This summer, something really special happened on Thursday evenings at Shriners.
For eight weeks in a row, 20 patients came to the hospital to cycle, dance, stretch, and have fun. We called it BFit. Now, those kids who came to BFit are fit to participate in an Epic Challenge.
On Sunday, October 16, BFit participants from our Northern California Shriners Hospital will be among those participating in the Epic Challenge division of the Eppie’s Kids Duathalon at Discovery Park in Sacramento. Their challenge is to run a ½ mile and cycle ½ mile. We know they will cross the finish line with a smile.
While the race gives kids an opportunity to enjoy the thrill of competition, the skills they gained through BFit will travel with them in all aspects of life.
Dr. Jon Davids, assistant chief of orthopaedics, joined the rehabilitation team at the BFit programs. Like many others, he was uplifted by the experience.
“The B-Fit program has been a wonderful experience for all involved! It was great to see the children at the hospital, not present as patients, but as children and athletes; having fun, playing and pushing themselves to perform in a range of exercises and sports that promote fitness and self-esteem,” Dr. Davids said.
Echoing his words is Alice-Marie Laverdiere who coordinated BFit on behalf of the rehabilitation team. “So many of our patients are determined to get out in the community and participate in adaptive and recreational sports. BFit gave them the extra boost they need to feel confident in their endeavors,” she said.
All BFit participants completed two standardized outcome tests – one that statistically measures physical improvement and one Psychological Perception Survey to identify a child’s perception of their function. Both tests were conducted pre- and post BFit. Participants showed improvement on both tests.
There were other unexpected, yet positive, outcomes. “Many children who scored themselves as having a problem getting along with other children before they started BFit, scored themselves as having less of a problem after the program,” said Alice-Marie.
Ultimately, BFit was all about helping kids achieve their goals. Those shared below speak to the heart of the program – and the participants.
“To be able to bike with my friends and grandma.”
“To be stronger so others let me play.”
“To make my legs work after my surgery.”
“To have fun and make friends.”
And a child who relies on a wheelchair for mobility wrote, “To be able to play in the NBA.”