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2017 Walk to Cure Arthritis Comes to Hilo Aug. 26

August 21, 2017, 11:00 AM HST
* Updated August 23, 10:13 AM
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Infographic courtesy of Gout and Uric Acid Education Society.

The community is invited to attend and support the 2017 Walk to Cure Arthritis on Saturday, Aug. 26, to help raise awareness and funding in the effort to find a cure for arthritis. The fundraising event will be held at Liliʻuokalani Park at 189 Lihiwai Street in Hilo and registration can be completed online.

Arthritis is a growing condition in Hawaiʻi with roughly 19 percent of residents affected by some form of the condition, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Health experts say it’s important to speak with a rheumatologist to discuss treatment options in suspected cases.

In light of the upcoming Walk for Arthritis fundraiser, 70-year-old Hawaiʻi Island resident Dennis Leatherman is sharing his story of suffering with chronic, uncontrolled gout, an inflammatory arthritic condition that can lead to severe pain and joint damage.

Gout is caused by too much uric acid in the bloodstream, and can lead to sudden episodes of pain, stiffness and swelling. For many people the pain is overwhelming. It usually begins in the big toe and when left untreated, can spread to the ankles, heels, knees, wrists and fingers.

As a local art teacher and artist, Leatherman said the severity of his pain made him doubt whether he could continue painting. After multiple doctor visits and years of pain, Leatherman was finally diagnosed with chronic, uncontrolled gout. He now leads an art class as a therapeutic activity for local residents struggling with various health conditions.

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Only 10 percent of people with gout receive proper treatment, according to the Gout and Uric Acid Education Society. Leatherman hopes that sharing his own story will raise awareness about chronic, uncontrolled gout so others can get proper treatment if they notice symptoms.

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