Massage-a-thon fundraiser won't break your back

April 12, 2016

Alberto Chaparro/Tejano Tribune

Chris Brown (physical therapist assistant student) gives a relaxing back massage to Gloria Dueñas. 


The El Paso Community College Student Physical Therapist Assistant Club hosted the “Massage-a-thon” event on April 9 at the Rio Grande Campus to raise funds.


The event was hosted to raise funds for the club, primarily to be able to attend the Texas Physical Therapy Association Conference in Fort Worth.


Funds are also used for the students’ graduation dinner, purchasing review books for their licensing exam, and donating to local charity groups.


A big part of funds raised by the club goes towards the conference.


“The big one is the conference because we have to fly, it’s never close to us so it can be upwards of 8 to 9,000 dollars for me to take the students to the Texas Association Conference,” said Assistant Professor Physical Therapist Assistant Program, Michelle Biernacki.


Even though the event is focused on massages, physical therapy is not to be confused with massage therapy.


“Physical therapy is more about function and movement, mobility for our patients,” Biernacki said.


The club has a Facebook page, EPCC PTA, to let the public know about different activities the club does.


“The SPTA club has been around for over 24 years,” said Biernacki.


Kelly Maxwell is a Physical Therapist Assistant student and he is the president of the club.


“It’s pretty challenging, given our schedule right now, we’re in clinics which is pretty cool because we get hands on experience,” Maxwell said.


Being president of the SPTA club comes with responsibility, there are a lot of meetings that the president has to attend as well as help with the organization of events, such as the massage-a-thon.


Maxwell was able to reach out to the owner of Craze Frozen Yogurt and get him to register as a vendor for the club and said other clubs are welcome to reach out to him.


“He brings a big truck and helps us out with fundraisers,” Maxwell said.


Being a physical therapist assistant student is a big commitment and takes up quite a bit of time.


“It’s been quite a challenge, especially this last semester, where we’re in class Monday through Friday.”


However working together with the other students helps the class succeed, “As a class we do everything to help each other out,” Maxwell said.


“The grading scale is tough, anything below an 80, you fail.”


Maxwell has not gone to the Texas Physical Therapy Association Conference before but is looking forward to his first experience there.


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