Belmont PT student volunteers help direct runners at the finish line of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure
Students and faculty from Belmont University School of Physical Therapy were again instrumental in coordinating two major charitable events that occur annually in Nashville and surrounding communities each fall. Over 100 student volunteers provided the main logistical support for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Nashville on October 26, and again for Dierks Bentley’s Miles and Music for Kids motorcycle ride and concert in middle Tennessee on November 3.
Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure
The Komen race attracted 26,000 people to the Maryland Farms YMCA to support the fight against breast cancer. The PT students assisted with course setup and takedown, served as course marshals at the start and finish lines, and were available throughout the race to hand out water and help with crowd control. The student participation in race is facilitated annually by Belmont professor Michael Voight who co-chairs the event. Voight says that he support Komen because 75 percent of every dollar raised in the region stays here in middle
Tennessee and is granted to other local non‐profits. “These non‐profits are working on the front lines to battle breast cancer, educating both women and men on the value of early detection and promoting awareness to low‐income and non‐insured individuals,” said Voight. To date Komen Greater Nashville has provided more than $3 million in screening, treatment and educational services to the women of Middle Tennessee.
“The manner in which our students conducted themselves overwhelms me,” said Dr. Pat Sells, associate professor of Physical Therapy, who leads the race volunteer program for the School. “They were kind, energetic, dedicated and willing to do whatever was asked of them,” he added. “I received so many positive comments on them, I was truly proud to be considered as part of their team. Managing a race course with 26,000 people and doing so flawlessly was an impressive feat!”
Patty Harman, Executive Director of the local Komen affiliate, had nothing but praise for the Belmont PT students, saying, “they made a huge difference in this year’s race; it would not have been as successful without them. If there were any glitches, the participants surely did not know.” “Belmont jumped in to do whatever was needed,” said Lynn Edwards, chairman of the board for the local Komen Affiliate. “We can’t thank them enough for all they did – through planning efforts, logistical team packing and mailing, and even clean-up of the race village.”
This year’s efforts follow the recognition that Belmont PT students received this past summer when they were honored as volunteer group of the year by the international organization of Susan G. Komen.
Dierks Bentley’s Miles & Music for Kids
Dierks Bentley poses with PT student volunteers as he finishes his motorcycle ride prior to his concert at Riverfront Park in Nashville. Click picture to enlarge.
Just eight days after the Komen race, the PT students were out again, this time helping orchestrate the eighth annual Dierks Bentley Miles and Music for Kids motorcycle ride and concert to benefit Vanderbilt Childrens Hospital. The School of Physical Therapy has helped coordinate this event since its inception in 2006. Bentley led more than 1,000 motorcyclists on a 40-mile afternoon ride from Harley-Davidson of Columbia, TN to Riverfront Park in Nashville where he and other music artists treated thousands of fans to a benefit concert. Artists joining Bentley this year included Easton Corbin, Jake Owen, and Luke Bryan. “No one has had the year Luke Bryan has had,” exclaimed Bentley, “and for him to come out and do this, especially after playing two sold out shows at the arena, says a lot about what kind of guy he is.”
“Each year this gets a little bit bigger and a little better,” said Bentley, “ and we could not have taken this event to the level it now is without the help of my friend Mike Voight and his students at Belmont University.” He added, “the Belmont students have been integral to the success of this event from the inaugural ride seven years ago to its current size. I always look forward to working with them.”
Belmont PT graduate and current adjunct faculty member, Ashley Campbell, has volunteered for the past 6 years, overseeing the Belmont volunteer staff for the last 3 years. “I am so proud to be associated with such a great group of hard working and dedicated young adults,” she said. And as they are with the Komen race, Dr. Voight and Dr. Sells are also intricately involved with Miles and Music. “This is a great learning experience and fun event for our students,” said Voight. “Not only did they get to meet and work with the stars of country music, but in doing so they also helped the community in a large way.” Dr. Sells added, “it is a real pleasure to watch our students give and serve unselfishly. This is what service is all about.”
Jami Graham, a third year PT doctoral student class leader, responded, “the Dierks fundraiser is an event we look forward to each year. It’s fun to see my fellow classmates come together to make it happen and contribute to the overall success of this event. It is a real privilege to have this opportunity to give back to the community.”
This year’s Miles & Music event raised a record $307,000 for Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.