Disabled Triathletes Shine In PossAbilities Race

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More than 800 people, some with life-altering injuries and some able-bodied, completed the 3.1-mile run, 11-mile bike ride and 150-yard swim.

Leaning on a friend for support, Fermin Camarena smiled broadly at athletes finishing the Loma Linda University PossAbilities Triathlon on Sunday.

It was a striking contrast from the fierce determination he’d shown minutes earlier, when Camarena – who lost control of the right side of his body after a 2003 stroke – surged to the finish line ahead of some friends.

“We fight, we compete,” Camarena said. “Then we eat. We stay friends.”

After all, Camarena, who is 51 and lives in San Juan Capistrano, works frequently with those friends, and he credits them – along with volunteers and staff who work with them at PossAbilities – for his continuing recovery.

PossAbilities is a program developed by Loma Linda University Medical Center East Campus to give disabled individuals practical help and a sense of community.

“If it wasn’t for them, this wouldn’t happen,” Camarena said. “It doesn’t get any better. We’re family.”

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