It’s time to walk for the fight
The 4th annual Walk to Fight Arthritis is happening Sunday, June 9 at Assiniboine Park, and organizers hope you will put on your walking shoes and join them.
"We’re looking at 650 participants and $99,000 that we’d like to raise," said Genny Sacco-Bak, events co-ordinator for the Arthritis Society – Manitoba/Nunavut Division.
Last year they had about 500 join in for either the one or five kilometre non-competative fundraising walk, she said.
The walk, which starts at 10 a.m. at the southeast picnic area of the park (across from the Formal Gardens), will be followed by clowns, face-painting, food, music, and a bouncy castle "for kids of all ages," Sacco-Bak said.
"It’s just lots of fun, everyone’s milling around and everyone’s there for the same reason...which is to raise money for arthritis," she said.
The society says more than 4.5 million Canadians live with arthritis, and three out of five are under the age of 65.
To help change the perception that the disease only affects the elderly, arthritis youth ambassadors Colin Johnson, 14, and Kelsey Forrest, 8, will be on hand at the walk.
Colin, a St. James resident, was diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis when he was 19 months old. For three years his disease has been in remission, giving him some relief from a life of medication, joint pain/swelling, injections and wheelchairs.
Last week he was at International Music Camp, his father Scott said. He took up piano to help keep his arthritis-afflicted fingers limber.
"The whole family will be (at the walk on June 9), all five of us," Scott said, referring to his wife and three children.
One set of Colin’s grandparents will also be there, Scott said, as well as "an uncle or two."
Scott said Colin has been a youth ambassador for the Arthritis Society for three years, and he’s very proud of him for doing it.
"For someone to go through difficulties and come out of it is one thing, but then to recognize the fact that there are others that are also going through the same thing and can benefit from your insight, you’re encouragement, and your time…it’s inspirational for us all."
Sacco-Bak said as it’s the Arthritis Society’s 65th anniversary anyone donating at least $65 will get a bluebird lapel pin with a silver-coloured 65 in the middle.
Registration on the day of the walk takes place at 8:30 a.m., but pre-registration takes place at the Sturgeon-Heights Community Centre on June 7 from 6 -8 p.m. and June 8 from 12-5 p.m..
A registration form is available online at www.walktofightarthritis.com