Organizers hope to raise awareness of skin disease

By: 
Amy Cherry
Staff Writer

Local families are joining together to host the 2nd Annual Scleroderma 5K Run/Walk this weekend in an effort to raise awareness about the chronic skin disease.
The event is set for Saturday at the Fox Township Community Park. Registration begins at 8 a.m., with the run/walks starting at 9 a.m., and the kids fun run at 10 a.m.
“Our goal is to raise awareness and to support the research study being done by Dr. Kathryn Torok, M.D at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh,” said Cindy Gabor, one of the event organizers. “We have several local children that see Dr. Torok for treatment and her knowledge of Scleroderma in hopes of a cure.”
Scleroderma is a chronic hardening and tightening of the skin and connective tissues and is generally classified as one of the autoimmune rheumatic diseases. It is not contagious, infectious, cancerous or malignant, and it is estimated that roughly 300,000 Americans have scleroderma.
According to the Scleroderma Foundation the exact cause(s) of the disease are still unknown, however the disease involves an overproduction of collagen, an important part of the skin.
While the disease and symptoms varies from patient-to-patient, the effects of scleroderma can range from very mild to life threatening.
There are two types of the disease: localized scleroderma, a relatively mild form which is more common in children mainly affecting the skin or muscles and rarely spreading elsewhere; and systemic scleroderma, which is more common in adults, affecting the connective tissue in many parts of the body involving the skin, esophagus, gastrointestinal tract, lungs, kidneys, heart, and other internal organs, as well as blood vessels, muscles, and joints. The tissues of involved organs become hard and fibrous, causing them to function less efficiently.
Read more in today’s print edition of the Daily Press.

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