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Yucatan Crippled Children's Project Bikeathon

Discussion in 'Biomechanics, Sports and Foot orthoses' started by EdGlaser, May 17, 2012.

  1. EdGlaser

    EdGlaser Active Member

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    Yesterday, May 15, 2012, we completed our first day of the First Yucatan Crippled Children’s Project Bikeathon! Our group of intrepid weekend warriors are bicycling 444 miles in 9 days to benefit this worthy cause.

    The YCCP is one of the great humanitarian projects that Podiatrists everywhere can be proud of. Founded over 15 yrs ago by Dr. Charles ‘Chip’ Southerland, DPM, it was created for two main reasons. First, to help a very underserved population of children who suffer a wide range of untreated congenital and acquired foot diseases that often go untended, typically for a lifetime. For a multitude of reasons, some known others uncertain, the Mayan population has a high incidence of foot deformities. After the horrible devastation that Hurricane Gilbert left in its wake, back in 1988, Dr. Southerland reached out to the government of a destroyed fishing village, Progresso, Mexico, and offered to help. He invited Keith Kashuk, DPM and Doc Dockery, DPM, two of our professions true icons and who also share Chip’s altruistic, humanitarian passion along with a his passion to teach. The YCCP was born. In the last 15 plus years, many great surgeons, Podiatrists, Orthopedists and others, have given of their time and expertise, bringing residents in training to the Yucatan who participate in cases they may never have experienced without this program. Other giants within our profession have joined them. Doctors like Mary Crawford, Byron Hutchinson, Chris Bock, Dan Hatch and many others volunteer their time and take a week out of their busy schedules often at their own expense, travelling thousands of miles to Progresso on one or more of the 4 weeks per year that the project is scheduled, distributed over each of four quarters in a year. To date they have done over 1200 life-changing surgeries and treated over 6000 children. This is a very worthwhile project.

    It is a comfort to know that IF my grandchildren or yours would were born with such a devastating deformity, the knowledge and skill of these great doctors and educators will be passed on to our young practitioners and be available when we need it.

    Four years ago I was invited to speak at a conference in Merida sponsored by the International Foot and Ankle Foundation, founded by Doc Dockery. I knew a little about the project and how worthy it was so I offered to bring my Videographer, Greg Welsch along to take pictures and video. We saw first hand how this directly affected the lives of so many people and changed these podiatric residents forever. One child touched my heart. He was a 14 yr. old boy who had suffered enormous trauma to his legs at the age of 2. As a result, he had never taken one step his whole life. What I saw was a miracle. These brilliant surgeons recreated his legs. They re-broke the bones, straightened them out and using a ‘used’ Ilizaroff External fixation device, they elongated his legs. To see the way this child’s face lit up when they told him that he would be able to take a step, melted my heart. I was hooked. I was so moved emotionally by the incredible work that these doctors are doing I decided to contribute 5K to the project. The next year it went up to 6K and then 12K. I told my employees about it and they began having bake sales, garage sales, fund raisers and contributed of themselves generously. Finally, Keith Copley, cPed, and general manager of Sole Supports, Inc., suggested we host a Bikeathon to benefit the YCCP.

    We called Dr. Southerland to ask permission and he embraced the project, as did Barry University. They put us into contact with Mr. Robert McKinlay, grantwriter for the University, who helped us with PR and logistics. I hired an employee Josh Evans, who has a Masters degree in environmental linguistics to act as coordinator of media and editor. We recruited 6 cyclists from Sole Supports, Inc. and began to train. As training continued I saw that it would be impossible for them to make it on the bikes they had, so I bought each of them a Trek road bicycle and the bike shop at the beginning of the Natchez Trace, Trace Bikes, offered to sponsor us by giving us huge discounts on the bikes and equipment. Still the cost exceeded 10K. That is my contribution.

    To our surprise, Chip not only supported the project, but agreed to ride with us. I cannot tell you how exciting it is to be riding 444 miles with such an amazing humanitarian. His contributions are too numerous to mention but one example, besides the YCCP, is his trip to Haiti immediately following the earthquake where he was, along with other Barry University Professors, some of the first American boots on the ground to help the victims there. He is always ready to jump in, sacrifice his own life and security, to selflessly help wherever in the world he is needed. We need to support his efforts. It reflects positively on our profession and us.

    Training for this, was brutal for all. I am extremely busy but I worked in training for months prior; biking in the rain sometimes because time slots to train were few and far between. Chip was even more pressed for time but managed to do some training. No one on the trip had ever done 50 miles in their training, but yesterday we rode 52 miles over some of the most challenging hills I have ever climbed on a bicycle. Our legs (and especially our rear ends) are definitely smarting today, but we are continuing on, anticipating eight more days in the ride ride.

