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Annual Arthritis Walk gets in gear

It’s time to warm up for the Fifth Annual Chilton County Arthritis Walk.

While the Walk is not until Oct. 3, fundraising efforts begin with the annual kickoff celebration luncheon. This year, the luncheon will be held Friday, Aug. 28 at the Alabama Power Conference Center, starting at noon.

“We’d like to see a good crowd,” said Dian Easterling, this year’s local honoree for the Arthritis Walk. “A lot of people don’t think of arthritis as being a serious disease, but it is serious. It takes a toll on a person’s life and the family’s life.”

The Walk is a national effort to raise money toward medical research and public awareness education about arthritis and other rheumatic diseases. Hundreds of forms of these diseases affect more than 46 million people nationwide, including children and young adults.

Last year, $22,000 was raised locally toward this cause. This year’s goal has been raised to $24,000.

“Without the public’s support, there would not be the research toward finding better treatment, and eventually a cure,” Easterling said.

The lunch is free and open to anyone interested in learning more about arthritis or the Arthritis Walk, or anyone interested in joining the fundraiser. There will be lots of information available, as well as door prizes.

CBS 42 meteorologist David Neal, a supporter of the Walk, has again committed to attend the luncheon as a guest speaker. Other guests are Easterling and junior honoree, Makenzie Johnson of Jemison.

The date for the 2009 Chilton County Arthritis Walk is Saturday, Oct. 3 in front of Chilton Medical Center at 9 a.m.

Those planning to attend the celebration luncheon may RSVP to Kristin Whitehurst of the Arthritis Foundation at 1-800-879-7896 or (205) 979-5700, or to Easterling at 755-2366, or by e-mail to key@hiwaay.net.