In December, six patients from Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center’s
(PVHMC) Charles M. Magistro Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Services
participated in the Holiday 5K, Half Marathon and Penguin Waddle events.
The participants, founding members of PVHMC’s first “I Can
Do It” team, hope to show physical therapy and rehabilitation patients,
regardless of their medical conditions, that achieving recovery is not
impossible with the help of therapists, and that they can be active again.
Ranging in age from two to seventy-two, each of the six participants are
part of PVHMC’s Rehabilitation Services programs, which include
the Milestones Center for Child Development, cardiac rehabilitation, orthopedic
rehabilitation, back and neck therapy, and occupational therapy. Patients
were invited to participate by Rehabilitation Services therapists, who
provided expert training tips, advice and encouragement to help them prepare
for race day.
“I joined this team to help spread the word and encourage others
to be active and be well,” said Jon Blickenstaff, 72, former Mayor
of La Verne. “I want to show people that physical therapy can help
you stay off medication while restoring your mobility and eliminating
pain – it can help you get back to a normal life.”
After receiving a diagnosis of bilateral drop-feet, Jon, was treated in
Rehabilitation Services’ orthopedics program. He now participates
in PVHMC’s Wellness & Aftercare programs, which allows patients
to be guided through structured recovery from a specific injury, disease
“Almost a year ago I could barely walk,” added Jon. “And
now my hard work has finally paid off and I’ve just completed a
Five additional PVHMC patients joined Jon in the annual holiday run/walk
Keith Blickenstaff, 58, of Apple Valley, underwent cardiac surgery and
has been a part of the Cardiac Rehabilitation program at PVHMC.
“The care I have received from the Cardiac Rehabilitation team has
helped to build my confidence and give me a more positive outlook on my
quality of life,” says Keith.
Due to a scheduling conflict on the date of the 5K, Keith decided to that
he could complete the first leg of the half marathon instead, which is
approximately 4.5 miles. PVHMC is proud to announce that Keith crossed
the finish line after finishing the entire half marathon!
Marvin Pitts, 63, of Pomona, began having problems with atrial fibrillation
(explanation), in 2012. After having a catheter ablation procedure done
at the Stead Heart and Vascular Center, and has since been a part of Rehabilitation
Services’ Cardiac Rehabilitation program. Marvin also makes sure
he stays in cardiovascular shape by coming to PVHMC’s Stead Health
and Wellness Gym every day.
“My doctor is always telling me that I need to get in shape and stay
in shape so that I can be healthy,” says Marvin. “I have never
done a 5K before, so I thought, what better way to challenge myself?”
Marvin completed the 5K with a combination of running and walking and added
that “this run is a big step in my personal commitment to health
John Hayes, 54, a Chino Hills resident, developed a calcium deposit in
his Achilles tendon. Inflammation and pain led him to seek therapy in
the Rehabilitation Services’ orthopedics program at the Pomona Valley
Health Center in Chino Hills.
“I’ve enjoyed running and mountain biking for many years,”
said John. “The pain I had in my Achilles tendon prevented me from
doing these things, but the excellent care I have received in this orthopedics
program has helped me get back in my running shoes and on my bike.”
Over the course his twelve week therapy program, he was back training for
half marathons and mountain biking without pain. Soon, John says he’ll
be able to start training for full marathons and triathlons again.
Zuhayry Plascencia, 2, of Montclair, has been a long-time patient at the
Milestones Center for Child Development, a Rehabilitation Services program
focusing on speech and language, physical therapy and occupational therapy
for pediatric patients. Her mother, Adalit, brought her to Milestones
due to issues related to prematurity, hydrocephalus, hemiparesis (weakness
on one side of the body) and feeding tube problems.
Through hard work and time with therapists at PVHMC, Zuhayry is now able
to walk, has more control of her body movements, and is even talking!
She completed a 100-ft. walk/run in the Kids Penguin Waddle and was presented
with her medal by two Marines at the finish line.
Billie Pate, 66, of Upland, came to Rehabilitation Services’ Occupational
Therapy program after a work injury left her with a crushed hand. With
more than seven months of therapy with PVHMC certified hand therapist,
Jiansan Ding, she has been able to gradually increase her range of motion.
“I couldn’t button a shirt, comb my hair or even brush my teeth,”
says Billie. “Now I am back at work full time. The therapy I received
at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center has brought my life back.”
Billie decided to participate in the 5K to gain back her confidence. With
another few months of therapy, she hopes to make a full recovery and continue
training for triathlons.
The Holiday Half Marathon, 5K & Kid’s Run is held each year at
the Fairplex in Pomona and is produced by Run Racing, LLC. Pomona Valley
Hospital Medical Center is a Gold Charity Partner; proceeds from fundraising
directly benefit Rehabilitation Services' Milestones Center for Child
Development and the Sports Medicine Center at PVHMC. For more information, visit
For more information about PVHMC’s Rehabilitation Services programs, visit
PHOTO: PVHMC’s “I Can Do It” Participants and members of the
Rehabilitation Services Team (from left to right): Joseph Baumgaertner,
Director of Rehabilitation Services, with Keith Beeman; Donald Kuy, Physical
Therapist, with John Hayes; Jon Blickenstaff with Jeff Ijadi, MD, Sports
Medicine Physician; Marines honoring Zuhayry Plascencia with her finish
line medal; Marvin Pitts with Rick Rossman, Associate Director of Rehabilitation
Services; and Billie Pate with Rick Rossman and Dr. Ijadi.