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BGH Foundation announces benefit run

Staff Writer | July 1, 2022 1:00 AM

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SANDPOINT – The Bonner General Health Foundation is looking to make the hospital the first and only one in Idaho with a new piece of “state-of-the-art rehab technology.”

After organizing and hosting the annual formal fundraiser The Heart Ball in February for the past 14 years, BGH is adding a new fundraising event and already has a goal in mind.

The Find Your Strength fun run will be a 5K and a superhero themed 1K race to promote community wellness and physical activity while raising funds for a beneficial physical therapy device, Molly Behrens, BGH community development coordinator, said. The funds raised by this event will be used to purchase a piece of equipment known as the EksoNR, an exoskeleton.

“Our Performance Therapy department is constantly evaluating how to meet the demand of our growing and aging community,” Behrens said.

The device is the first of its kind that the FDA has approved to aid patients recovering from injuries such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, and more in relearning how to walk. The device, which reteaches the brain to walk, is worn by the patient and provides posture support and movement assistance enabling the patient to balance and shift weight. As a result, patients can then perform movements such as stepping place, bending and squatting, according to the device manufacturer Ekso Bionics.

Behrens said adding the device would benefit not only to the community but to the entire Inland Northwest, as the closest facility that has the same device is in Wenatchee, Washington.

“The Exoskeleton was a need that was identified by Bonner General Health to serve our patients better.” Behrens said. “This device will reduce the patient-to-staff ratio, allowing our PT department to care for more patients more efficiently.”

The first annual Find Your Strength family fun run will be held Sept. 24. It will feature three separate groups separated by age for each race. The kids divisions will be for ages 1-8 years old, youth for ages 9-17 years old, and adults for ages 18 and up.

There will be a race fee and a “signup” fee for the youth and adult divisions while the kids' division will run one or both races for free. The price for adults to run the 1K, 5K, or both is $45, and $3.70 entry fee which will increase on race day to $50 race fee and $4 entry fee. The youth division will have a similar setup with the price of a $20 race fee and $2.20 entry, being consistent for one or both races; however, the price will not change on race day.

While the races are the main attraction of the event, Brehens said racers will receive a free T-shirt and there will be an afterparty. Described by Behrens as “fun for the whole family” the afterparty will feature clowns, magicians, get face paintings, and more.

Registration for the events opens today online at, where more information can also be found and will continue until 9:30 am on Sept. 24.