There are countless stories along the way that the entertainer and comedian carries with him Raymond Arrieta, as well as the physical and emotional suffering that does not fade from his being. The words and support of people, as well as a rosary, is what he clings to when he feels he can’t take it anymore. Walk for the benefit of cancer patients receiving services at the Oncology Hospital he accepts that it is a feat that is becoming more and more difficult for him to accomplish.
However, with the same commitment that distinguishes him, Arrieta continues to train and prepare for what will be the fourteenth edition of “Da Vida Caminando con Raymond”. Even though the kickboxing training he was doing was halted for a month, having contracted COVID-19, he returned to training by walking 4 miles in the morning and 4 miles at night.
The work is already done and less than a week before the fourteenth edition of “Da Vida Caminando con Raymond” begins, the comedian met at the Rehabilitation Center of the Oncology Hospitalone that has been transformed with better high-tech equipment and spaces thanks to donations from “Da Vida”, to have the experience of receiving the services they offer and “a little taste” with a circuit in physical therapy, prior to the hike scheduled from August 3 in Humacao to August 8 in Carolina.
“Being here is an emotion, it really is. That is why we keep walking because you see the changes. I remember when I got here and it was empty and the floor was cement. They told me that they wanted to build the largest rehabilitation center in the Caribbean in this area, that they wanted to achieve it with the donations from the walk, and I told them, ‘count on that, let’s go.’ When the time came to inaugurate it, the emotion was so great that you see it and this is incredible. Everything very nice, clean, new machines, all the facilities. It really was worth it,” said the entertainer, who put himself in the hands of therapists Esther Falcon and Mireya Arnal.
Arrieta, who in this edition is about to walk 55.7 miles -in which he will listen to the testimonies of the patients who approach him-, managed to make the tour of the fourth floor of the Rehabilitation Center, which includes various areas, from the warm-up area and stretching, gym and occupational area, which make it the first center in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, which is specialized in cancer patients, but from which other patients can benefit.
Natalia Lopez Cepero, who is the manager of the Rehabilitation Center, stressed that cancer patients need special attention in therapeutic services because they face additional challenges when receiving radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatments, so their tolerance is usually lower. .
“We offer physical, occupational and speech therapy services to all our patients who have health events that require this intensive rehabilitation process. Thanks to the ‘Da Vida’ walk, we are here, we have such a beautiful center and so equipped with this work team”, explained Lopez Cepero.
As part of the protocol, after the vital signs were taken, Arrieta underwent a warm-up and stretching process, to later continue in the gym area.
“We are using current and heat to relax muscles, increase circulation and decrease spasms. Then we’re going to do some stretching and then warm up. This is the prelude to doing a circuit of dynamic, balance, physical conditioning and strength exercises, in order to avoid injuries, which is one of the main objectives. That he can start and finish his walk, recover and continue the next day”, explained the therapist Falcon.
“Because it’s so many miles, it’s very important that people prepare in advance. Many times we see physical therapy as a resource to go to after I’m injured or after I have a certain change in health. It is important to know that it can also benefit people before the disease to prevent injuries, to stay physically conditioned. Physical therapy should be a complement to this process,” Lopez Cepero added, while explaining that they offer services to both hospitalized and outpatients.
Precisely, even with all the preparation that Arrieta usually does, he does not deny that there have been many bodily ravages that he has suffered over the past 14 years, ranging from the feet, the eyes, the skin and the nails, as well as a situation, of which he preferred not to abound, but clarified that he has good doctors and they have “been dealing with it.”
“One year I got cellulitis in my eye, an infection between the sweat, the temperature, the people, all of that. He gave me the day after finishing the walk, I ended up at the Medical Center ”he gave as an example, while showing some impressive photos, which he may later share with the public.
This year, it will stay in the “trailers” again as it did at the beginning of this feat, which in 2021 managed to raise 1.9 million dollars.
En route to 15
In addition to joking that it is a nice number, Reaching what will be the 15th edition of “Da Vida Caminando con Raymond” represents the culmination of a feat that has required a lot of physical effort over the years. However, he clarified that this does not mean that it will end fundraising. for the exclusive benefit of cancer patients who receive services from the Oncology Hospital, one that is private and non-profit, which, although it is located in the Medical Center area, belongs to the Puerto Rican League Against Cancer.
“My goal is to culminate with about 20 million collected in its entirety when we reach 15, that is a big goal that we have. When we finish that walk, we will invent another way to raise money, but we are not going to abandon the hospital,” Arrieta said.