Kentwood 5K focuses on limb loss awareness

The event will feature an educational component as signs with facts about limb loss and amputation will be posted throughout the course. Courtesy city of Kentwood

For the third consecutive year, the city of Kentwood will be partnering with Hanger Clinic, a local prosthetic and orthotic patient care provider, to host the Limb Loss Awareness 5K event.

The run begins at 10 a.m. Saturday with staggered start times at the Bowen Station Park, 4499 Bowen Blvd. SE in Kentwood.

Individuals of all ages and all disabilities can participate in the clock-timed race that will take runners through sections of the East-West and Paul Henry-Thornapple trails and a boardwalk. While running, runners will see woodlands and wetlands along the route, featuring lots of wildlife and budding trees.

Children 12 and younger will be able to run in a 1-mile race at 11 a.m. along the same route.

The event will feature an educational component as signs with facts about limb loss and amputation will be posted throughout the course. Participants also can learn about amputation, prosthetics and orthotics at community booths when they aren’t running.

“Our Limb Loss Awareness 5K has quickly become a popular race and community-building event since its inception in 2018,” said Katelyn Bush, Kentwood recreation program coordinator. “More than a typical 5K race, this event’s purpose extends beyond promoting health and wellness. It also helps increase awareness of limb loss, build relationships between people of all abilities and raise funds for Kentwood’s adaptive recreation programs. It’s wonderfully inclusive, educational and fun for everyone involved.”

Amputees will share their stories during the event.

Nathan Wolford is a 22-year-old college student who lost both legs above the knee while struck by a car working at his job three years ago. Now, he is walking independently on two microprocessor-controlled and waterproof prosthetic knees.

Nikki Stoner is the Hanger Clinic Care coordinator and an amputee. Her leg was amputated because of a hunting accident 26 years ago.

“This event is one way we can help people experiencing limb loss or limb difference know they are not alone in their journey,” Stoner said. “Welcoming others to the limb loss family, to our community, is incredibly meaningful to me.”

In addition, Hanger Clinic will have other prosthetics and orthotics on hand to show people how they are made and answer questions. Spectrum Health, Advanced Cardiac and Vascular Centers for Amputation Prevention, and Life Beyond Barriers Rehabilitation Group will have booths on-site.

The event will raise funds for Kentwood’s adaptive recreation programs, which provide opportunities for people with various disabilities to take part in athletic activities. Registration for the event is full, but community members can support Kentwood’s adaptive recreation programs by making donations here. Race participants will receive a T-shirt and goodie bag.

Race organizers are seeking volunteers for the event. Those interested may sign up here.

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