The Houston surgeon returns to the scene he was paralyzed in and hosts virtual 5K

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Dr. Rex Marco spent hours at Memorial Park on his mountain bike, exercising prior to his spinal cord injury in 2019 when he overturned his handlebars on one of the park’s trails.

Now that all four limbs have been paralyzed and diagnosed with quadriplegia, 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 Reeve Run & Roll Virtual 5k.

“The park has a very special place in my heart and in my head,” said Marco. “I’m not sure what it will be like that day, but I am sure it will be a sad and happy moment for me.”

From September 25th to October 3rd, participants of all abilities will come together to run, roll, bike, swim, surf, dribble, walk and support spinal cord research wherever they can.

The 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 notion that the spinal cord can never be restored or repaired after an injury.

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

Prior to his injury, Marco was a nationally renowned spine surgeon and musculoskeletal oncologist at the Houston Methodist Hospital. He entered the profession because he wanted to save lives in high-risk cases, for example in the operation of people paralyzed in car accidents or cancer patients with tumors in the spine.

Marco now has four sons, including a one-year-old who will likely 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, raise money for research and help find treatments for people with spinal cord injuries.”

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

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

Joy Posoli, who has lived across from 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 else, I wanted to do something, I wanted to be there and when this opportunity arose I took it, it was a pleasure for me,” said Posoli. Marco asked Posoli to be on the Advisory Board of the Marco Fund and she immediately did so.

Posoli said Marco’s attitude towards his injury and his “radical acceptance” rub off on anyone who knows him. Marco once told Posoli that his first 50 years were a life and made sense, but now he is in the second part of his life with a new purpose.

“You see this man who had a completely life changing experience and he is so peaceful and ready to understand where and how he is being used now,” said Posoli.

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

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

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