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Walby set to walk for arthritis
Bombers legend will lace-up for June 10 event
Some days he wakes up with hands the size of baseball mitts, but Chris Walby will soon be putting both feet forward to help arthritis research and support.
After a 16-year playing career with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers — spanning 1981 to 1996 — the legendary offensive lineman is now living with osteoarthritis.
The CFL Hall of Famer is this year’s spokesperson for the Walk to Fight Arthritis, hosted by the Arthritis Society — Manitoba/Nunavut Division. Colin Johnson, 13, and Kelsey Forrest, 7, are youth ambassadors. Both have junior rheumatoid arthritis.
The event will feature a one-kilometre and five-kilometre walk and be held at Assiniboine Park on Sun., June 10. Registration is set for 8:30 a.m. and the walks will start at 10 a.m.
Genny Sacco-Bac, ASMND’s regional events and development co-ordinator, is encouraging individuals to sign up and "walk for themselves or someone with arthritis."
The West End resident said the goal of this year’s event is to attract 750 participants and raise $75,000.
In 2011, more than 500 individuals took part and approximately $58,000 was raised.
Walby, who lives in North Kildonan, said it will be a fun, family event to educate individuals about the numerous forms of arthritis and help find a cure.
"I’ve had a lot of problems, after playing football for 16 years. I’ve broken pretty much every bone in my hands," said Walby, 55, who will be walking with a team called the Slowpokes.
When he heard about the stories of Johnson and Forrest — who both have rheumatoid arthritis — Walby knew it was time to give back.
"Look at Colin and Kelsey. I’ve had a full life of athletics, so they hit home to me," he said. "I don’t stand on the sidelines in life. Now I have the time to give back, why wouldn’t I?"
Despite regular pain and discomfort, Walby chooses not to take specialized medication and will only pop a couple of Advil — or at worst, Celebrex — if he wakes up in the morning and his hands start to swell.
"It’s basically one of those things. I lived with it and played with it. I don’t want to take anything stronger," he said.
And the three-time Grey Cup champion said he wouldn’t change a thing about his bone-crunching football days.
"I’ve talked to a lot of the guys and there are lots of poster children, as some have had knee and hip replacements," Walby said, noting a common misconception is that arthritis is usually suffered by individuals older than 65.
"Would I change anything? No. It was the era I played in. I love the game too damn much. I was 40 when I left the Bombers."
For more information, or to register, visit www.walktofightarthritis.ca. If registered participants share their story on the website, TYLENOL will donate $10 to the campaign.
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(1 of 10 articles for this week)06/19/2013 1:00 AM 0