Papercut and colored pencil art by Sheryl Aronson X 5

Monday, June 4, 2012

Walk For What Ails You

Our local Akron Area (Ohio) Sjogren's Syndrome Support Group had a 'walkabout' on Sunday, June 3, 2012. One purpose of the walkabout was to raise funds for the Sjogren's Syndrome Foundation (SSF), which is then used to fund awareness campaigns to educate the public and medical communities about Sjogren's Syndrome, and to fund research to find better treatments. Another purpose of the walkabout was that all of those participating talked to family and friends about Sjogren's, and that in itself increased awareness. Besides that, it is a fun event, a chance for us to get together in the fresh air and take a walk.
Sjogren's Syndrome is defined by the SSF as "a chronic autoimmune inflammatory disease in which moisture-producing glands are damaged, significantly decreasing the quantity and quality of saliva and tears." It may cause dysfunction in other organs and systems, and often includes extreme fatigue and joint pain. Sjogren's is one of the most prevalent autoimmune disorders, striking as many as 4,000,000 Americans.
Since pain and fatigue are frequent symptoms of Sjogren's, the walkabouts are short. There are options for participation for anyone, including working at the registration or snack tables, cheering others on, and doing as much of the route as they are able.
If you are a regular reader here, you know of my struggle lately with plantar fasciitis, achilles tendinitis, and hip pain. I walked the full route, twice around a short circuit, slowly but surely. My husband and youngest son, home briefly between college and grad school, walked with me. I raised over $300 myself, and the event raised over $6ooo total. While I was collecting money for Sjogren's, a couple of friends were collecting money for cancer walks they were participating in. It seems that more and more illnesses are getting involved in the 'walkathon' business. This is a fun way to help fund research and education for whatever ails you. Check out local support groups, look online, find out if there is some kind of event for your illness, and if not, start one. You don't have to be a big, national organization. Our local newspaper frequently has little blurbs about a person or family sponsoring a spaghetti dinner, or a walk, or some other event to raise funds for something. You can even just get a bunch of friends together to raise funds to send to whatever cause you choose. Keep in mind that if you do not have a known cause behind you, people may be reluctant to donate. Be clear about where the money will be going.
Happy walking!  


  1. My small family had a medical situation when we had no insurance. Husband required surgery and radiation treatment and our small community donated in excess of $3,000 to help us pay the associated medical bills.

    Words are inadequate to thank a town of people that come together to help one another: we lost a mom of newborn twins and a baby with hypoplastic heart syndrome that same summer. Fundraisers for all of us were well-attended and money flowed in for each family--much from families barely making it themselves and yet always eager to help each other.

    Thank you for writing your inspiring post today and for reading mine.

    1. Hi Lynda- I always appreciate your kind words, feedback and insights. I am so glad to hear that your town rallied around you when you so needed it. Most people want to help each other, all we have to do is let them know what we need, or even just that we are in need, and they will take it from there.