LAPD SWAT “Runs for Kids Who Can’t” in LA Marathon

Sunday, March 2, 2008 @ 03:03 PM Author:
LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–March 1, 2001 On your mark, get set, go! Those are the words that echo through the ears of thousands of runners who complete the Los Angeles Marathon annually. To them, feeling the thrill of competition and the exhilaration of running across the finish line is unparalleled. Johnny Garcia, age 15, thought he would never know the feeling of running across a finish line, because he was born with cerebral palsy, a disorder that affects muscle control, resulting in poor coordination and balance or abnormal movement patterns. After 18 surgeries at Los Angeles Orthopaedic Hospital on Johnny’s feet, legs, back, and ankle, he is able to walk with a walker and take part in activities previously thought impossible. Now, on March 4th, Johnny will be able to pursue his dream of participating in the Los Angeles Marathon, with the help of his friends on the LAPD SWAT Team, who will push him in a wheelchair during the race. “I’m excited to be able to participate in the Marathon,” exclaimed Johnny Garcia. “And with LAPD SWAT Team helping me, it’s really unbelievable. I like those guys and maybe someday I can be on the SWAT Team,” he said. Johnny’s mother, Carmen Garcia, added, “Orthopaedic Hospital and the therapy department have been very good to Johnny. Everyone at the Hospital really cares about the patients.” Twenty-six SWAT Team officers will take turns pushing Johnny in a special lightweight, sports wheelchair as they run 26.2 miles in the world’s fourth largest marathon. This experience allows youngsters, like Johnny, to participate in an event of such magnitude. “We are truly grateful to the LAPD SWAT Team for being such strong supporters of Orthopaedic Hospital, and for giving Johnny this once in a lifetime opportunity to complete the LA Marathon,” said Eloise Helwig, President of Los Angeles Orthopaedic Hospital Foundation. “SWAT’s ongoing support of the Hospital is greatly appreciated, and it truly brightens the lives of our children who get to meet these real life heroes,” she added. Many Orthopaedic Hospital pediatric and adult patients have serious medical conditions that prohibit them from running or walking. Orthopaedic Hospital has been dedicated to treating underinsured children with crippling disorders, without regard to their family’s ability to pay. For many years, LAPD SWAT has been supportive of Orthopaedic Hospital’s efforts and gives hope and inspiration to hospitalized children. A variety of events, including an annual Holiday parade and toy drive, as well as the Los Angeles Marathon, have further strengthened the bond between the two organizations. “Helping Johnny achieve his wish of completing a marathon is something that motivates all of us, and provides us with a perspective on life,” said Lt. Mike Albanese of the LAPD SWAT Team. “It’s the children who are treated at Orthopaedic Hospital who are our real heroes,” he added. Since 1967, the Los Angeles Police Department’s Special Weapons And Tactics Team (SWAT) has provided a ready response to situations that were beyond the capabilities of normally equipped and trained Department personnel. Since its inception, LAPD SWAT Team members have effected the safe rescue of numerous hostages, arrested scores of violent suspects and earned hundreds of commendations and citations, including several Medals of Valor, the Department’s highest award for heroism in the line of duty. Today, the LAPD SWAT Team is known worldwide as one of the foremost police tactical units in contemporary law enforcement. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, Orthopaedic Hospital is a recognized world leader in research, teaching and patient care in orthopaedic medicine, resulting in an improved quality of life for children and adults with crippling diseases. For over 88 years, Orthopaedic Hospital has been helping children afflicted with crippling conditions receive the finest care in the world and lead healthy, active lives without regard to the family’s ability to pay. The Orthopaedic Hospital Foundation supports the Hospital through a variety of fund-raising activities, including the annual Paul Runyan Golf Tournament, which provides monetary support for the Hospital to help countless children. For more information about Orthopaedic Hospital Foundation, please visit the website at, or call (213) 742-1500.

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One Response to “LAPD SWAT “Runs for Kids Who Can’t” in LA Marathon”

  1. Would someone please tell me how our reserve unit in Hollywood would be able to purchase the T-shirt worn by the officers who ran the LA Marathon in memory of Officer Simmons. I would like to purchase several and I am sure other officers of my unit would also like to buy some. Officer Simmons leaves a hole in the family of humanity and we must never forget him. God Bless his family. With love, Barry Jenner (R2543)