By Whitney Vickers
FAIRBORN — The City of Fairborn has proclaimed June as Scleroderma month.
As Fairborn Mayor Dan Kirkpatrick made the proclamation at the latest council meeting Monday, June 6, he explained that the chronic disease ails approximately 15,000 Ohio citizens and approximately 300,000 individuals in the United States — including infants and elderly, and all ages in-between.
“The word ‘scleroderma’ comes from two Greek words: sclero, meaning hard; and derma, meaning skin,” Kirkpatrick said during the proclamation. ” … [With] Scleroderma, a patient’s immune system becomes overactive and attacks its own tissues for an overproduction of collagen.”
The symptoms vary according to each patient, but can be mild or life threatening. Scleroderma has the ability to damage internal organs, such as the heart, kidneys, esophagus, gastrointestinal tract or lungs, and make skin thick and tight. It most commonly develops between 25 and 55 years old.
And there is not yet a cure for scleroderma.
“[I] urge all citizens to support the scleroderma foundation in its mission,” Kirkpatrick said.
Near this time last year, City Manager Secretary Penny Davis and her support group chapter was working alongside Ohio Senator Bill Beagle to establish a statewide scleroderma awareness bill. It passed unanimously in the Ohio House of Representatives during the spring months and has been signed by Governor John Kasich. Their efforts led Ohio to be the first state in America to have a scleroderma awareness bill, according to Davis.
Citizens will have the opportunity to directly support scleroderma during a family run/walk Saturday, Aug. 6 at Community Park, 692 E. Dayton-Yellow Springs Rd. It will include a 3/4 mile, one and a half mile or 5K route, 50/50 drawing, DJ, family-friendly activities and a prize raffle. Registration costs $20 and includes a t-shirt; participants may also order a kids t-shirt online for $5. All proceeds will benefit the Scleroderma Foundation.
Registration for the event begins 9:30 a.m. the day of the event, while the walk/run kicks off 11 a.m. Individuals may also register by visiting http://www.scleroderma.org/site/TR?fr_id=3233&pg=entry#.V2GyBzX6O4E.
“We would love for many of you in the Fairborn community to come out and join us to support our worthy cause,” said Davis, who accepted the proclamation. “With events like these, we can spread more awareness about scleroderma and raise more funds for research to help find a cure for this disease.”