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Swan hopes birthday gift keeps on giving

Mike PT Challenge 11.18.20
Karen Peabody
Mike Swan raises money for a good cause by doing two physical challenges for his 50th birthday.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Mike Swan, the Founder & Co-Owner of Elite Performance & Rehabilitation Center and Co-Founder & Partner of THE LAB, celebrated his 50th Birthday last month by taking on two physical challenges to raise scholarship monies for PT students of color at the University of Southern California (USC).

Physical therapy (PT) is a powerful vehicle for healing patients and enhancing movement. Sadly however, the field lacks the ethnic diversity needed to treat an increasingly diverse patient population. Roughly 80 percent of today’s physical therapists are Caucasian, with less than 6.5 percent of the profession identifying as Hispanic/Latinx or Black/African American. The high cost of PT school is one of the barriers that Mike Swan aims to address.

Mike’s goal is to help improve access to and increase diversity among PT practitioners. To achieve this goal, Mike began working with the USC (his alma mater) to establish a scholarship fund of $100,000 over the next five years. 

Physical Therapy Challenge: To begin raising awareness and funds, Mike announced a challenge for his 50th birthday: To treat 50 patients in an ultramarathon physical therapy session ending on his birthday. The event was a big success! Buoyed by 11 cups of coffee and the help and support of a lot of great people, Mike ended up working for 27 hours total – from 8:00am on Tuesday morning to 11:00am on Wednesday morning – treating 52 patients in a row. From seeing many of his “regulars” to catching up with old friends who were willing to come see him in the middle of the night, it was a great way to spend his birthday! 

Physical Challenge: Two days later, in a burst of intense physical effort, Mike took the day off work to take on physical challenges involving the number 50.  Along with his good friends Rusty Snow and Joe DeVreese, Mike spent the day running 50 400-meter laps around the track, swimming 50 50-meter laps in the pool, and biking Gibraltar Road five times. Mike enjoyed all the community supporters who brought breakfast goodies, made signs and took part in various segments with him.

Fundraising Report: While we don’t have the final total yet from USC, we know we’ve raised more than $9,980.50 for the USC PT Elite Performance Scholarship Fund. 

DONATE: The overall goal is to raise $100,000 over the next five years. Giving to date means Mike’s team is close to having “Leg 1” completed.  Anyone willing to support this great cause can visit Mike’s website ( for a link and details on how to give. Would you consider donating by the end of December 2020? Mike Swan will match donations, with the hope of getting this scholarship fund to $25,000 for the first year, a huge victory! 

Article courtesy of Ruth Loomer.

Article Topic Follows: More Sports

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