Newport News, Va - When runners make their way to the starting line of the Riverside Rehabilitation Institute's 24th annual 5k by the Bay on Saturday, May 3, so will Kanika Davis.
Only she'll wheel her way, perfectly illustrating the platform she stands on in her current reign as Ms. Wheelchair Virginia – Life Beyond Limits.
Riverside Health System is pleased to announce that Davis, the current Ms. Wheelchair Virginia, will not only attend its annual fundraiser to support patients undergoing rehabilitation at the institute, but she will also help start the race, which is open to runners, walkers and wheelers.
Davis, originally from Lynchburg, was crowned Ms. Wheelchair Virginia on March 15. At 15, Davis sustained a spinal cord injury during surgery and now uses a wheelchair 100 percent of the time.
Promoting "Life Beyond Limits" means encouraging individuals with disabilities to embrace accessible means of travel. That includes participating in racing events like the 5K by the Bay as a runner, walker or wheeler.
After her injury, Davis said, "I was uncertain of the challenges that lay ahead. It took some time to figure out how to live again."
But she has and she does.
She learned how to adjust to her new lifestyle as a wheelchair user at a rehabilitation facility, much like the Riverside Rehabilitation Institute. She took a chance and competed in the Ms. Wheelchair Virginia pageant, earning the title and the responsibility to help increase public awareness of men and women living with disabilities so that everyone can lead productive and meaningful lives.
"The whole experience itself was very enlightening and challenged me in ways that I didn't expect to be challenged," she said of the Miss Wheelchair Virginia competition. "I had to make the decision to put myself out there and go for it."
Davis will be competing for the Ms. Wheelchair America title in August.
The 5k by the Bay benefits the Riverside Rehabilitation Institute's Make a Difference Fund, which helps patients who need assistance with their medical care.
A Peninsula Track Club Grand Prix Event, the 5k by the Bay features a waterfront setting, starting at the Peterson Yacht Basin and finishing at the Riverside Rehabilitation Institute. Riverside offers online registration until May 2(?).
Early packet pick up for those who have already registered will be available at Riverside Rehabilitation Institute, 245 Chesapeake Ave. in Newport News, Friday, May 2 from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Registration the day of the event begins at 8:00 a.m.
A One-Mile Fun Run/Roll/Walk starts at 8:30 a.m., and the 5k Run/Wheel/Walk begins at 9 a.m., followed by an awards presentation at 10:30 a.m.
Registration is $25 through May 2 and $30 on race day. Riverside team members save $5 on registration fees. Participation in the One-Mile Fun Run/Roll/Walk is free ($10 to receive a t-shirt).
The race, now in its 24th year, has grown to attract over 650 participants.
Visit http://www.riversideonline.com/rri/5k-by-the-bay.cfm for volunteer opportunities.
In addition to the waterfront setting and philanthropic cause, racers and spectators will enjoy prizes, raffles, post-race snacks, music and great entertainment. Free injury screenings, a cool down stretch session with a therapist, and "Billie the Rehab Clown" will also be on site.
Awards will be given to the top runners in each age group and overall top three male and female runners, as well as top three male and female wheelchair finishers and top three male and female walkers.
In addition to Riverside, the event is sponsored by Dick's Sporting Goods, Kalfus & Nachman, NuMotion, Scotty Signs, Health Journal, Diamond Springs Natural Spring Water and Point 2 Running Company.
Published: April 23, 2014