The Worthwhile Mile

Erin Stevens, a Chicago-trained anaplastologist, recognized the need for improved awareness of her field. Many people don't exactly know (right off the bat) what "anaplastology" is. Erin began exploring solutions to actively support this need. After recruiting and organizing a team of ambassadors for anaplastology, her first project was born in the spring of 2012 -- The Worthwhile Mile.

Stevens initiated a mile-for-mile cycling campaign, pledging to cycle 1000 miles throughout the summer of 2012 in hopes of obtaining 1000 donations for the Walter Spohn Education Fund, a grant program established to to provide financial support to individuals initiating educational and research projects to advance the field of Anaplastology. She had great success and vowed to carry the project forward by opening it up to multiple riders. There is more power in numbers, right?

This past summer, Erin served as one of four leaders, guiding a team of 28 cyclists from the Atlantic coast of North Carolina to the beaches of San Diego, California. Motivated to learn the ins and outs of organizing larger group rides, she gleaned a wealth of knowledge from her personal experiences and those of her Bike & Build directors and alumni leaders. While descending a range in the Rockies on the 4th of July, Erin made up her mind to move forward with an expansion of The Worthwhile Mile in 2014. The Colorado addition would benefit the Walter Spohn Education Fund.

The WSEF gives financial support to individuals initiating educational and research projects to advance the field of Anaplastology. Anaplastology refers to the practice of restoring missing facial or body anatomy with highly customized, life-like prostheses when surgical reconstruction is unachievable or undesired by the patient. By creating prostheses so visually true-to-life that they are often indistinguishable from natural tissues, the field of Anaplastology has remained rather anonymous throughout the last century.

This lack of knowledge causes many patients as well as doctors to be unaware or misinformed about the rehabilitative services available to potential prosthetic patients, ultimately creating barriers that prevent patients from obtaining treatment. This lack of awareness also creates challenges for clinicians to acquire funding for research and education necessary to advance the field and bring about better patient outcomes.

There is a real need to increase awareness among patients and healthcare professionals about:

  • the field of facial prosthetic treatment (Anaplastology).
  • the practicing community of clinical anaplastologists and the services which they provide.
  • timely research devoted to the advancement of facial prosthetic treatment.
  • organizations, associations, and special projects that can help and/or which one may contribute support.

This year The WM has two new routes on deck to accomplish just that.
WM4WSEF - Denver to Durango, June 2-8. Supporting the Walter Spohn Education Fund (WSEF) research and education initiatives in Facial and Somato (body) Prosthetics.
WM4IAA - Nashville to Asheville, September 21-26. Supporting the International Anaplastology Association (IAA), which promotes quality patient care by supporting the development of best practices in anaplastology through educational conferences, networking, publication, and advocacy opportunities.
*Each ride will have a team of up to 30 riders, each of whom fund-raise $1000 prior to the trip.

Related links:

News Item: