Laura’s Story: Running Broad Street after Brain Injury

Former patient Laura Torchin is just days away from achieving her goal of running her very first Blue Cross Broad Street Run. Originally from South Jersey, Laura studied at Temple University and Nova Southeastern University before starting her career as a Physician Assistant. Today, she’s raising a 20-month-old son and continues to spend time at Magee, not only as a patient, but also as a Foundation Board member and committee member for the Night of Champions event. Laura shares with us the challenges and triumphs of training for a ten mile race.

Marissa Montenegro (MM): Tell us what first brought you to Magee as a patient.

Laura Torchin (LT): I came to Magee after a fall left me with a broken spine at 3 levels, traumatic brain injury as well as many other broken bones. At Magee, I worked with the Doctors and Nurses, Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Art Therapy.

MM: What made you decide to run the Blue Cross Broad Street Run?

LT: I have always wanted to take part in a race but wasn’t sure I could after my accident. Then last year, I stood on the sidelines with the rest of the Team Magee Cheering squad. I was so inspired by some of the participants, patients like me, who overcame great odds to take part in this event. So this year, when I had heard that Team Magee was recruiting runners for the Broad Street Run to raise money for the Wheelchair Sports Program, I figured why not try to run again? I have met some of the wheelchair athletes and realize how integral wheelchair sports are to their quality of life and feeling of well-being. I also want to instill in my son the importance of being a part of something and supporting such a worthy cause.

MM: Can you describe what training has been like?

LT: Training has been tough, especially when I was heading out to run on those chilly days, even running in the sleet and snow! When I think about stopping and feel I can’t take one more step, I continue on, driven by the fact that one more step isn’t always possible for everyone.

MM: Are there any lessons you learned in rehab that are helping you with the training process?

LT: As a patient at Magee, my doctors and therapists taught me to believe… believe in myself and anything is possible. I also learned to never give up. Be grateful for what you can do, and don’t dwell on what you can’t do.

Top photo: Laura, her husband, Brian, and their son celebrate the groundbreaking of Magee’s Creative Therapy Center & Healing Gardens.

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