reese, OEF/OIF/OND Program Manager at the OKC VAMC said, “This event gives us the opportunity to remind our newest generation of heroes that the Oklahoma City VA is here to provide them with the quality health care they deserve.
“It also gives us an opportunity to show our appreciation and thank them for their service to our country.”
Proceeds raised from the Blaze 5K and 1-mile Fun Run will go to benefit Limbs for Life.
Registration begins at 6:45 a.m. with the Opening Ceremony starting at 7:45 a.m.
From 7 – 10 a.m., Welcome Home Celebration activities will feature various VA services including Veteran benefits, Chesapeake Troop Connect for hiring Veterans, K9 Companions for Independents, Women Marine Association, family activities, free music and refreshments.
Starting at the Oklahoma City’s Chesapeake Boathouse at 8 a.m., the race will follow the jogging trails along the Oklahoma River south of the Boathouse.
The 1-mile fun-run will begin about 8:05 a.m. after the 5k runners clear the area.
Awards will be given to the top three male and top three female finishers, and to the top male and female in each age category.
Race packets can be picked up on Friday, Aug. 23 from 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. at the Limbs for Life office, at 218 E. Main in Bricktown. Military I.D. required.
The race results, which are officially timed and sanctioned, will be posted online at dgroadracing.com.
The public is invited to participate in the festivities by running, walking, or being there to show support for the service members.
Registration is $25 in advance or $30 day of race. Discounts are available for military members and groups. The first 1,000 registered runners will receive a 2013 commemorative Blaze T-shirt.