Hays Native & Son Begin Walk Across Kansas

BillingerHays native Sandra Billinger, PT, PhD, FAHA, and her son Michael will begin a 570-mile walk across the state of Kansas today, to raise awareness about stroke and physical activity.

Their journey across Kansas begins at the Colorado/Kansas state line (about 2 miles west of Coolidge, Kan.) The trail they will follow will be the American Discovery Trail(which follows the Sante Fe Trail in Kansas) and take them to the following communities:

American Discovery Trail

Dr. Billinger will be joined by Dr. Camarata (a fellow Hays native and neuro-surgeon for a community program on May 21, 2013 from 7:30 – 9:30 a.m. )  This breakfast meeting is free to the community.  (This presentation is not part of the Walk Across Kansas – but she wanted to recognize her home town.)

The Walk Across Kansas also promotes physical activity, a major factor in cardiovascular health.

“You don’t have to walk across the state to be active,” Dr. Billinger said. “The American Heart Association recommends exercising 30 minutes a day, most days of the week, to keep your heart strong.”
A life-changing event led Dr. Billinger to travel from her hometown of Hays, Kan., to the Kansas City area 11 years ago. After a major car accident nearly claimed her life—and forced her son to be born prematurely—she endured two years of rehabilitation. Spinal nerve damage forced her to give up her job as a dental assistant, so she went back to school and received a bachelor’s degree from Fort Hays State University. There, she worked with faculty to begin a unique exercise program for stroke survivors. The research and exercise programming fostered an interest in the field. Shortly thereafter, she moved to Kansas City to study at the KU Medical Center. By 2004, she had completed the physical therapy program, and in 2008, earned her Ph.D.

She now serves on the faculty at KU Medical Center as an assistant professor in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program. She also directs a research laboratory, the REACH lab, that focuses on exercise and recovery after stroke.

  • inkslinger

    see another hays kid that grew up and moved away

    • inkslinger

      congrats sandra