With Upcoming Charity Run, OT Alums Honor One of Their Own

Friday, August 28, 2020
Rachel Stotler and her family

In 2011, Rachel Stotler Clasemann, ’97, MOT ’99, was driving home from work in Omaha, Nebraska, when a car accident changed her life.

The immediate result of the accident was a ruptured spleen and traumatic brain injury. In the years since, she has endured multiple surgeries, successes, setbacks, infections and therapy. But, according to those who know her, Rachel has never shied from a challenge, and remains steadfast in her path to recovery alongside her family, including her two sons.

On Saturday, Sept. 5, Clasemann will be honored as the Walk-for-Thought honoree as part of the annual Going the Distance for Brain Injury Run and Benefit sponsored by the Brain Injury Association of Kansas and Greater Kansas City. The honor, associated with the smaller 1.5-mile walk of the same name that takes place at the event, recognizes those still recovering from brain injuries.

Her story came to the KCBIA thanks to RU classmates and faculty. Clasemann’s journey touched Christy Dunn Staker, MOT ’99, after hearing it from another classmate, Kathleen Pauli, ’97, MOT ’99. She said she spent time thinking and in prayer on how to honor her classmate’s inspirational journey. Having run the KCBIA’s race in the past, Staker said she had a “eureka” moment, as it seemed like a perfect opportunity to lift up the story of perseverance in the face of a brain injury.

“Rachel has been a living example of someone who is ‘going the distance,’” she said.

Staker began sharing the story to her classmates and faculty at Rockhurst to garner support, talking often with members of Clasemann’s family. Lynne Clarke, OTD, professor of occupational therapy, offered a heartfelt letter supporting the honor, noting Stotler’s unique connection to the cause through her work as an occupational therapist.

“As occupational therapists work every day with individuals with brain injuries, I thought it was very fitting for us to nominate Rachel for this honor,” she wrote.

Staker said the nature of the race has changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic and will be a virtual event (registered runners are encouraged to run the race on their own). But no matter where the participants are, she said she’s glad to have shared Stotler’s story.

“I know God has a much better plan than mine, He is honoring Rachel despite what it may look like,” she said. “He sees her and He sees all of us living lives called to do His will.”

Read more about Rachel’s story, and learn more about the Going the Distance for Brain Injury Run and Benefit, here.