(COLLEGE STATION, TX) — As if medical school is not enough of a challenge, Vasant Garg, a first-year medical student at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine with only one arm, will run his first marathon this weekend in Austin.

Not only will Vasant be running the grueling 26.2-mile course Saturday, but he also has made the commitment to raise $1,000 for a local charity.

In early 2002, a near-fatal car accident severed Vasant’s arm and left him in a comatose state for two weeks. Against all odds, he came out of the coma and began rehabilitation therapy, even finishing his senior year of high school on time.

Vasant graduated from The University of Texas with honors and is now six months into his medical education at HSC-COM.

“Many individuals do not have any clue as to what they and their bodies are capable of overcoming,” Vasant said. “They do not realize, especially after encountering a severe accident, that they can slowly take small successful steps to regain footing. Eventually, although tasks might seem more difficult and take longer to learn, a person can succeed with almost any challenge that is set before him.”

Clinically diagnosed as overweight in middle school, Vasant worked hard in high school to lose weight and become fit. Today, he is in shape and committed to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

With the help of his medical school classmates and friends, he is ready to tackle his biggest physical challenge to date – the AT&T Marathon. But, more than just finishing the race, he has set a personal goal to raise $1,000 for Camp For All, a special needs camp in Washington County.

“I feel good about the fact that a large portion of my race entrance fees will be donated to charities, but I wanted to do more,” Vasant said. “I volunteered at a camp similar to Camp For All in Houston when I was in high school. Although the campers readily asked for my help when they needed it, they never showed any feelings of failure and encouraged me as a ‘full-bodied’ individual to also pursue my dreams.”

“Those kids taught me that disabilities can only hold you back if you let them, so now it’s my turn to teach that lesson to others,” Vasant continued. “And, maybe it was just a coincidence, but three days after I completed a college essay regarding their success, I lost my own arm.”

Vasant already has raised $350 but still needs support to reach his goal. He is asking members of the local community to contribute to his cause for several reasons.

“Camp For All is a great organization that is more than worthy of our support, but I also think people can get behind the idea that we can all overcome challenges,” Vasant said. “Also, if I could reach my goal, it would make the crushing pain in my bones, blisters and joint instability all worthwhile.”

For more information or to donate, contact Vasant at vgarg@medicine.tamhsc.edu or (713) 557-9705.

Anchored in Bryan-College Station, the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine consists of approximately 700 basic scientists and clinicians who instruct students during the course of their medical education. The HSC-COM is affiliated with clinical facilities across three campuses in Bryan-College Station, Temple and Round Rock. Scott & White in Temple has the longest history with the College and is ranked as one of the top 15 teaching hospitals in the nation.

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