Gore Creek Gallop to raise money for Lupus research | VailDaily.com

Gore Creek Gallop to raise money for Lupus research

Carolyn Pope
Special to the Daily Local Ron Howell deals with Lupus on a daily basis. He says the disease came very close to killing him.
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Imagine joint pain – unimaginable pain. Next, you can’t lift your arms. You’re exhausted and running a fever. You ask questions, but it seems that no one has the answers – or at least the correct answer.That was life for Vail’s Ron Howell last year. In August, the 36-year-old started having joint pain, which brought him close to paralysis. He was diagnosed with the flu and given antibiotics. He was also told he had West Nile virus. Eventually, local doctor Wagner Schorr sent to him to a specialist after receiving abnormal results on tests run on his kidneys.In Denver, Howell was diagnosed with lupus nephritis, a form of Lupus that attacks the kidneys.”It’s a very scary disease,” says Howell, who is in remission. Howell is a single father of an 11-year-old daughter, Chelsea. “I was very close to death.”Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that can affect various parts of the body, especially the skin, joints, blood and kidneys. The body’s immune system normally makes proteins called antibodies to protect the body against viruses, bacteria and other foreign materials. These foreign materials are called antigens. In an autoimmune disorder such as lupus, the immune system loses its ability to tell the difference between foreign substances and its own cells and tissues.

The immune system then makes antibodies directed against “self.” These antibodies, called “auto-antibodies,” react with the “self” antigens to form immune complexes. The immune complexes build up in the tissues and can cause inflammation, injury to tissues and pain.For most people, lupus is a mild disease affecting only a few organs. For others, it may cause serious and even life-threatening problems. More than 16,000 Americans develop lupus each year. It is estimated that 500,000 to 1.5 million Americans have been diagnosed with lupus.Howell has gone through a series of treatments, including the steroid prednisone. The drugs have their own effect on the personality as well as the body. He also was treated with cytoxan through chemotherapy, which he was able to receive in town, thanks to the Shaw Cancer Center in Edwards.”Thank God for the Shaw Cancer Center,” he said. He’s finishing up his eighth chemo treatment soon.Because many lupus symptoms mimic other illnesses, are sometimes vague, and may come and go, lupus can be difficult to diagnose. Diagnosis is usually made by a careful review of a person’s entire medical history, a physical examination, routine laboratory tests and some specialized tests related to immune status.

Currently there is no single laboratory test that can determine whether a person has lupus or not. Some of the symptoms may include achy, painful or swollen joints; unexplained fever over 100 degrees; persistent, extreme fatigue and weakness – even after sleep. Other symptoms may include sun sensitivity where the skin “breaks out” after being in the sun, low blood count, protein in the urine, chest pain, and prominent redness or color change in the shape of a butterfly across the cheeks or nose.The first “Gore Creek Gallop” will be held Saturday in Vail Village. The 5K run/walk is a fund raiser for the Lupus Research Foundation. All of the proceeds from entry fees and sponsorships for the race will go directly to researching a cure for lupus.”We did the Lupus Loop in Washington Park in Denver for the last two years. It was a phenomenal success and we decided to bring it to Vail,” said Sandi Brown, chair of the event. “Vail is the perfect place for the race – it’s beautiful and the people are athletic.”Of course, you don’t need to be an athlete to participate. The 5k format is great for kids on up to grandparents. The course begins at the Children’s Fountain in Vail, winds through the golf course are and then back to the fountain, where there will be a post-race party and prizes. The entry fee includes a T-shirt, goody bag and party.”I don’t know what the future holds for me,” said Howell. “It’s made me realize we can go at any time. I’m more focused on my health, my friends, my job – and I don’t take things for granted.”

1st annual Gore Creek Gallop 5KA benefit for the Lupus Research Foundation. Registration begins at 8 a.m., Saturday, at the Children’s Fountain Vail Village. Race begins promptly at 9 a.m.Entry Fee: $28 for adults age 18-59; $25 for kids under 18 and adults over 60. Kids 5 and under are free. Anyone can walk this race. There will be prizes for the winners in their age group, as well as the most patriotically dressed. Entry fee includes T-shirt, goody bag, refreshments and prizes for the winners in their categories. Call 303-694-2030 for more information on the race. More information on lupus is available at http://www.lupus.org.