Cycle, step to Save-A-Limb

August 31, 2006|By Sam Sessa | Sam Sessa,Sun Reporter

After spending nearly 20 years lengthening limbs, Dr. Dror Paley decided it was time to organize a fundraiser.

Not that the orthopedic surgeon or his workplace, Sinai Hospital's International Center for Limb Lengthening, are without donations. Some patients started giving money nearly two decades ago, which prompted Paley to establish the Save-A-Limb Fund. Other patients organized tennis and golf events. But Paley himself never actively raised money to help fund research and further development for treating children and adults with limb deformities.

Until now, that is, when the Save-A-Limb Bike Tour, Trail Run and Walk comes to Oregon Ridge Park on Sunday. The day-long event features bike rides of 60, 30 and 15 miles, a 5K trail run and a one-mile walk. The goal is to raise funds for new $10 million clinical and research facilities and to raise awareness of Paley's work.

"We have such a great cause, and nobody knows about it," Paley said. "You say diabetes, you say heart disease, you say cancer and everybody immediately has an image. We realized that we don't have an image."

So Sunday's event is "part of our way of creating an image, a healthy image for this kind of surgery, creating awareness that kids are losing their limbs unnecessarily and that our center is really one of the few places in the country or the world that is able to do surgery to save those kids' legs," Paley said. "We want to create that awareness because we think it's a good cause."

Paley, a director of the Rubin Institute for Advanced Orthopedics, develops operations to save limbs of people with birth defects, deformities and post-traumatic problems. The most common treatment for these patients is amputation -- a practice Paley aims to avoid.

"Over one third of the patients that come to see us have been recommended to have an amputation at other centers," Paley said. "Instead of having an amputation, we're able to basically save those limbs from being amputated."

The center performs about 1,500 limb reconstruction surgeries a year, with a 97 percent success rate, Paley said.

An avid cyclist, Paley registered for the 60-mile ride. On Sunday, he plans to see former patients completing events from the 1K walk to the longer bicycle rides.

Outback Steakhouse will cater a picnic after the events, and Capitol City Brewing Company will provide beer.

The Save-A-Limb Bike Tour, Trail Run and Walk is 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday at Oregon Ridge Park, 13401 Beaver Dam Road in Cockeysville. On-site registration is 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Saturday at the park. Helmets are required. Adults must accompany riders younger than 16. Registration fees vary. Call 410-601-2483 or visit savealimb ride.org.

sam.sessa@baltsun.com

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