    Our riders are:
    Dr. Charles Southerland, Professor at Barry U. College of Podiatry, founder of YCCP
    Keith Copley, cPed General Manager of Sole Supports, Inc.
    Dan Nolen, Grinding Dept. at Sole Supports, Inc.
    Julie Hippe, Professional Relations at Sole Supports, Inc.
    Michael Conley, Chef and Athletic Director at Sole Supports, Inc.
    Noah Glaser, Software designer at Sole Supports, Inc.
    Ed Glaser, founder and CEO at Sole Supports, Inc.

    I also must mention the incredible support we have gotten from Dr. Southerland’s wife Suzie who has made the trip a joy by being so sweet and both driving one of the support vehicles and preparing some incredible smoothies for us. I don’t believe that she has ever met a stranger. It is difficult not to fall in love with both her and Dr. Southerland. Their kindness, generosity and humility are overwhelming. Also, I want to thank Mary Pinel for driving our other support vehicle and Greg Welsch for filming the trip. This has been an all hands effort by all of my 100 employees and I am grateful to every one of them. When we say “WE MAKE PEOPLE BETTER” at Sole Supports, Inc., we walk the talk; we live it and breathe it and bike it. Those that couldn’t ride are working on other fund raising efforts for the children. It is a company wide project that we are proud to support.

    What can you do? Donate something to the cause. Go to www.solesupports.com and click on the donate button. It will take you to the home page of the YCCP at Barry University where it walks you through the donation process. 100% of your donation goes directly to helping these kids, all of it tax deductible. NOT one penny flows through us and most of us are unaware of who donates what.

    We are putting in this tremendous effort to help these kids and we are only asking for whatever pocket change you may have available, to make enormous differences in the lives of these innocent children. Please give what you can.

    This has nothing to do with any minor differences in biomechanical philosophy we may have…. It is to help these kids walk, aid the humanitarian efforts of some or our greatest colleagues and help train our residents to become better doctors, surgeons and people. Please, please, please help make this a success. Thank you.

    I posted this in Biomechanics because it is where I am best known. Lets help these kids.
  2. EdGlaser

    EdGlaser Active Member

    Today, May 16, 2012, we completed 38 miles with some killer hills. We had a great time. Chip is riding a recumbent trike and came in 20min before me and Noah. We seem to be the slowest in the bunch. Tomorrow will be 60 miles and a real challenge. We saw the site where Merriweather Lewis of Lewis and Clark was burried. I had no idea that he was personal secretary to Jefferson and Governor of Louisiana. He died under mysterious circumstances. Chip and Dan are both history buffs and added so much to our understanding. This is an amazing ride......Please help any way you can and Dr. Southerland will be able to continue and expand his humanitarian efforts. Barry University has been so instrumental in helping with this project, it is a credit to Podiatry that we have such dedicated doctors who care only for making people better. Thanks.
  3. EdGlaser

    EdGlaser Active Member

    Next year we will open up the ride to about 30 participants and within a few years we hope to get 300 riders. It is an unbelievable experience for a worthy cause.
  4. EdGlaser

    EdGlaser Active Member

    We have been on the Road now for 6 days. The weather has been very kind. Quite hot but no rain although tomorrow it is supposed to rain quite a bit. We should be able to avoid most of it if we leave very early. The trip has been amazing. We visited the Stone Wall in Alabama which is an amazing place built by one man, now 83, who hand carried over 8 million stones building an unbelievable structure. His great great grandmother walked the Trail of Tears. Many tribes were marched across the country to Oklahoma. His ancestor was numbered and scheduled to be executed but escaped and walked all the way back to Alabama. An amazing story. Each stone is for one of her steps on the journey home. I will post some pics if I can.

    We are all hurting in some way. Most of us are suffering from seat pain. Dr. Southerland is on a trike so he has not had that kind of pain but suffered transient knee and foot pain. Keith is now suffering the worst. An old mortorcross injury to his left knee has made the last two days excruciating. He pedaled the whole 34 miles today with only his right leg. He is determined to finish. We are bitten up by mosquitos, overheated, tired and all of us in pain.

