Houston surgeon returns to paralyzed scene and hosts virtual 5K

Dr Rex Marco was spending long hours at Memorial Park mountain biking and training before his 2019 spinal cord injury when he flipped his handlebars on one of the park’s trails.

Now, with all four limbs paralyzed and diagnosed as quadriplegic, Marco and a team of his supporters are preparing to return to the park for the first time since his injury for the second annual edition. Reeve Run & Roll Virtual 5k.

“The park holds a very special place in my heart and in my mind,” said Marco. “I don’t know how it’s going to be that day, but I’m sure it will be both a sad and a happy time for me.”

From September 25 to October 3, participants of all athletic abilities will converge to run, ride, bike, swim, surf, dribble, walk and support spinal cord research anyway and wherever they can.

Virtual 5k is hosted by the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, an organization dedicated to healing spinal cord injuries through research and improving their quality of life. The organization has a unique mission: to challenge the idea that the spinal cord can never be recovered or repaired after an injury.

In November 2020, Marco donated $ 1.1 million to the Foundation to help accelerate research and provide support to those affected by paralysis. To this day, Marco is the Foundation’s Chief Medical Ambassador.

Prior to his injury, Marco was a nationally recognized spine surgeon and musculoskeletal oncologist at the Methodist Hospital in Houston. He entered the profession because he wanted to save lives in high-risk cases, such as surgery on paralyzed people in car crashes and cancer patients with spinal tumors.

Today, Marco has four sons, including a one-year-old who will probably never see him walk.

“I knew I would probably never hold my unborn baby,” Marco said in a statement. “I wanted to do what Christopher Reeve did, help raise funds for research and help find cures for people with spinal cord injuries.”

To date, Team Marco, his fundraising team, has raised $ 29,699.14 of their goal of $ 50,000, from 205 donors. The Reeve Run & Roll Ensemble raised $ 117,656.53 of its goal of $ 400,000, with 804 donors.

“The more, the better,” said Marco. With more participants, the fund will get more donations, which will lead to greater awareness of spinal cord research, which is Marco’s ultimate goal.

Joy Posoli, who has lived opposite Marco in Bellaire since the early 2000s, sees Marco as an inspiration even before his injury. After the injury, the Posoli family was devastated.

“Like everyone, I wanted to do something, I wanted to be there and when that opportunity presented itself I took it, it was my pleasure,” Posoli said. Marco asked Posoli to sit on the Marco Fund Advisory Board and she immediately did.

Posoli said Marco’s take on his injury and his “radical acceptance” of it rubs off on everyone who knows him. Marco once told Posoli that his first 50 years were a life and had his purpose, but now he’s in the second half of his life with a new purpose.

“You are looking at this man who has had a completely life changing experience and he is so at peace and ready to understand where and how he is now going to be used,” Posoli said.

“He could have gone to a very dark place and he said he wouldn’t let that happen,” Posoli said.

To learn more about how to participate in the Reeve Run & Roll, visit reeverunroll21.funraise.org.

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