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More Than 2,000 Los Angelenos Expected at Arthritis Walk in Griffith Park

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Jordan Wheeler, Official Honoree, Will Speak at Opening Program About Living With Arthritis as a Teenager LOS ANGELES, May 20 /PRNewswire/ —

More than 2,000 Los Angeles residents, many with arthritis, are expected to participate in the Arthritis Foundation's 3rd Annual Arthritis Walk on Sunday, May 23, 2004 in Griffith Park, beginning at 9 a.m. The Arthritis Walk is expected to raise approximately $300,000 and will support research and programs offered by the Arthritis Foundation, Southern California Chapter.

The Arthritis Walk is open to people of all ages and athletic ability, and participants can choose either a 5k or one-mile route. Participants are encouraged to raise donations to benefit the Arthritis Foundation. Money raised from the walk will support arthritis research to find a cure, as well as improve the quality of life for those affected by the more than 100 forms of arthritis.

Arthritis is the country's leading chronic, debilitating disease, and affects one in three Americans, including more than 300,000 children. "We started the Arthritis Walk three years ago as a way to raise funds and awareness for the Arthritis Foundation," said Mary MacKinney, chair of the Arthritis Foundation, Southern California Chapter. "Arthritis afflicts people of all ages and backgrounds, and they will be all walking together on May 23 on behalf of those who cannot."

Jordan Wheeler, a 15-year-old resident of Santa Clarita will serve as the Walk's official honoree. Jordan was diagnosed with systemic juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) when she was 13 years old when she became bedridden with excruciating pain and high fevers. With proper treatment, she has been able to regain much of her mobility, and is now able to pursue her interests in modeling and acting.

"Being diagnosed with arthritis has made my life difficult and painful at times, but I don't know what my family and I would have done without the Arthritis Foundation," said Jordan. "They've helped us not only cope with my disease, but live a normal life again. That's why I'm doing all I can to tell people about the Arthritis Foundation so kids like myself can not only dream their dreams, but live them too."

Ron Cey, a former Dodger, will be part of the Walk's opening program, starting at 8:15 a.m. Mr. Cey was a third baseman for the Dodgers during the 1970s and 80s and was part of the longest running infield in baseball history. He was a six-time All Star, as well as co-MVP of the 1981 World Series, and he ranks in the top ten All Time in Dodger history on home runs and RBI. National sponsors for the Arthritis Walk are Aleve and Naturemade Tripflex.

Local sponsors for the event include City National Bank, Centocor and Pacific Coast Healthcare. About the Arthritis Foundation Established in 1948, the Arthritis Foundation is the only national voluntary organization that works on behalf of people with all forms of arthritis. The mission of the Arthritis Foundation is to improve lives through leadership in the prevention, control and cure of arthritis and related diseases. The Arthritis Foundation funds research to find cures and improve care, issues up-to-date information about arthritis and its treatment, provides referrals to doctors and clinics, assists in finding local services, offers exercise and self-help classes and sponsors support and education groups. For more information, please call (800) 954-CURE or visit SOURCE Arthritis Foundation Web Site:

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