Walk this way to support arthritis foundation

The third annual walkathon for the Emirates Arthritis Foundation will take place in Dubai Festival City on Friday.

The third annual walkathon for the Emirates Arthritis Foundation will take place in Dubai Festival City on Friday. Along with raising much-needed funds for the foundation, the walk aims to increase awareness of the fight against the debilitating condition, which causes inflammation of the joints and can lead to disability. Arthritis currently affects one in five people worldwide, regardless of age or race, and the numbers are increasing every year. While the average age of sufferers is approximately 43, young adults and children are also at risk. The joints, skin, eyes, lungs and even the heart are all susceptible to the pain brought about by the disease.

There are more than 100 types of arthritis. A recent report by the American Arthritis Association shows that the severest cases are most prevalent in younger sufferers. With AAA statistics showing that one third of the world's population will suffer from arthritis during their lifetime, there is still so much to be done in order to fight the disease - for which there is currently no cure. Money raised by those taking part in the walkathon will go towards the Emirates Arthritis Foundation Treatment Fund, which supports sufferers who cannot afford treatment, the costs of which can rise to Dh70,000 a year per person.

A non-profit organisation, the Emirates Arthritis Foundation provides a wide range of activities and events across the Emirates that support arthritis sufferers. Having recently been awarded a Dh250,000 grant by the Emirates Foundation, the EAF also aims to provide research into disability and workplace assistance, as well as into the costs of helping those living with the disease. Katrina Thornley, patient support director at the Emirates Arthritis Foundation, will be taking part in the walkathon and urges as many people as possible to do the same: "The whole point of the walk is to raise awareness and funds to help sufferers. The Dh70,000 [required for treatment] is too expensive for many people. In addition, some sufferers tend to not get enough exercise either, so we need to get these people out there and taking part in the walk."

Entry to the walkathon is Dh50 and children under five are free. Anyone up for a bit more of a challenge should make their way to the fun run, for which the donation is Dh150 per entrant. All participants will receive a T-shirt, one week's membership at Fitness First, a wristband, a certificate and entry into the prize drawing for the chance to win a weekend for two at Qamardeen Hotel in Dubai. In addition, anyone who raises Dh5,000 in sponsorship will receive a Dh100 Dubai Festival City shopping voucher.

For more information or to register, visit Dubai Festival City, Fitness First or Bareface. You can also contact the Emirates Arthritis Foundation on 04 423 1470 or info@arthritis.ae