Local support group leader plans walk

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PORTLAND — Lori Chason of Windham, leader of the Scleroderma Foundation New England’s Maine support group which meets monthly at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center, is planning the inaugural Walk-A-Thon To Cure Scleroderma on Saturday, May 15.

The walk will start at Back Cove Park, Preble Street Extension. Sign-in will begin at 10 a.m., the 5K walk steps off at noon and there is no registration fee or minimum pledge requirement to take part. It will be held rain or shine and proceeds will benefit the programs of the New England Chapter of the Scleroderma Foundation.

Registration information, personalized web-based pledge pages through Firstgiving and other details can be obtained by calling the foundation toll-free at 888-525-0658 or visiting the walk website, www.scleroderma.org/chapter/newengland/2010PortlandWalk.htm

Individuals registering prior to the walk, and those setting up Firstgiving pages, will receive a free walk T-shirt. Those registering on walk day will be asked to consider making a $10 donation for a T-shirt, while supplies last.

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Scleroderma is a chronic, often progressive, autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues. The disease, which literally means “hard skin,” can cause thickening and tightening of skin, as well as serious damage to internal organs. Scleroderma occurs three to four times more often in women than in men, and it also attacks children.

Its cause is not known and, presently, there is no cure.

Chason hosts meetings from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on the fourth Monday of each month in the Potvin Room of St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center. The group is for individuals with this autoimmune disease, members of their families and others concerned with the effects of scleroderma. 

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