Marathon bringing Driscoll weight management patients together
May 01, 2013
Jamie Bluntzer, 20, is preparing for the 2013 Beach to Bay Relay Marathon.
CORPUS CHRISTI - Crossing the finish line at last year's Beach to Bay Relay Marathon was a proud accomplishment for Jamie Bluntzer. At this year's event, she's taking her goal to the next level.
"I'm more nervous about it this year," she said of the May 18 race. "Last year the goal was to finish. This year I'm putting pressure on myself to run a better time. If I'm going to do it, I'm going to try my best."
Bluntzer will have a special connection to three of her teammates: They've undergone lap band surgery at Driscoll Children's Hospital to control their weight. Two more teammates will be staff from Driscoll's Adolescent Weight Management Program. The lap band procedure helps patients lose and control their weight by the attachment of an adjustable band around the stomach that decreases sensations of hunger. Thirty patients have received lap band surgery at Driscoll since the program began in 2009.
Mohammad Emran, MD, pediatric surgeon at Driscoll Children's Hospital, is providing the team with t-shirts emblazoned with their name, the "Bandsters," for race day. He said joining a Beach to Bay team is something his weight management patients may not have considered previously.
"It gives them an added goal on which to focus their efforts and an accomplishment that breaks through their previous limitations."
Patients who joined the team were excited at the opportunity, said Rachel Glover, coordinator for the Adolescent Weight Management Program and a member of the team.
"I think for some of them, they weren't capable of participating in an event like this in the past. This can help increase their accountability for sticking with a workout routine."
Bluntzer, 20, underwent lap band surgery in March 2010. She said she weighed about 270 lbs. before the operation and weighs about 175 lbs. now. Driven by a competitive spirit, she has been training for Beach to Bay by working out at the gym and running along Ocean Drive with her best friend. She hopes to run her leg of the race - the sixth and last - in under an hour.
"I was never in shape enough in high school to do this," said Bluntzer, a political science and pre-law major at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. "It's proof that I've changed."