Olympian helps arthritis walkers raise money

Hawai‘i’s Bryan Clay, a 2008 Olympic medalist, was supposed to cut the ribbon yesterday to start the 4th Annual Arthritis Walk sponsored by Wilcox Health.

But the gold medal winner of the two-day decathlon at the Beijing Games went a step further by joining the field of more than 150 walkers who turned out for the annual event.

“Arthritis does not discriminate. It can affect anyone,” said Dr. Heather Hopkins, physiatrist at Kaua‘i Medical Clinic and chair of this year’s walk on Kaua‘i. “This event is a great way to create awareness on Kaua‘i.”

Hopkins joined Clay in cutting the ribbon to the walk, releasing the walkers who enjoyed the rubberized track at Vidinha Stadium.

Brooke Johnson, the community relations officer at Wilcox Health, said the walkers raised $15,000 for the Arthritis Foundation by participating in the event.

Each year, the Arthritis Foundation hosts Arthritis Walk events around the country designed to educate Americans about the health benefits of walking while raising critical funds to fight arthritis, states a press release from Wilcox Health.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention projects that by the year 2030, 67 million people in the United States will live with arthritis, up from the current estimates of 46 million, the release states. Today, one in five Americans suffers from the pain of arthritis.

Arthritis can be a painful, life-impacting condition, but its effects may be lessened through physical activity such as walking. Walking is crucial in preventing and managing the nation’s most common cause of disability.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@kauaipubco.com

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