Arthritis Walk-Atlanta 2013 is expected to draw thousands of people again to the Concourse Office Park in Sandy Springs Saturday, each with reflections related to the cause.
Count Gabrielle King among them.
“I didn’t realize I had a story to tell until after I had talked with so many people,” said King, a Fayette County resident. “[Moreover], Georgia has 1.2 million people with arthritis. … That’s a lot of stories.”
King will be pulling double duty Saturday. In addition to her responsibilities as volunteer for the host organization, the Arthritis Foundation, she has also been designated as the adult honoree for the event.
King was diagnosed with osteoarthritis at age 12 after dislocating her hip. She had to walk with the aid of a cane from her 20s up until age 37, when she underwent total hip replacement surgery.
“I wanted to be an active mother and, also, to work, to be productive ... the same thing other [arthritis patients] want,” said King, 52.
The walk is the Arthritis Foundation’s signature nationwide event. Its aim is to raise funds and awareness to fight the ailment marked by painful inflammation and stiffness of the joints — the nation’s leading cause of disability.
The event features 1- and 3-mile courses, with activities for the entire family. Supporters typically walk in honor of a friend or family member with arthritis, while those with arthritis wear T-shirts to signify their action in taking control of their condition.
The event is open to the whole community, a point of emphasis for organizers.
“For us it’s about spreading awareness in the community,” said Pam McAdams, regional development and services director for the Arthritis Foundation. “And, our numbers continue to grow. Last year, [the walk] drew 3,500 people … this year, we’re expecting about 4,000.”
For those interested, registration for Arthritis Walk will also be held the day of the event.
Participating teams are asked to raise at least $100 to help support the mission of the Arthritis Foundation.