Last weekend, KU Alumni Association staff members Jacey Krehbiel and Emily Ellison, alumni programs coordinators, traveled west to Garden City for Beef Empire Days, an area-wide celebration of the beef industry in southwest Kansas that includes a rodeo, parade and other events. The trip was part of our annual ‘Hawk Days of Summer effort to connect with as many Jayhawks as possible.
The Great Plains Chapter was represented in Saturday’s parade, and Baby Jay made an appearance also. After the parade, KU alumni and friends were invited to take photos with Baby Jay at Stevens Park.
A favorite quote from the trip: “Now that’s ground beef,” by the announcer at the rodeo about a 2000-pound bull lying on the ground. Hey, we don’t have many opportunities to watch rodeos in Lawrence.
Click here to see photos from the trip, or watch the slideshow below. You’re welcome to download photos for personal use. Thanks to all the Jayhawks in western Kansas who joined us, we appreciate your support!
Rattlesnakes. Burning sun. No shade. High winds. Blistered feet.
Those are just a few of the trials and tribulations that Sandra Billinger, g’04, PhD’09, has endured in her Walk Across Kansas, which began earlier this month on the Colorado state line near Coolidge.
An assistant professor in the School of Health Professions’ department of physical therapy and rehabilitation sciences and director of KU Medical Center’s REACH (Research in Exercise and Cardiovascular Health) laboratory, Billinger is undertaking the 572-mile walk with her son, Michael Thomas, to raise $50,000 for laboratory equipment. As reported in the May issue of Kansas Alumni, the equipment will enable Billinger and her research team to study the benefits of exercise during stroke recovery.
Billinger says her studies have shown that stroke patients are sedentary during more than 90 percent of their day in rehab. She believes a more active therapy–similar to the approach that gets heart patients up and moving as part of their treatment–may be a better strategy for stroke recovery.
Updates posted on the Walk Across Kansas Facebook page and website show plenty of high points to balance the challenges the pair have encountered on their trek, which traces the American Discovery Trail. Michael celebrated his 20th birthday with family along the route, a good Samaritan returned Billinger’s lost hat, and talks delivered to local groups–including a meeting of the Great Plains chapter of the KU Alumni Association in Garden City–have given Billinger a chance to discuss her research and the important role that KU plays in serving the health care needs of the state. She has also reconnected with former patients and made new friends along the way.
“The hospitality here has been fabulous,” Billinger wrote in one update. “People are very nice!”
Billinger and Thomas are nearing Larned as the Memorial Day weekend approaches. They invite Kansans to join any portion of their walk, which will conclude in early June at the KU Medical Center. Just bring comfortable shoes, plenty of water and a keen eye for snakes.
Thanks to all the Jayhawks who attended our Great Plains Chapter Reception and Golf Tournament Thursday and Friday at the Golf Club at Southwind in Garden City. The Garden City Telegram wrote a nice story about women’s basketball coach Bonnie Henrickson’s comments at the reception about her high hopes for next year’s team.
View photos from the golf tournament above, or click here to view them on Flickr.