Archive for Sunday, April 29, 2007

Walk raises funds for arthritis

April 29, 2007


Kate Piper looks like any other 6-year-old, but she has juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, a disease causing joint swelling and stiffness in children younger than 16.

She's an active girl, but sometimes too much physical activity will cause her to be sore the next day, said Chris Piper, her father and Jayhawk announcer.

Still, Kate toughed it out and pounded the pavement with about 125 others in the second Arthritis Walk on Saturday.

The walk raised $22,254 for the Kansas chapter of the Arthritis Foundation, organizers said. More than half of the participants walked in support of Kate.

They were easy to spot, wearing bright shirts she designed.

"It was a battle getting pink T-shirts on, but it was worth it," said family friend Jason Edmonds as he played catch with his two sons.

Other walkers were there for other reasons, but almost everybody knew someone with arthritis or had it themselves.

"To wake up one day and not be able to walk was very frightening," said Suzette Seetin, 48, who lives with the disease. "There's no cure."

The fundraising walk started at the Lawrence Indoor Aquatic Center, 4706 Overland Drive. Participants were also invited to bring their dogs along, initiating a fair share of yapping.

Members of the Kansas University women's basketball team came to support the walkers.

"We just wanted to come out to be a part of the community," said LaChelda Jacobs, freshman guard from Mansfield, Texas.

A small group of people with arthritis participated by swimming inside instead of walking.

"The buoyancy of the water takes the load off the joints," said Kelli Robinson, of Topeka, who received a diagnosis in August of rheumatoid arthritis. "It's a lot easier."


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