Thursday, March 17, 2016

From COMP to 5K: Going the Extra Mile for the NICU

Every Father's Day, GBMC's campus is flooded with people running, jogging and walking a 5K to benefit the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Sounds overwhelming? Prepare to be inspired by Team COMPto5K, a group of more than 125 Comprehensive Obesity Management Program (COMP) patients participating in the event. "There is no reason to be nervous or scared about a 5K," says COMP patient Angie Obrigkeit. "It's about getting out there and doing your best."

The members of the COMPto5K Team have all had (or are scheduled to have) weight loss surgery and have been training for the 5K together since December, meeting for weekly group workouts. "I never thought for one second I would ever be a runner. Now I look in the mirror and see an athlete," Angie says.

Dr. Elizabeth Dovec, one of GBMC's board-certified surgeons who performs weight loss surgery, is amazed at Team COMPto5K’s success. "I see patients' excitement and confidence growing as their positive changes pay off," she says. "It's one of the coolest things I've ever been a part of, and it's made me a more empathetic and sensitive physician."

Dr. Dovec started an online community – – where patients share recipes, inspirational photos, tips and most importantly, support. "I love the camaraderie," says COMP patient Sean Miller. "We progress as a group and celebrate each other's victories. I've reached out to the group for help. Now I strive to be a mentor for others. It's been life-changing."

Beyond conquering personal goals, race participants are raising money for the NICU, which provides round-the-clock care for sick newborns and premature infants. All 5K proceeds will help the NICU to maintain its sensitive equipment and technology, which is critical to caring for fragile babies.

The race will take place on Sunday, June 19 at 8 a.m. and though there are awards and prizes, the COMPto5K team knows it's not about coming in first. "There is nothing competitive about it," Angie says. "Don't forget to pat yourself on the back and be proud. In this case, trying is succeeding."

Click here to register for GBMC's 28th annual Father's Day 5K. If you'd rather cheer from the sidelines, you can still play an important role in supporting GBMC's tiniest patients: fundraise for the NICU by making a race pledge to support a friend or family member, or simply make a donation.

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