Arthritis Walk officially kicked off

Published 11:37 pm Thursday, August 26, 2010

Kind donations: Last year’s adult honoree and long-time Arthritis Walk supporter Dian Easterling, left, is shown with Curtis Smith, right, from United Way and Britt Culpepper from the Clanton Lions Club. Both organizations made contributions toward this year’s walk during Thursday’s kick-off.

The Chilton County Arthritis Walk officially kicked off Thursday with a program at Jefferson State University’s Clanton campus.

The Walk will be Oct. 30 at Chilton Medical Center, and Thursday’s event served as a way to raise awareness about arthritis and publicize the walk.

This year’s adult honoree Lynn Russell of Clanton and junior honoree Makenzie Johnson, along with mom, Rhonda Johnson, spoke about their fight against arthritis.

Makenzie Johnson, 10, is a student at Jemison. She suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, which has caused her much pain.

However, Makenzie’s doctor in July proclaimed she had no active arthritis in any of her joints.

“We are so thankful her arthritis is under control for now,” said Rhonda Johnson.

Russell said she agreed to be this year’s adult honoree because she wanted to bring awareness to the issue.

She said people with arthritis often become “masters of masking the pain.”

“I’m just praying there will be a cure,” said Russell, who says her condition has changed her entire family’s way-of-life.

Just daily trips to the grocery store or common household chores can be impossible for a person with arthritis, Russell said.

Organizers hope this year’s walk will raise $23,000 for the Alabama Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation.

During Thursday’s program, the Clanton Lions Club donated $500 toward the walk, while Chilton County United Way presented a check for $525.

The walk will be Saturday, Oct. 30 at CMC. Registration starts at 8 a.m., while the walk is at 9:30 a.m.

There will be a 5K and one-mile option, along with the dog walk and many games, contests and other activities. There is no fee to participate. For more information, call the Foundation at (205) 979-5700.