PENNSAUKEN TWP., N.J. – The Athletes with Disabilities Network Northeast recently hosted a 5K run and 1-mile run/walk to benefit its mentoring, outreach and adaptive sports programs. According to program officials, 211 people participated in the event, which was held at Cooper River Park. The event also benefited injured Atlantic City police officer Joshlee “Josh” Vadell, who sustained a gunshot wound to the head while attempting to stop a robbery on Sept. 3, 2016. Sources said Vadell is undergoing rehabilitation.
“Today is about education and awareness, and it is also about supporting one of our injured officers from the area, Josh Vadell,” Brandon Holiday, executive director of Athletes with Disabilities Network Northeast, told O&P News. “He had some setbacks today, so he will not be in attendance; but today is about spreading awareness for the ability of our disabled community members and what we can do to show it is not a disability. We may achieve our goals in a different way, but we still do the same things.”
Below knee amputees, visually impaired runners, those with spinal cord injuries and other disabled athletes were joined in the run by members of the Atlantic City Police Department, the Atlantic City Police Athletic League, the Cherry Hill Police Department and the Gloucester County Police Academy.
“We are out here today representing Josh, who came out with Athletes with Disabilities about 4 years ago, and supported our cause when we did a Mets-Phillies game fundraiser for Brandon Holiday, so we are paying back to Josh now,” John Waddell, a sergeant in the Atlantic City Police Department, said. “Unfortunately, he could not make it here today due to his injury, but he is on the road to rehabilitation, and we hope to see him Aug. 12 at the Phillies-Mets game fundraiser for Athletes with Disabilities.”
Joe Rusin, of Audubon, N.J., spent his 74th birthday participating in the 5K run. A lower limb amputee, Rusin said he would often run through the park years ago.
“I should be doing sit-ups, but I am doing this instead,” he said. “I usually do about 1,000 sit-ups for my birthday, but I wanted to come out for this and participate.” – by Jason Laday
Disclosure: The sources report no relevant financial disclosures.