Coming up: Autoimmune Walk, June 24

June 5, 2012 12:06:44 PM PDT
Let's go for a walk... for a great cause!On the morning of June 24th, join in the Autoimmune Walk at Clinton Cove at Hudson River Park in Manhattan. The walk is the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association's (AARDA) new signature awareness and fundraising campaign designed to provide hope for the millions of families forced to face the challenges caused by autoimmune diseases.

Registration, which is free, begins at 9:00am, but fundraising is strongly encouraged. Funds raised through the Autoimmune Walk will be used by AARDA to support critical research funding aimed at solving the underlying immune issues that link all autoimmune disorders. The mission of AARDA is to eradicate these serious and life-threatening diseases while providing help and hope through patient services and awareness.

Actress Kellie Martin, best known for her roles on "ER" and "Life Goes On," is serving as the walk's official ambassador. She was compelled to get involved with AARDA after the loss of her sister, Heather, to lupus (an autoimmune disease) in 1988. She will be walking with us in Washington, D.C., to honor her sister and to help shine a light on all autoimmune diseases, for all those affected.

One of the functions of the immune system is to protect the body by responding to invading microorganisms, such as viruses or bacteria, by producing antibodies or sensitized lymphocytes (types of white blood cells). Under normal conditions, an immune response cannot be triggered against the cells of one's own body. In certain cases, however, immune cells make a mistake and attack the very cells that they are meant to protect. This can lead to a variety of autoimmune diseases. They encompass a broad category of related diseases in which the person's immune system attacks his or her own tissue.

Some of the over 100 autoimmune diseases are lupus, type 1 diabetes, scleroderma, celiac, multiple sclerosis, Crohn's disease, autoimmune hepatitis, rheumatoid arthritis, Graves' disease, myasthenia gravis, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, antiphospholipid syndrome (APS), Sjogren's, uveitis, PANDAS, polymyositis, urticaria, and Raynauds. Conditions like fibromyalgia often accompany autoimmune diseases.

For more information, visit or call (855) AD-WALKS (239-2557).