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Annual walk to raise arthritis awareness, research funds

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The community is coming together this weekend to fight against a disease that affects almost 50 million people in the US.

"When I was 19-months-old I was diagnosed with JRA," arthritis patient Kensleigh Ables said.

When she was just over a year old, doctors diagnosed Ables with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. It affects 8,700 kids in North Carolina alone and nearly 300,000 nationwide.

"Most people do consider it just something that just old people get, not something you get when you can barely walk," Ables said.

Now that she is old enough to walk and run, Ables controls the pain by playing sports. Although she pushes through her discomfort, her best friend say it's a helpless feeling to sit back and watch.

"When you see her in pain, it's just bad," Katie Campana said. "You can't do anything about it. All you can do is support, which is why I joined the arthritis foundation."

Together, the pair serve as youth co-chairs of the Wilmington Arthritis Foundation to raise awareness of the crippling disease. Sunday the foundation will hosts its eighth annual walk at Hugh MacRae Park, where the community will literally take steps toward putting an end to the most common cause of disability in the United States.

"A cure is definitely needed and that is what the walk is all about," said the Arthritis Foundation's Claude Riley. "Walking by itself does not cure arthritis. Fundraising does."

Sunday's walk kicks off at 1 p.m. If you would like to participate you can register Sunday afternoon for a $20 donation or visit WilmingtonArthritisWalk.org.

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