FAIRBORN — The Scleroderma Foundation of Greater Dayton recently hosted the Greater Dayton Stepping Out to Cure Scleroderma — an event aimed at raising awareness and funds to find a cure for Scleroderma.
Scleroderma is a Greek word that literally translates to “hard skin” and describes what its patients endure. The chronic, auto-immune disease is often progressive and causes thickening and tightening of the skin and sometimes inner organs, such as the lungs, kidneys, heart, esophagus and gastrointestinal track.
Scleroderma, similar to rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and multiple sclerosis, causes those who suffer to experience the body’s immune system attacking its own tissues.
According to the Scleroderma Foundation of Greater Dayton, approximately 300,000 individuals suffer from Scleroderma; and woman are four times more likely than men to develop the ailment.
The foundation said the cause of Scleroderm is unknown and although medications may help — there is no cure.
While the “final numbers” are not yet in concerning how many funds were raised, event organizer Penny Davis said it is estimated to be more than $20,000. Through online registrations and donations, alone, approximately $15,000 had been raised. Davis said of all the walks throughout Ohio, the Stepping Out to Cure Scleroderma event raises the most funds online.
The event encourages individuals to form teams and find individuals and organizations to sponsor them. Teams are sometimes formed in honor of an individual who is fighting or has lost their battle with Scleroderma. This year, team captains who raised more than $100 were entered into a prize raffle with one raffle ticket given for each $100 raised.
Davis believes the reason the event is able to raise so many funds online before the event takes place is because the run/walk is marketed as a “friendly competition” among teams.
Nineteen teams and 230 individuals were registered to participate before the event took place with more than 100 more individuals registering the day of the run/walk, according to Davis. One team was able to raise approximately $4,000 and hosted fundraising events on their own before the run/walk took place.
Davis announced during the event that this year would be her last year of organizing the Greater Dayton Stepping Out to Cure Scleroderma run/walk. She said in her eight years of organizing the event, along with the help of her friends, the event had raised approximately $170,000 to go toward finding a cure. She applauded the work of the volunteers — at least 30 individuals — for their help in making the event come together. Davis also enjoyed having children present, as she said it “warmed her heart.”
Contact Whitney Vickers at 937-502-4532.