Krista Brantley, of Martinez, entered a coloring contest at a national Arthritis Foundation conference in San Diego last summer.
Krista Brantley, 10, whose drawing is on the front cover of the Arthritis Foundation's 2005 calendar, will lead a fund-raiser walk from 8-11 a.m. Saturday at Patriots Park.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
That drawing, themed "Communities Coming Together for a Cure," earned her the front cover of the foundation's 2005 calendar.
And as Columbia County's representative, Krista, 10, will lead off the 2005 Columbia County Arthritis Walk scheduled for 8 to 11 a.m. Saturday at Patriots Park on Columbia Road.
Krista, a fourth-grader at Martinez Elementary School, said exercises such as skating, biking and gymnastics have helped her keep her Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis under control with only a few flare-ups during the past several years.
Walking as part of a daily regimen can strengthen muscles while maintaining joint flexibility and boosting endurance, according to the foundation.
"She's got to keep her joints moving as much as she can," said Krista's father, Todd.
Brantley and Columbia County's Employees for Excellence committee organized the walk, which is aimed at getting other arthritis sufferers moving to stay healthy, take control of their arthritis and raise funds for the Arthritis Foundation.
Rebecca Hicks said the event will feature not only 1- and 3-mile walking courses but also games and inflatables for children and a coloring contest for kindergarten through fifth-graders. Hicks said a drawing outline for the contest, which costs $1 to enter, can be picked up from the county's Emergency Management Agency at 500 Faircloth Drive in Evans or at the event Saturday. Chuck E Cheese's pizza and tokens will be awarded in three age groups.
All proceeds from the event go to the Arthritis Foundation, which funds research, public health and public policy efforts to improve the lives of people with arthritis.
The foundation paid for Krista and her parents to attend conferences, such as the one last summer in San Diego, where they met others with arthritis and shared experiences and tips, Brantley said.
"You meet other parents from around the world and kids that have arthritis real bad ... It's crippling," Brantley said.
Arthritis is the leading cause of disability, affecting 70 million Americans, including 300,000 children.
At least seven teams have been raising funds and will walk along with many interested individuals, Hicks said.
"For those with arthritis, we'll be giving them free blue hats, and I guess the blue color is signified with the Arthritis Foundation. We also have the blue bracelets," Hicks said. "The people with arthritis will lead the walk, and Krista, she will be at the front."
The event also has received corporate sponsorship from local businesses, including SCANA Energy, which donated $1,000 to the foundation.
"We really appreciate it," Hicks said.
In honor of Krista, her mother, hairstylist Rhonda Wilson, is holding a cut-a-thon, featuring $8 cuts, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hair Cuttery at 500 Furys Ferry Road in Martinez. Proceeds from the cut-a-thon go to the Arthritis Foundation as well. For more information about the Arthritis Walk, call Hicks at 868-3484.
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