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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

Respiratory Therapy team walks it off at 3k race

November 24, 2015

Respiratory Therapy 3K Walk-Rancho CordovaRancho Cordova Respiratory Therapy students did not want to miss a chance to weigh in on the Pulmonary Hypertension Association’s ‘O2 Breathe Walk’ held on Oct. 10th at the Maidu Park in Roseville.

San Joaquin Valley College’s 11-member team, Auscultate This! helped raise $5,723 for the Pulmonary Hypertension Association to provide awareness about this disease to the community. Twelve teams of around 100-participants, along with another 100 spectators and supporters attended the event.

SJVC’s Auscultate This! team leaders and Respiratory Therapy students, Lacy Morelli and Kimberly Torres, felt a strong connection to this event on many levels.

“There were many people with hypertension that were participating in the walk that were using walkers, had oxygen tanks or were in wheelchairs and having their families push them,” says Lacy. “They had a lot of family support, and it was good to know that they are helping themselves, too.”

The morning event provided snacks, water, coffee, some DJ music and lots of interactive props for kids in the crowd, such as hula hoops, jump ropes and big bubble fun.

“This is the first year that this Walk has been done,” says Kim, who explains that Pulmonary Hypertension is not as well-known or talked about as many other diseases. “It’s great that the public is becoming more aware and that the community is starting to support it.”

Pulmonary Hypertension is a vascular disease of the lungs and heart that puts those who have it at great risk of physical debilitation and possibly death. Although there is no cure for hypertension, many healthy lifestyle changes can lessen the symptoms. As with many diseases, proper diet and exercise can have a positive impact, and appropriately prescribed medications are essential to disease management.

“And we are Respiratory Therapists, so don’t smoke!” emphasizes Kim from her therapeutic standpoint.

Lacy Morelli, Kim Torres and all of their fellow Respiratory Therapy students on the Rancho Cordova campus have chosen a career that will put them on the front lines of helping those who struggle with the very breaths they take. Participating in community service events that serve those who represent their future patients gives them a close look at the lives they will be serving…and saving.

“A lot of the events we go to are specifically for and involve people with lung diseases,” says Lacy. “I get to see how these people are living their lives and that they haven’t given up. They are using the life that I’m helping them to have.”

Community service and volunteerism are important and SJVC programs encourage participation because it introduces them to those they will serve; it is also an important opportunity for students to develop relationships with those service providers in their industries.

Rancho Cordova Respiratory Therapy students are always on the watch for other events to further their knowledge, patient understanding and career opportunities.

At the top is always their desire to connect with their patients at their deepest professional and human level. “We are the ones trying to give them that breath of life,” says Kim. “That’s why it’s important for us to go to these kinds of things.”

This service and sensitivity show Rancho Cordova Respiratory Therapy students at their best.