People marching, walking

The second annual Los Angeles Autoimmune Walk will be held Saturday at Culver City Park, seeking to raise awareness about autoimmune disease and its impact on individuals and families.

Registration will begin at 1 p.m. and the walk at 2 p.m. There will be band performances, a silent auction, a celebrity tug of war, food trucks and a raffle.

Proceeds from the walk will be used by the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association to fund research seeking to solve the underlying immune issues that link all autoimmune disorders.

The walk ambassador is actress Haley Ramm, whose mother was diagnosed with multiple autoimmune diseases over the past five years.

“I got involved with AARDA after being so frustrated that these autoimmune diseases weren’t getting enough attention or research dollars,” said Ramm, a guest star on “Good Girls Revolt,” the Amazon Prime Video drama inspired by the landmark sexual discrimination cases by young female researchers at Newsweek in 1970 that began streaming Oct. 28.

More information about the walk is available at aarda.org.

There are more than 100 known autoimmune diseases, including lupus, Type 1 Diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, myasthenia gravis, Graves’ disease and multiple sclerosis, according to Deb Patrick, the national walk coordinator for the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association.

More than 50 million people suffer from one or more autoimmune disease, with more than 75 percent of them women, Patrick said.

Autoimmunity has been designated as a major women’s health issue by the Office of Research on Women’s Health at the National Institutes of Health.

Unlike cancer, an umbrella category for a range of diseases including leukemia, breast cancer, prostate cancer and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, autoimmunity has yet to be embraced by the medical community as a category of disease, according to the association.

Because these diseases cross different medical specialties, such as rheumatology, endocrinology, hematology, neurology, cardiology, gastroenterology, and dermatology, and because such specialties usually focus on singular diseases within their particular category, there has been virtually no general focus on autoimmunity as the underlying cause, an association official said.

—City News Service

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