Annual BJ Williams Road Race: The Story Behind Team Ryan

ryannewTBI Survivor Ryan Farrell is the inspiration behind TEAM RYAN, a group of Ryan Farrell supporters who participate in the Annual BJ Williams Walk & Run Road Race each year. Today, Ryan shares how her family got involved in the race and how their motivation for participating changed after she sustained her injury. 

My sister was a senior at Western New England College out in Springfield at the time of my injury. BJ Williams, now manager of prevention programs at BIA-MA, hosted fitness “boot camps” at the various colleges in the Western Mass. area, and my sister and her friends would attend the weekly work-outs. It was probably the middle of March ’10 when he told them that every year he hosted a road race to benefit the BIA-MA, so, they were planning on participating before I sustained my traumatic brain injury (TBI). 

Team Ryan

Team Ryan at last year’s Road Race.

After I suffered my brain injury, this great group of girls formed TEAM RYAN! The 2010 race was on a sweltering July day. Team Ryan, better known as the Pink Ladies, decked-out in their homemade, hot pink, tie-dyed T-shirts, partook in the race, and then immediately came to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital to celebrate, not only all of the improvements I was making, but also the fact that they did not pass out from the immense heat!

I, along with my  wonderful Spaulding roomie, also a TBI survivor, were finally able to participate in last year’s race! So, that was two summers after my accident. Finally being able to “put a face” to Team Ryan was the best feeling ever! It was beyond incredible to see all the participants, walking or running, in support of such an incredible organization. The Pink Ladies had grown immensely, and we had to change our nickname to the Pink People, for we had not only increased in number, but the team now had male participants!!!

The 6th Annual BJ Williams Walk and Run Road Race will be on Saturday, September 14, 2013 in Longmeadow, Mass.  The event will feature a 5K Fun Walk and a 5K Road Race, all to raise money for the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts and the Joe Andruzzi Foundation! To register now, click here. ‘Like’ the Annual BJ Williams Walk and Run Road Race on Facebook!

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