Cascade Prosthetics & Orthotics, Ferndale, Washington, sponsored Team Missing Parts in Action in the annual Ski to Sea race, a seven-leg, 85-mile race held on Memorial Day weekend in Washington’s Whatcom County. The team included a prosthetist, a physical therapist, and six combat veterans who are currently in rehabilitation. Some of the team members are amputees. Others have experienced nerve damage and one has a hip replacement. All are being treated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC), Washington, DC, and the other team members are WRAMC staff. The team was co-sponsored by Disabled Sports USA (DS/USA), the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), and the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF).
Missing Parts in Action joined more than 400 other teams from around the country in the race, and was the first team from WRAMC to participate in the 98-year-old race. Lieutenant Col. Kerrie Golden, chief physical therapist at WRAMC, suggested the team’s participation in this year’s Ski to Sea race. Golden knew of the annual race from her childhood spent in Whatcom County.
“Growing up in the northwest, I was quite familiar with the annual Ski to Sea race, but I never had the opportunity to participate until now,” Golden said. “I thought this race would be a great way to showcase the skills of the athletes we have here at Walter Reed, as they are already involved in all of the events that make up Ski to Sea.”
The seven legs of the marathon are cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, running, bicycling, canoeing, mountain biking, and kayaking. The race begins on the ski slopes of Mount Baker, a 10,800-foot volcano, and extends to the finish line on the shores of Bellingham Bay.
“Many of our injured service members are young and athletically inclined,” said Golden. “They haven’t let their injuries slow them down. In fact, some are doing even more than they did prior to their injury.”
After reading about the team’s participation in a Ski to Sea e-mail newsletter, Tim Shride, CPO, from Cascade Prosthetics and Orthotics, followed up with the team’s organizers about the possibility of getting involved. In addition to offering financial support to DS/USA, Shride and several of his colleagues were on-hand during the day of the race to help out with the team’s transportation and any prosthetic adjustments that were needed along the way.
“I couldn’t help but think that this would be a great fit after reading about Missing Parts in Action’s plans to take part in this year’s race,” Shride said. “Being involved in athletic activities like these has been shown to support successful rehabilitation. We were happy to offer our support to help these athletes rebuild their lives through sports.”
“The team did tremendous and really held their own in the most competitive race division,” Golden said. “They were very proud of their achievement and are already talking about competing and doing even better next year. In fact, they would love to compete against a team of Wounded Warriors from the Center for the Intrepid in San Antonio.”