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  • Keeping Hearts Healthy Both Here and Abroad

  • TAJI 100

    Carole DiPardo and the TAJI 100

    Carole DiPardo's commitment to heart health goes well beyond her job as a physician assistant at Rhode Island Hospital. It extends to her fellow service members at Camp Taji, Iraq, where DiPardo deployed with the Army's 211th Military Police Battalion.

    DiPardo is a captain in the Massachusetts National Guard. formerly, she was also enlisted in the Massachusetts Army Reserve. She went back to school for her physician assistant degree and after her schooling was finished, she re-enlisted, this time as an officer in the National Guard, the position she currently holds. In total, she has a 25-year military career.

    In January 2010, DiPardo participated with a friend in a 26.2-mile running competition in Kuwait. Inspired by that event, she decided to organize a similar event in Iraq in February —Heart Health Month. She pitched the idea to her executive officer, and the 100-mile “TAJI 100” was born.

    “Heart health is important to me,” says DiPardo. “People need to make time to take care of themselves.”

    The rules of the TAJI 100 are simple, she says. “You have to walk or run 100 miles within the month of February. Treadmill is OK, but biking and elliptical does not count. Soldiers report their miles and minutes to me by email - it's the honor system - and I tabulate.”

    DiPardo says she made the rules, had a T-shirt designed, sent out a mass email and voila! “I was expecting around 100 to 150 runners, and I had to close the registration within 48 hours because we had over 200 registrations,” she says.

    DiPardo and her husband Anthony's son, Joseph, was 20 months old when DiPardo was deployed to Iraq. Every day at 12:30 p.m., just before Joseph takes his nap, the family got together for a video chat on Skype. Iraq is eight hours ahead of Rhode Island, so the daily visits took place at 8:30 p.m. on DiPardo's side of the world.

    “I absolutely love my job and Rhode Island Hospital was very supportive, both before and during my deployment,” she says. “I appreciate all the kind words, thoughts and prayers, care packages and support from friends and family I have received."

    “Most of all,” she adds, “I appreciate everything my husband has done to take care of Joseph and keep our home a home. He deserves a medal!”