East Texans stepping out for the Scleroderma Foundation

Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

Released by Debra McDowell with the Texas Bluebonnet Chapter of the Scleroderma Foundation:

Longview, TX - The Scleroderma Foundation's Texas Bluebonnet Chapter is proud to host its first annual Longview/Piney Woods "Stepping Out to Cure Scleroderma" walk-a-thon at the Longview Shopping Mall on Saturday, September 19, 2009. There is no cost to register and no minimum sponsorship required to participate, though donations are welcomed. Attendees are advised to register online or by mail before the walk to secure t-shirts are available the day of the walk. Registration and sign-in begins at 8:00 a.m. the morning of the walk by the Food Court entrance of the Longview Mall. Individuals are encouraged to bring friends and family to this event.

Proceeds from the walk will go to benefit the both the Texas chapter and the national Scleroderma Foundation's mission to find a cure for scleroderma. The "Stepping Out to Cure Scleroderma" walks are part of the Foundation's national campaign to raise both awareness and funds for various support, education and research initiatives.

About Scleroderma

Scleroderma (the name is derived from two Greek words meaning "hard skin")  is a chronic, often progressive autoimmune disease in which one's immune system attacks the body's healthy tissues. The disease is caused by the over-production of collagen (the primary component of scar tissue) in the body. This excess collagen takes over healthy cells in the body's organ

systems causing scarring (sclerosis) of the skin and often the internal organs, most commonly the heart, lungs, kidneys and gastrointestinal tract.  Scleroderma primarily affects women, but men and children also suffer from the disease. "Like most autoimmune disorders, there is no known cause or cure for scleroderma, only medications that can help to slow the progression of the disease," said Maureen D. Mayes, M.D., M.P.H., a noted scleroderma clinician and researcher at the University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston, and author of The Scleroderma Book, A Guide for Patients and Families. "Because scleroderma affects people differently and varies in severity from person to person, it can be difficult for patients to receive an accurate diagnosis, especially in the early stages of the disease," Mayes commented.

Some medicines and treatments are able to assuage certain symptoms, but there is still no cure for scleroderma, which affects about 300,000 individuals nationwide. (By way of comparison, about 50,000 people have muscular dystrophy, and 350,000 have multiple sclerosis.)

About the Scleroderma Foundation

The Scleroderma Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to serving the needs and interests of people with scleroderma. Headquartered in Danvers, Mass., the Foundation's 22 chapters and 166 support groups nationwide carry out its threefold mission of support, education, and research. More about the work and mission of the Scleroderma Foundation can be found at www.scleroderma.org, or by calling 1-800-722-HOPE.

About the Scleroderma Foundation, Texas Bluebonnet Chapter

The Foundation's Texas Bluebonnet Chapter has been in existence for more than 10 years, working to fulfill the Scleroderma Foundation's mission of support, education, and research.  Starting in Houston, the Chapter has grown to have a state-wide presence, with 12 support groups and numerous educational events throughout the state each year.

More information about scleroderma and the work of the Texas Bluebonnet Chapter, please visit http://www.scleroderma.org/chapter/texas/index.htm