September 19, 2002
Price, neuroscience research win big at Reunion Race
By Collin Johnson
Health and Research News Service
FLOWOOD, Miss.—It took everything he had, but Doug Price held off a hungry field of challengers to take yet another overall victory in the annual Reunion Race.
Price led a field of wheelchair racers, runners and walkers over the 5K course in what was the largest race in the event’s 17-year history. More than 350 participated in either the run, walk or one-mile fun run.
Since a 1982 motorcycle accident left him a paraplegic, Price, of Corinth, has been one of the more decorated wheelchair racers in the southeast. This year he cruised to the finish line just ahead of three-time paralympian Wiley Clark of Moss Point.
Seventeen years ago the race began as a reunion for former Methodist Rehabilitation Center patients who returned to the hospital to visit and thank the staff who cared for them.
Those reunions remain an essential part of the race, but now the event also serves another purpose—to raise money for research that will someday change the lives of those who have suffered traumatic brain or spinal cord injuries.
At Methodist Rehab’s Center for Neuroscience and Neurological Recovery a team of dedicated researchers work to better understand and hopefully cure brain, spinal cord and other orthopedic and neurological diseases and disorders. Proceeds from Reunion Race will go directly to the CNNR.
That research has benefited patients like Cory Hunter, a 21 year-old Petal resident who suffered a traumatic brain injury when he fell from a rope swing and landed headfirst 20 feet below on soapstone rocks. When he arrived at Methodist Rehab, Hunter was unable to blink his eyes or speak. But four months later, he walked out the Jackson hospital’s doors.
For the first time Hunter ran in the race and said he was happy to help the hospital that helped him. “These people treated me like their own son. I can’t tell you how much it meant to me,” he said. “I’ll do anything I can to help them raise money to help others like me.”
That’s also why Price comes back each year to compete in the wheelchair race. “I love this hospital,” he said. “They taught me how to live again. If it wasn’t for Methodist Rehab and (therapeutic recreation director) Ginny Boydston, I don’t know what I’d be doing now, but it wouldn’t be winning races.”
For organizers these stories of courage and commitment make this event special.
“This race just seems to get better each year,” said Mark Adams, president and CEO Methodist Rehab. “It takes a lot of hard work to make it happen, but when you see the looks on everyone’s face and you see how much it means to them, you know it’s all been worthwhile.”
Hundreds of runners and wheelchair racers from across the state gathered in Flowood to raise money for neuroscience research at Methodist Rehabilitation Center.