WVU Medicine physical therapist Tom Druge has been a runner for decades, but he has never been able to participate in the WVU Medicine Stride 5K. Since it began in 1993, Druge has helped organize the charitable race with WVU Medicine Rehabilitation Services. He’s happy to remain on the sidelines and coordinate an event that raises money for cystic fibrosis patients and honors the memory of Richard “Rick” Rosenbaum.
“It has been a labor of love,” Druge said. “Perhaps one day, I will get to run in the Stride. I’d like that.”
Rosenbaum, who was treated for cystic fibrosis at WVU from birth, died at age 36 in 1995. “Rick was the first patient I met on my first day working at Ruby,” Druge said. “He was here often for treatments at least 2-3 days a week. His mom, Hilda, was a force to be reckoned with. She was somebody who could make things happen. Before Hilda died, she asked us to continue doing this race for Rick. So here we are.”
Rosenbaum was a dedicated advocate for children’s programs associated with the hospital, a local businessman, and a good friend to many of the organizers of the Stride 5K. His family created the Richard Rosenbaum Memorial Fund for WVU Medicine patients who are cared for at the WVU Mountain State Cystic Fibrosis Center. The fund provides financial assistance to help patients manage cystic fibrosis and other respiratory conditions.
“If somebody is there at the clinic with an immediate need for treatment, a social worker can access money from the fund, and the patient can get what he or she needs right away,” Druge said.
“The Rosenbaum fund is indispensable to the Mountain State Cystic Fibrosis Center in Morgantown,” director Kathryn Moffett, MD, said. “It’s through this fund that support is possible for things that normally would not be covered or available for our patients with cystic fibrosis.”
“Take Pride in your Stride” is the theme of the 24th annual WVU Medicine Stride 5K, which will take place at 9 am on Saturday, Sept. 24, in Morgantown. Participants may run or walk the course, and the race includes several unique traditions for kids and adults.
A special arts and crafts area designated for children will keep little ones occupied and supervised while parents complete the race. Once the adult race is finished, kids get to have a race of their own.
Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three male and female finishers in the 5K run – $150, first place; $100, second; and $50, third. Prizes also will be awarded to the age group, heavyweight, and WVU Medicine/WVU Health Sciences employee winners in the 5K run, and to the top three men and women who finish the 5K walk. All participants are eligible for door drawings, including fresh-baked pies.
Druge and race organizers from Rehabilitation Services feel a sense of pride keeping the race going for Rosenbaum and patients all these years. “Over 24 years of this doing this race, we’ve been able to raise more than $50,000 in Rick’s memory and to help improve lives. That’s a good feeling.”
For more race details, visit www.wvumedicine.org/stride5k or call 304-598-4118. If you’d like to make an additional donation to the Richard Rosenbaum Memorial Fund, please include your contribution with your race entry fee.