Guide for Chechen Ahtletes in Hope And Possibility 5K Race in Central Park, NY
Nina Cerfolio, MD,
is Assistant Clinical Professor of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She is a board-certified psychiatrist and psychoanalyst practicing in New York City. She has been featured in National Geographic Adventure for winning the Half Marathon on the Great Wall of China, the Daily News for her humanitarian work following the Chechen genocide, and the Yomiuri Shimbun (Japan’s largest national daily newspaper) for her work as a first responder at Ground Zero. She has published in peer-reviewed journals and presented her original work on the psychological influences of spirituality in national and international venues.
After they’re fitted with high-tech prosthetic legs by an NYU Medical Center doctor, Adam Mezhiev, 22, and Alihana Osmanov, 20, want to compete in the New York City Marathon.
“You never know until you try,” Mezhiev said of the 26.2-mile race.
Mezhiev stepped on a land mine when he was 10 years old and lost a leg. In the hospital, he became friends with Osmanov, who lost a leg and part of an arm when he was hit by artillery fire in his backyard.
The Achilles Organization, which aids disabled athletes, has been trying to bring the pair to the United States for two years so they could get state-of-the-art artificial legs.
“After two years of e-mailing, calling and five or six failures with their exit visas, they’re finally here,” said Dr. Nina Cerfolio, a clinical associate professor at NYU Medical Center. “I feel great.”
Mezhiev hopes his new leg will free him from endless blistering, and Osmanov is looking forward to walking without a limp.
“I don’t have words,” Osmanov said. “I have too much emotion.”
Both men will be fitted for the legs today, but it will take time for them to get used to the equipment. NYU Medical is donating the prosthetic legs, worth a total of about $20,000.
The men won’t be able to use the legs for Sunday’s Hope and Possibilities race, an annual event organized by Trisha Meili, the jogger raped and beaten in Central Park in 1989. Instead, they will cross the finish line on crutches – then settle in for four weeks of rehabilitation before returning home.
Dick Traum, founder of the Achilles Organization and an amputee, invited them to come back to the city for next year’s marathon.
They readily accepted.
“I love to do any sports because it brings me back to normal life,” Mezhiev said. “I don’t know if the prosthetics will work, but I hope.”