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Vol. LXII, No. 9
April 30, 2010
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Inaugural ‘Halo Chase’ Draws Crowd

On the front page...

The NIH Health’s Angels Running Club “Halo Chase” was such a success in its inaugural year, it’s already taking its place among the campus’s regular tradition of health-inspired activities. Gorgeous weather graced the Apr. 14 event, which featured a 5K run and 1-mile walk with donations taken to benefit NIH charities.

The Health’s Angels, an R&W running club revived last year by Dr. David Kosub of NIAID, meets every Tuesday at noon at the Bldg. 1 flagpole to give running enthusiasts a chance to run together and welcomes people of all skill levels. The “halo” title comes from the club’s long-time logo, a running rabbit with a halo over its head.

Continued...


  Abby Elbow and Alexey Iskhahov of NCBI and Amy Turriff and Sally Vitez of NEI run the final stretch of the inaugural Halo Chase 5K.  
  Abby Elbow and Alexey Iskhahov of NCBI and Amy Turriff and Sally Vitez of NEI run the final stretch of the inaugural Halo Chase 5K.  

Not long after bringing the club out of dormancy, Kosub, a competitive runner, wanted to organize a race for the campus, and the Halo Chase was born.

The group of runners started first and burst onto the course with purpose. The walkers started shortly thereafter and set their own pace, some even throwing in a few dance steps every so often for good measure. The race course was the perimeter path around campus.

As the event came to a close, Kosub looked pleased. At final tally, the race had registered 101 runners, 46 walkers and brought in $1,890 for NIH charities.

Even the runners, who some might think would be pained by having just run more than 3 miles, seemed invigorated. Minutes after her run, taking gulps from a water bottle, Abby Elbow of NCBI summed up the event: “What a great way to start off spring!”

Runners stretch and listen to course directions given by Dr. David Kosub. First finisher Dirk De Heer of NHGRI clocks in at 18:32.
Above, l: Runners stretch and listen to course directions given by Dr. David Kosub. Above, r: First finisher Dirk De Heer of NHGRI clocks in at 18:32.
Runners stretch and listen to course directions given Terry Bowers of the R&W Fitness Center leads a group of spirited walkers with her trusty boombox. The group completed the walk to a soundtrack of pumping dance tunes.
Terry Bowers of the R&W Fitness Center leads a group of spirited walkers with her trusty boombox. The group completed the walk to a soundtrack of pumping dance tunes.
Top 4 Men’s Finishers: Dirk De Heer, NHGRI, 18:32, (bib number 191); Peter Bandettini, NIMH, 19:26, (bib number 166); David Kosub, NIAID, 19:44, (bib number 3); Gregory Schuler, NLM, 19:53, (bib number 185) Top 4 Women’s Finishers: Robin Stanley, NIDDK, 21:37, (bib number 58); Jacqueline Corrigan-Curay, OD, 23:59, (bib number 117); Melissa McCoy, NIA, 24:09, (bib number 62); Chia-Lin Winchester, NIDDK, 24:19 (bib number 188)

Above, Top 4 Men’s Finishers: Dirk De Heer, NHGRI, 18:32, (bib number 191); Peter Bandettini, NIMH, 19:26, (bib number 166); David Kosub, NIAID, 19:44, (bib number 3); Gregory Schuler, NLM, 19:53, (bib number 185) Top 4 Women’s Finishers: Robin Stanley, NIDDK, 21:37, (bib number 58); Jacqueline Corrigan-Curay, OD, 23:59, (bib number 117); Melissa McCoy, NIA, 24:09, (bib number 62); Chia-Lin Winchester, NIDDK, 24:19 (bib number 188)

Below, Top 4 Women’s Finishers: Robin Stanley, NIDDK, 21:37, (bib number 58); Jacqueline Corrigan-Curay, OD, 23:59, (bib number 117); Melissa McCoy, NIA, 24:09, (bib number 62); Chia-Lin Winchester, NIDDK, 24:19 (bib number 188)

Top 4 Women’s Finishers: Robin Stanley, NIDDK, 21:37, (bib number 58); Jacqueline Corrigan-Curay, OD, 23:59, (bib number 117); Melissa McCoy, NIA, 24:09, (bib number 62); Chia-Lin Winchester, NIDDK, 24:19 (bib number 188)
Randy Schools, R&W president, offers final instructions before the start of the Halo Chase.
Randy Schools, R&W president, offers final instructions before the start of the Halo Chase.

Nothing Can Stop Her
One Woman’s Journey Back from the Brink

Michelle Scala

Michelle Scala reached a special milestone by participating in the Halo Chase charity run. Having just marked the second anniversary of a horrific accident that nearly killed her, she celebrated by running the NIH Health’s Angels inaugural 5K.

Not one to talk much about herself, Michelle, a contracting officer at NIAID, is more apt to talk about her support system and her joy of running than the accident, which she still doesn’t remember at all.

“It’s a blessing she doesn’t remember anything about it,” said her husband, Steve Scala, a management and program analyst in OD.

But he remembers. It was Mar. 28, 2008, and the family was on vacation in South Carolina. Michelle and their daughter decided to go horseback riding. Michelle wasn’t wearing a helmet, but they weren’t planning anything vigorous. All of a sudden, Michelle’s horse bolted. It threw her from the saddle into an oak tree and onto a picket fence, stepping on her in the process. She had to be transported by helicopter from the scene.

“The doctors couldn’t do anything for the first 24 hours, she was hemorrhaging so badly,” said Steve. “All they could do was stabilize her.”

And all he could do was wait. Michelle had sustained punctured lungs, several pelvic fractures and a brain injury. After 8 days in the trauma center and surgery to repair her battered body, it was time for Michelle to start the long road of recovery. What she’s done since then is amazing, even to her doctors.

Determined to get back to her active pre-accident self, Michelle powered through physical therapy that taught her how to walk again. Less than 2½ months after the accident, she came off the heavy medications designed to allow her brain to heal—something her medical team said was unheard of.

All the while, family and friends have been by her side, and Steve has cheered her every step.

“People would come and visit her and take her to lunch, push her in a wheelchair. It was a good feeling that she had this network looking after her,” Steve said. “It was really something to see her finish that race today.”

Michelle will say her support system has pulled her through the toughest times. Though she has endless thanks for everyone who has helped her, it’s when talking about Steve that words fail.

“My husband’s support is so incredible, he is…,” she trails off, swallowing back tears. After a few seconds, she continues. “He’s always reminding me, ‘Don’t forget to get your run in, it’ll relieve your stress.’ And you know what? He’s right.”

Last September’s Interinstitute Relay was her coming-out party, reintroducing her to the world of competitive running. The Halo Chase 5K was one more milestone, but she’s not done yet.

“I think one day I’d like to do a half-marathon,” she said.

Walkers (as well as those using small wheels) get strolling as they head down Wilson Drive. Walkers get strolling as they head down Wilson Drive.
Walkers (as well as those using small wheels) get strolling as they head down Wilson Drive.

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