Thousands gather for annual Walk to Cure Arthritis

People gathered at Concordia University to help do their part to raise awareness and help raise money for a cure for arthritis, the nation's most common cause of disability.

12-year-old George Nesbitt looks like a normal kid. But he is suffering from a disease that you can't see.

"I have arthritis and I was diagnosed when I was in first grade," George said.

George is one of 300,000 children suffering from this debilitating disease. 16-year-old Kaylan Berry is another.

"Arthritis has affected me, I try to say minimally. I mean I miss a lot of school, and I go to the doctor a lot.," Kaylan said.

The 10th annual Walk to Cure Arthritis event is helping find a cure so children like George and Kaylan won't have to suffer any more.

"The thing is that these are otherwise healthy kids and a lot of the things that they have trouble doing are writing, riding bikes, you name it." Dr. Hilton Gottschalk, of Central Texas Pediatric Orthopedics, said. "They come to you at a stage when they should be out playing on the playground and instead they are having so much pain and problems by just moving."

Cathy McHorse is the chairperson of the walk and she said the event does more than just raise money.

"This is not only our signature fundraising event but it's our signature community building event." McHorse said, "This is the one time of year that everyone in our community, who lives with arthritis, comes together and connects."

A connection that helps the families of those suffering come closer together.

"It was really cool because I realized that he wasn't the only one with this disease and that thousands of others of people had it as well," Martha Nesbitt, George's sister, said.

"It brought tears to my eyes when I was looking out at all of the people here that are learning and knowing that kids get arthritis and that they suffer every day, even though you don't see it," Denise Berry, Kaylan's mother, said.

But what you do see  are smiling faces, if even for just a few minutes, are pain free.

"It just helps me deal with the pain better when my family is with me and when my friends are with me and it makes me feel better," George said.

You can visit www.walktocurearthritis.org/austin for more information or www.arthritis.org for free arthritis information.

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