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September 12, 2009 - Operation Walk Denver Restores the Joy of Walking

What: The 2009 Walk of Dreams Gala

Where: Marriott Denver City Center at 1701 California Street

When: Saturday, September 12, 2009

Time: 6 p.m.

Ticket Prices: $150

Beneficiary: Operation Walk Denver

Executive Director: Dr. Dougals Dennis

Staff: Deana Alfonso, Ed Ammon, Rhonda Cooperman, Gina Erickson, Laura Fitch, Lana Flemmer, Jackie Greene, Dan Hainault, Karen Johnson, Peggy Morrison, Aileen Paez, Ann Pinelli and Steve Younger

Music: Kahuna Beach Party

Of note: Emeritus: Mark Leonard, R. Jerry Overgaard and Rosie Fedorowicz

Sponsors: Rocky Mountain Adventist Healthcare Foundation; Big Dreams sponsor: Dr. Douglas and Debra Dennis; Platinum Sponsors: Borgen Family Foundation and Colorado Anesthesia Consultants; Gold Sponsors: Porter Center for Joint Replacement and Dr. and Mrs. Andrew Fedorowicz; Silver Sponsors: Derick Levy, Active Motion Physical Therapy, Dr. Barb Allen, Brownstien Hyatt Farber Schreck, Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics, Dr. Lance Little, Porter Perioperative Services, Radiology Imaging Associates and Zimmer Rocky Mountain.

Auctioneer: Gary Corbett - Auctioneer

Attendance: Approximately 275

Attire: Tropical

Event Coordinator: Laura Fitch, Jim Boyle, Jackie Gorman and Peggy Kettler

Board of Directors: Dr. Barbara Allen, James Boyle, Stephanie Clements, Dr. Douglas Dennis, Mike Durbin, Steve Etkind, Dr. Brain Haas, Randy Haffner, Jan Helen, Molly Hughes, Karen Johnson, Derick Levy, Tim McTavish, Dr. Todd Miner and Budd Zuckerman

Blacktie Photos by: Danielle Yuthas

 Executive Director Dr. Douglas Dennis (left), Debbie Dennis, Anne Hackstock and Nick Hackstock
Executive Director Dr. Douglas Dennis (left), Debbie Dennis, Anne Hackstock and Nick Hackstock

The fourth annual Walk of Dreams gala benefiting Operation Walk of Denver offered an evening of music, dance and fine dining as well as a glimpse at the work of the amazing Operation Walk Denver team and surgeons. As the Hawaiian shirts streamed into the Marriott Denver City Center at 1701 California on September 12, 2009, it was about more than mingling. Guests felt an appreciation for the gift of mobility and as you danced to the Beach-Boy band, Kahuna Beach Party, you refused to take for granted your ability to walk and dance and you were compelled to help others to that end.  

Operation Walk Denver aims to send teams to two countries in 2010.  Each trip transports a team of physicians, nurses, physical therapists and surgical technologists equipped with enough supplies and medication to complete 50 to 70 joint replacement surgeries. On the most recent trip to Panama, they were able to accomplish 78 successful joint replacements. Many of the medical professionals who elect to go on the trip, donate one of their two total weeks of vacation per year to help individuals in foreign communities by working 12 and 14-hour days. Dr. Todd Miner, Board Chairman of Operation Walk Denver said, "From each team member I hear the common sentiment, 'the smiles and hugs from the patients and their families are far more fulfilling than any monetary reward they receive for work at home.'"

Many people Operation Walk helps have severe arthritis and are not able to work to provide for their families. In a number of cases, individuals must walk considerable distances for the chance to have the joint surgically corrected. Dr. Miner said, "On our mission trip in April 2009 one gentleman walked seven miles from his home in a desolate part of Panama City just to say 'thank you' to me for replacing his arthritic hip two years earlier. It was an overwhelming and life-changing moment for me."

Allowing someone to walk again has an unimaginable impact on the individual's life, allowing them the chance restore a functioning lifestyle. Dr. Miner said, "there is hardly a greater gift than to allow someone to walk again by replacing their arthritic hip or knee." And as they prepare for their next mission, "now, more than ever, I am proud of and grateful for the caring and hard work of the Op Walk team members," he added. 

Operation Walk of Denver would like to thank all of the attendees and generous donors. In 2008, Operation Walk embarked on a campaign to build an endowment, a permanent fund that is guaranteed six percent interest from Adventist Health Systems, to ensure the future of the project. The goal is to grow it to $4.2 million and this year a family anonymously donated $500,000 to the endowment. A contribution that made the 2009 trip to Panama possible was an in kind donation of the joints used in the surgeries, contributed by DePuy Orthopedics. Countries served by Operation Walk Denver are Panama and the Dominican Republic and Guatemala is in the plans for 2010. Operation Walk Denver continues to inspire and generate resources to provide compassionate surgical care for those with debilitating arthritis in developing countries.

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