WHEELING - Hundreds of people are expected to turn out for the third annual Great Strides 5K Walk in front of WesBanco Arena in downtown Wheeling Saturday to show their support for finding a cure for cystic fibrosis - a life threatening genetic disease that impacts the lungs and digestive tract.
The event is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. with a brief ribbon cutting ceremony in front of WesBanco Arena before participants walk north on Heritage Trail and return back to Heritage Port.
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation/Western Pennsylvania Chapter board member Doug Sarkis said he is expecting an even larger turnout this year than in previous years. He said more than 400 people participated in last year's event, which included 15 teams and nearly 80 Boy Scouts. Sarkis said as organizers prepared for this year's walk, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced in January the approval for a break-through drug to treat the underlying cause of cystic fibrosis for 4 percent of patients who have a certain genetic mutation. He said, however, they still need drugs to treat the other 96 percent of the patients with cystic fibrosis. He said 90 percent of every dollar raised goes to research.
File Photo by Scott McCloskey
Hundreds of people gathered in front of WesBanco Area during last year’s Great Strides 5K Walk opening ceremony.
"With the help of your donation, we will be able to reach our goal of $50,000 for 2012," Sarkis said, noting their ultimate goal is to find a cure for the disease.
This year's walk is dedicated to the late David "Pidgy" Shutek, a Lansing resident who suffered from cystic fibrosis.
A picnic is scheduled to follow the event, with 50/50 and basket raffles included. Music will be provided by Tim Ullom. Sarkis said those interested in participating in the 5K Walk can still register before the start of the event.