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Dean Goldschmidt and Marc Buoniconti Cross the Finish Line at ING Marathon

2/1/2010

As runners and their battered feet crossed the Biscayne Boulevard finish line of the ING Marathon and Half Marathon Sunday morning, the nearly 18,000 men and women signaled victory in various ways: Some raised their hands in triumph, some struck happy poses, and some collapsed in the arms of marathon officials who promptly took them to be checked out by Miller School physicians and volunteers who staffed a UHealth clinic at the event.

Among the throng of triumphant was Marc Buoniconti, President of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis and The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis, who rolled his wheelchair across the finish line with Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., by his side. They broke out in smiles and Dean Goldschmidt, who was participating in his third ING Marathon, made the victory symbol and then hoisted a sign that said, "Run for those who can't."

Dean Goldschmidt, who ran the half marathon, and Buoniconti, who joined the Dean for the last stretch, coordinated the joint victory lap to help bring more attention to the efforts of the Miller School physicians and scientists and their partners who move closer every day to curing paralysis.

"Every day of his life Marc shows tremendous courage, provides a role model for his colleagues and friends, and proves to all of us that anything is possible - including that one day he and thousands of others will be able to leave their wheelchairs and walk," Goldschmidt said. "It was an honor and a pleasure to pass the finish line of this long-distance race side-by-side with Marc."

More than 60 wheelchair athletes with disabilities participated in Sunday's marathon.

"It was a true honor to cross the finish line of the marathon with my good friend Dr. Goldschmidt," Buoniconti said. "He stands side-by-side with us as we try to accomplish our goal of curing paralysis at The Miami Project, and crossing the line together made me think of the day when I, and the millions of others affected by spinal cord injuries, will be able to stand and walk across our finish line."

Goldschmidt and Buoniconti were among many UM faculty, staff and students who participated in the marathon, half marathon and associated events. University of Miami Health System (UHealth) was again the medical sponsor and staffed a large tent where 300 patients were treated on Sunday.

Mark G. McKenney, M.D., M.B.A., chief of surgery at University of Miami Hospital and medical director at Ryder Trauma Center, said 40 runners required intravenous fluids and the most common injuries were chaffing, cramping and dehydration. Four patients were hospitalized and all were expected to do well.

"The enthusiasm level of the runners was energizing for the medical team and the community," McKenney said. "The University of Miami medical team was happy to donate their time and effort for such a spectacular event."