The scene at Rice University's track and field stadium in Houston on May 6 was unlike most other events ever staged there. Nurses from the Shriner's Childrens Hospital escorted 30 young orthopaedic patients to the track for the second annual A Joint Parade.
Some of the patients in wheelchairs and others, babies still in hospital cribs pushed by nurses, slowly circled the track along with some 500 other participants. It was the patients' way to thank the orthopaedic community for improving their lives.
Scenes like this were duplicated throughout the United States as the orthopaedic community came together to celebrate and raise money for orthopaedic research.
Ninety-four year old orthopaedic surgeon Edward T. Smith, MD, was the master of ceremonies for the Houston events. Signaled by Dr. Smith, a hot air balloon ascended in the air to mark the start of the one-mile walk. The Houston Highlanders, a bagpipe band, played throughout the daylong event. The Shriner's Motor Corps drove their tiny antique cars beside the walkers. The Houston mounted police rode their horses along the walk route. John K. Dozier Jr., MD, was the site chairman for A Joint Parade in Houston.
In Baltimore, the atmosphere was just as enthusiastic. More than 1,200 individuals walked one mile for orthopaedic research on May 7.
The Baltimore police department's motorcycle division along with a bagpipe and jazz band led the walkers to Pier 6 at the Inner Harbor where the event was held.
A Joint Parade received a lot of media coverage in the Baltimore area. Johnny Unitas, former Baltimore Colts quarterback, provided support by appearing on a local television news show to talk about the event and his orthopaedic injury and recovery. Unitas recently had a bilateral knee replacement.
David S. Hungerford, MD, was the site chairman and John E. Kenzora, MD, was the co-chairman of the very successful walk in Baltimore.
Carl L. Nelson, MD, gathered more than 100 walkers for A Joint Parade in Little Rock, Ark.
Held in Park Plaza Mall, walkers engaged in some warm-up exercises demonstrated by a local physical therapist before beginning their one-mile walk throughout the mall. A local retirement community group, the Woodland Heights Wonders, entertained onlookers by performing country and western line dancing.
Local television morning news anchor Robyn Lowery was the event's master of ceremonies throughout the day. Lowery encouraged the volunteers to "keep on walking for this very important cause."
The individuals who organized A Joint Parade in Little Rock are already making plans for next year's walk. They are organizing a fall seminar to encourage other cities in Arkansas to promote A Joint Parade in their communities. For more information about the seminar, contact Shonna Williams, (501) 686-8583.
A Joint Parade was held at 60 sites this year and more are planned in the coming months. Last year, more than $1 million was raised to fund orthopaedic research and education programs.
Fifty percent of the funds raised at each walk goes to the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation to fund peer-reviewed grants across the country. The remaining 50 percent stays in the local community that held A Joint Parade to fund local orthopaedic research and education programs at qualified nonprofit organizations.
A Joint Parade was developed by OREF along with the American Orthopaedic Association and the Academy. For more information about organizing a walk in your community, contact A Joint Parade national office, (800) 835-6733.
More than 500 people participated in A Joint Parade in Houston.
Among the thousands of people across the nation who celebrated the mobility they regained from orthopaedic treatments, are these women in Houston where 500 persons participated in A Joint Parade.