    Since this is the first YCCP Bikeathon, we are beginning many traditions. We begin every morining with a prayer led by either Dr. Southerland or his wonderful wife Suzie. They have added a very beautiful spiritual dimension to the trip. Suzie has been a godsend watching over us all and Chip has told us stories of the many children helped by the YCCP and the trials and tribulations that they went through to help these kids walk. Operating rooms at 120 degrees farenheight with sweat dripping into the field, broken equipment, customs problems etc. etc... He also shared some of his experiences as a Special Forces Green Beret and his many Humanitarian missions such as his recent trip to Haiti after the earthquake. Friendships have formed on this trip that will last a lifetime. We have so enjoyed each other's company.
    Dan is the youngest at 22 and just out of the airforce. He is easily the fittest and could easily go ahead but he has ridden with each of us. No one is showing off; we are a team. He wants to go into special forces and may reenlist at some point or go back to school on the GI bill. I would hate to lose him but encourage him to pursue his dreams.
    Noah, my son, decided to go only a week before the trip and had only 6 days of training. All he could do was 22 miles each day until the day before the trip he did 30. In spite of that he has kept up and even finished first one day. He had recently lost 60 pounds and began the trip at 253lbs and is losing weight rapidly. This trip has been a real committment for him and he should be in the 230's before the end. His determination is an inspiration to us all. Even though he is hurting a lot he never complains and is among the first to offer to help with anything. This has been a real bonding experience for us and my admiration for my son grows daily. I am very proud of him.
    Julie has been amazing. She is always pushing herself trying to stay with the front group. She finishes first or second most days and keeps a cheerful attitude no matter what.
    Keith is an inspiration too. Never complains although his knee is excrutiating. I don't know how he is surviving the pain but he is determined to help these kids. The Bikeathon was his idea and he is going to make it work. If he finishes, it will be a Herculean effort through debilitating pain....but that's Keith.
    Michael has been our sweep man. He is wanting to up his mileage all the time. He is the chef/personal trainer at Sole Supports and always gets to the end first an then doubles back to help anyone that needs encouragement. He is usually sweeping me up as I am habitually last.
    As for me, I am usually behind. I like to drop back and go at my own pace, catching Chip or Noah regularly and having conversations while I ride. My butt is extremely painful. I thought it would subside after this many days but it has just gotten worse. No other pain to report. I am loving the trip overall.
    Mary has been our other support vehicle and has been unbelievable. Making us all lunch, filling our bottles with G2 or Powerade Zero, setting out fruit at every stop and helping with all the equipment and logistics. I don't know how we would have made it without her. She wanted to ride but did not have enough time to train and went at the last minute (literally..... she had one hour to pack the morning we left) because we did not know that we could not fit all the equipment in Chip's truck when he arrived.
    We are definately doing this again every year. Chip and Keith see this growing to 25 to 50 riders next year and getting to hundreds within a few years. I believe we can do that. We can even break the group into several teams leaving on different consecutive days. It has been so much fun we all want to do it again and again. Next time we will know what we are getting into and plan it better but that is why we kept the numbers small this year. We are having such a wonderful experience despite the pain.

    Yesterday we stopped at a rest stop with a bathroom and met an older couple from Washington state who were driving the Natchez Trace. When we told them what we were doing they immediately took out their wallets and donated $5 to the cause. I only mention this because I hope that this simple act of generosity and kindness by someone with no connection to the trip or Podiatry or the YCCP might inspire some of you to contribute to this very worthy cause. This is not only to help these kids walk but to train our new residents in pediatric foot surgery in a way that builds better doctors and people. Someday if one of our relatives needs pediatric foot surgery, it will be a comfort to know that some of the greatest foot surgeons in America have given so much to both help children in Mexico that would never walk without them but also passed their knowledge and experience to the next generation of podiatric surgeons. Not only are these surgeons, who volunteer their time and expertise several times a year, great surgeons and humanitarians but they are podiatric educators giving young doctors an experience that will shape them for their whole careers.
    Greg Welsch, the videographer at Sole Supports, has taken three trips to the Yucatan to film the magnificent work of the program and put together a short video piece that tell the story.
    You can find it on Youtube. Search Yucatan Crippled Childrens Project or go to Sole Supports TV channel on youtube or here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWKNza-gT5k

    In addition to being a major sponsor of the YCCP, Sole Supports, Inc has underwritten this video as well as the Bikeathon. We are proud to support this worthwhile cause and the Humanitarian efforts of Dr. Southerland, Dr. Kashuk, Dr. Dockery, Dr. Crawford, Dr. Hatch, Dr. Hutchinson, Dr. Bock and so many many others who generously give of their time, skills and heart to help these children walk and aid in residency training. God bless all of the many people who make this project possible.....and especially Barry University whose charitable efforts make the whole project possible.
  5. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    Ed ... how is your body holding up?

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