VA Pacific Islands Health Care System
No Holding Him Back
Tuesday, October 26, 2010More than 20,000 participants ran in the 2010 Hawaii Aloha Charity Run, including one very special disabled veteran who participated in the wheelchair/hand cycle division for the very first time.
Lonnie Hicks started his adventure some time ago by enrolling in the VA Pacific Islands Health Care System (PIHCS) MOVE weight loss and management program. When he started his weight was 278 pounds. When race time arrived he weighed in at 239 pounds, a loss of 40 pounds. That, along with a new Invacare, Top End Excelerator Hand Cycle he received from PIHCS' prosthetic department, and a lot of training, he not only completed the race he came in second in his division.
"This a truly remarkable achievement," Hicks said, "made possible only possible because of the dedicated employees I came in contact with in the MOVE program. Of course, I can't forget my new cycle, courtesy of VA."
In a letter sent to VA's Prosthetic headquarters: "This hand cycle is freedom for me. When I ride I want to go and go and go." He further added, "I could not have done the weight loss without the hand cycle. You (the VA) gave me my freedom back, and I can never repay the debt of gratitude I now owe."
VA PIHCS' prosthetics chief, the veteran's trainer and other VA employees were at the finish line to cheer him on and offer congratulations.