Overcoming Challenges

Overcoming Challenges

Physically-challenged athletes will compete alongside their able-bodied counterparts – and raise much-needed funds along the way – at the upcoming Loma Linda University PossAbilities Triathlon.

About 600 athletes are expected to participate in the Loma Linda University PossAbilities Triathlon, presented by the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, a 5k run/walk/roll and kids’ triathlon set for April 29, at Loma Linda University Drayson Center.

The triathlon celebrates its 10th year, and its first year as a fundraising event that will benefit programs offered by Loma Linda University PossAbilities. Participants who raise money could receive prizes at an opportunity drawing, including an iPad, a 42″ flat-screen TV and a small drawing tablet.

Registration for the event opens at 5:30 a.m., and the adult 5k and triathlon (5k run, 11 mile bike, 150 yard swim in the Drayson Center pool) starts at 7a.m. Registration for the kids’ triathlon starts around 9a.m. The Drayson Center is located at 25040 Stewart St. in Loma Linda.

The event is organized by Loma Linda University PossAbilities, a nonprofit outreach program of Loma Linda University Medical Center East Campus. The program seeks to provide for the physical, social and emotional needs of the people who are physically challenged.

“No matter what activity, it is our goal that our physically-challenged members of the community reach their highest potential,” PossAbilities manager Pedro Payne said.

One such physically-challenged athlete is Andre Barbieri, 31, of Santa Barbara. Barbieri, whose left leg was amputated after an accident during a trip to Mammoth Mountain last year, will represent team PossAbilities at the triathlon. He credits the program for giving him a grant to get a biking leg and a bicycle and helping him adjust following the accident.

“Because i grew up in sports and led my life based on physical activities, to find PossAbilities in my way was a true blessing,” he said. “In a few days, I’ll be proudly representing them at the 10th anniversary of the PossAbilities Triathlon.”