By JB CABAZOR, MD
UERMMMCI PARTICIPATED IN THE RECENTLY concluded "A Run for Pasig", one of the world's largest running events in recent history.
Last October 10, 2010's "A Run for Pasig" sought to raise funds for the rehabilitation of the Pasig River, arguably the most significant body of water in Philippine history and, sadly, one of the filthiest, most polluted, most abused and, until recently, most neglected.
Another goal of the run was to break the world record for the largest running event ever. Over 150,000 people registered for the run and very nearly close to that number actually ran. The world record notwithstanding, A Run for Pasig was a resounding success.
This was a remarkable feat of security, logistics, command, control and communications. And UERMMMCI was right in the thick of it.
The lead unit for UERM was the College of Physical Therapy, helmed by, in the words of an Irishman, "the energetic" Dean Raquel S. Cabazor, MD, PTRP, MSPH. The alphabet soup after her name is deceptive. Far from being a pedantic academic, Dr. Cabazor balances her roles as mother to two achievers, practicing physiatrist and skipper of the tightly run ship that is the UERMMMCI College of Physical Therapy.
As lead unit at the run, the College of PT had two tasks. One, the College had to organize the participation of the various academic and non-academic units of the Medical Center. The challenge was to deliver on UERM's promise to the race organizers of a 2,000-strong contingent from the Medical Center. This was in fact exceeded, largely through the efforts of the deans of the different academic units.
The other task of the College of PT was to set up and man the UERM component of the post-race Physical Therapy and Recovery Section. This free service was an excellent opportunity to showcase the highly competent interns and alumni of the College in particular, and the UERM brand of health professional education in general.
Ten UERM CPT alumni volunteered to help out in the run's PT and recovery section: Jeanne Santos, PTRP; Kim Kelby Tan, PTRP; Adelaido Ubalde, PTRP; Jewel Tan, PTRP; Julius Nacario, PTRP; Jeff Ong, PTRP; Alfonso Perez, PTRP; Felix De Vera, PTRP; Hernan Hernandez, PTRP; Kimberly Co, PTRP; Rodino Villaflor, PTRP; and Glenn Solano, PTRP.
After weeks of arduous preparation, alumni volunteers, led by the diligent and industrious Mr. John Christopher De Luna, gathered at the Aurora Boulevard campus in the dark pre-dawn of 10/10/10-the date said to be auspicious as it only comes around once every thousand years. Arriving at 3 am at the race's northern finish line, Dean Cabazor, Mr. De Luna and the volunteer alumni-later joined by the College of PT interns-quickly set up shop. John and a senior alumna gave thorough reviews of protocols for a safe, efficient and effective post-race recovery session. They also ran demos and return demos.
Despite the paucity of fancy hardware, their relative youth and meager accommodations, the College of PT alumni and interns projected an easygoing air borne out of confidence in their skills and training. The contrast provided strong argument for leadership that inspires camaraderie and volunteerism, versus compliance through forced conscription. By first light, the PT section was ready and all that remained was the wait for the actual race.
Key senior personnel of the College of PT were assigned to each UERM contingent in each component of the run. Archelle Jane Callejo was in charge of external communications with ABS-CBN and the administrators and rank-and-file contingent, while Norberto Cruz was in charge of the College of Physical Therapy and the Graduate School contingents. Fria Rose Santos and John Christopher De Luna were in charge of the College of Medicine and the College of Nursing contingents, respectively. Jennifer Espinosa was the stalwart leader of the UERM 3K Run contingent. For the 5K, it was ever-reliable Dr. Carmina Cortez. And at the 10K, which had celebrities like Saranggani Representative and People's Champ Manny Pacquiao and actor Piolo Pascual, the UERM contingent was led by Archelle Callejo.
The first runner crossed the finish line seconds before the tenth minute of the race. Sprinting ahead of another runner, the first finisher wore the UE Manila livery. Shortly after, other participants came in seemingly endless droves.
The physical therapists went into action when exhausted finishers started trickling into the PT and Recovery Section as the race wound down. Working in teams of two, and in the rising heat of a bright tropical morning, they stretched knotted muscles and tightened ligaments and tendons. A group of policemen who ran the 21K were particularly grateful for the aid.
The UERM College of PT alumni and interns treated over 200 runners. The field hospital next door was also kept busy by about a dozen casualties of heat, dehydration and exhaustion.
The event broke up late in the morning. The alumni and interns were probably tired, thirsty and hungry. After an exciting morning doing well what they were trained to do, true professionals didn't really mind.
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