Arthritis Foundation celebrates champions in Charleston

  • Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Melissa Whaley


On Saturday, May 4, the Arthritis Foundation will hold the 2013 Charleston Arthritis Walk, presented by Trident Pain Center, which is a nationwide signature event that raises funds and awareness to fight arthritis. This year, Arthritis Foundation will honor the Medical University of South Carolina Pediatric Rheumatologist Natasha Ruth, MD, as the Medical Honoree, Melissa Whaley as the Pediatric Honoree and in memory of Linda Klomparens, who will be celebrated as an Honoree. The Arthritis Walk celebrates National Arthritis Month in more than 300 communities nationwide to fund arthritis research, health education and government advocacy initiatives.

Melissa Whaley, 14 years old, woke up one Saturday in May of 2000 with a limp. By Monday, her leg was stiff. She was only 15 months old. The doctor said it was a toddler fracture that would heal in about two weeks, but her condition got worse.

In July 2000, she was diagnosed with JRA. Her parents were referred to MUSC. She had to sleep with braces on her legs and wrist. She is now doing great and is very active in sports of all kinds.

For Whaley’s strength, Arthritis Foundation honors her.

Linda Klomparens’ battle with RA began in 1978 with joint pain in her hands. In the spring of 1980, she was diagnosed with RA at Mayo Clinic. She had joint replacements in 1985 and 1986 in both hands.

With the help of great doctors, Klomparens had several years of lessened pain. But as years went on, her pain and inflammation became more severe. Klomparens was hospitalized in February of 2012 and lost her courageous 32-year-battle with RA from respiratory complications in April 2012.

For being brave and always remaining hopeful, Arthritis Foundation celebrates her life.

Melissa Whaley is only one reason why participating in Arthritis Walks is very important. Nearly 300,000 children in the United States have some sort of arthritis. This disease can affect children as early as a year old. Without treatment, arthritis can interfere with a child’s normal growth and development. There is currently no cure for arthritis, only a series of treatments that aim to control and prevent further damage to the joints and other tissues.

This event, presented by Trident Pain Center, will be held at James Island County Park. For more information on the 2013 Charleston Arthritis Walk log onto http://caw.arthritis.org or contact Joyce Gilles at 843-686-7399 or jgilles@arthritis.org.

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