Run Vinny, Run!

Meet Vinny. 

Vinny is brilliant.  He is an artist. He plays 3 instruments. He sings. He writes songs and poetry. He has his PhD. He is a scientist, biologist, and ecologist. He immerses himself in the world around him. He is an outdoorsman. He camps and hikes. He swims and bikes. But, most of all, Vinny loves to run.  

Vinny is a friend. He cares about you, about me, and about the world we all share. He truly lives and completely loves. He is the dreamer at heart that we all aspire to be.

Vinny's talents, compassion, and love of life know no bounds.... well, except for this one small thing....

Vinny could lose part of his leg.  

Vinny was in a terrible car accident in 1969 that nearly severed his ankle.  A vascular surgeon reattached his foot as well as possible at the time. But, the nerve endings were not properly reconnected and he lost his heel. The accident left his leg deformed and he has been living in a state of constant and irreversible pain ever since. The resulting complications have only worsened over time.

4 different specialists have now suggested that he have his leg amputated below the knee. 

While this would be an elective surgery, the potential for phantom pain and the trauma of having to lose part of his leg is just unbearable to consider. Put yourself in his shoes, and imagine how it might feel to lose one of them. 

Vinny is now 73. After the unexpected loss of his wife, he sold his house and moved to a remote cabin off the grid to find peace and simplicity.  However, despite the beautiful setting, it is a strenuous lifestyle.  With age and his arthritic condition, just getting around his cabin is a nearly impossible task. His immobility has escalated to a point where he can barely walk.   He barely sleeps. He often wakes up screaming from the pain he experiences. 

But, Vinny has never given up.

Through his continuous quest to find a solution that doesn't involve a cloudy dependence on prescription opiates, or committing himself to an assisted living facility, he has finally found a way to realize his dream of running again.

He has the opportunity to change his course and regain the physical life that pushes him on and completes his soul. He has been accepted into a spot at the renowned Hanger Clinic in Gig Harbor, WA for a life-changing prosthesis through the ExoSym program. 

The Hanger Clinic was founded to help amputees after the Civil War.  ExoSym devices have since been developed to help soldiers returning from Afghanistan and Iraq avoid amputation. It is now a miracle solution offered to civilians who seek the relief of pain-free movement. With an ExoSym prosthesis and treatment, Vinny may finally run again.

But, Vinny needs our help.

The total costs of achieving this goal will cost him $10,000. Medicare will only pay for a small fraction of what he needs, so he has to pay out of pocket for both the prosthesis and the rigorous physical therapy and adjustments that follow. He must travel cross-country twice, from NY to WA. He will embark in his trailer with his cat as his co-pilot, camping for free where he can. He has to afford the expenses stemming from such a journey - tolls, food, gas, and whatever else may happen along the way.

Together, we can give Vinny a leg to stand on. 

Each donation, big or small, will help Vinny get back on his feet. Whether it's for a tank of gas, a day of treatment, or just one piece of the prothesis, anything helps.

Vinny is dedicated to pursuing a fulfilling life.  He is intent on running freely again. Amputation is simply not an option for such a fiercely independent soul. We have the power to help him realize his dream of living without agonizing pain. 


Below is a link to the Facebook page created in Vinny's honor. Here, you can see photos, tell jokes, read stories, and hear songs Vinny writes about his journey. It is the best place to track his progress and offer him your support.

No one deserves compassion and assistance more than Vinny. He gives his all to everyone he meets. We just need to give a small part of ourselves to help make a lifelong dream come true for a wonderful human being. Please, give what you can.


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Shelly DeGolyer 
Minneapolis, MN
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