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TODAY news for Thursday, March 12, 2007

Loma Linda University Medical Center news

PossAbilities signs as presenting sponsor of Redlands Bicycle Classic

Huan Nguyen, MS, PossAbilities staff and team member, will be participating in the first handcycle division at the Redlands Bicycle Classic.
Huan Nguyen, MS, PossAbilities staff and team member, will be participating in the first handcycle division at the Redlands Bicycle Classic.
Loma Linda University Medical Center’s PossAbilities program announced Monday, February 5, that the club will sign on as the headline sponsor for the 23rd Annual Redlands Bicycle Classic from March 22 to 25.  The support was made possible by an anonymous donation of $50,000 specifically meant to underwrite the sponsorship.

This year will mark the first time in the race’s history that handcyclists will be competing. Top handcyclists from around the country will be vying for points from the United States Handcycling Association. The Redlands Bicycle Classic will be the first race of a series of eight races across the country put on by the United States Hand-cycling Association.

“It’s a huge help to us,” says Brian King, race director for the Redlands Bicycle Classic. “We were looking for some more excitement to add to the race and we (the Redlands Bicycle Classic and PossAbilities) are both stronger for working together. It truly makes our race all-inclusive, which we thought it was before. It’s opened our eyes and really made a difference.”

Huan Nguyen, MS, staff member of PossAbilities and a member of Team PossAbilities, will be
Brian King (standing left), race director for the Redlands Bicycle Classic, shakes hands with Willie Stewart, PossAbilities coordinator, as Team PossAbilities members (from left) Delmon Dunston; Huan Nguyen, PossAbilities staff member; and Briana Walker s
Brian King (standing left), race director for the Redlands Bicycle Classic, shakes hands with Willie Stewart, PossAbilities coordinator, as Team PossAbilities members (from left) Delmon Dunston; Huan Nguyen, PossAbilities staff member; and Briana Walker support the endeavor.
participating in the handcycle race at the Classic. He’s been riding for the last eight years, averaging up to 90 miles a week. Despite what sounds like a lot of training, Mr. Nguyen says he’ll be racing on a recreational level.

“I’m going to try it out and see how it is,” he says.

As a father of twin babies and a full time staff member of PossAbilities, Mr. Nguyen admits that he won’t be in the same league as the professional handcyclists who train twice as much as him. Regardless, he likes the sport.

“You get to go so fast,” says Mr. Nguyen, who compares it to his wheelchair. “I like the wind blowing in my face.”

PossAbilities is a community outreach program developed by the Loma Linda University Medical Center’s East Campus Rehabilitation, Orthopaedic, and Neurosciences Institute (RONI). Its goal is to offer disabled individuals who were born with or have suffered a permanent physical injury or illness a sense of community and provide activities and practical help to integrate them back into life. RONI recognizes that this disenfranchised population is often left without resources or support to deal with the many adjustments they must make physically, mentally, and emotionally in order to have fulfilling lives. The mission is to provide new direction and hope through physical, social, educational, and spiritual interaction with peers and their community.

This free membership program is tailored to persons with physical disabilities such as limb amputation, stroke, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, and others.

By Preston Clarke Smith

TODAY news for Thursday, March 12, 2007