I was fresh out of college when I got some devastating news- the mom of one of my childhood best friends had passed away due to complications from something called "scleroderma" and as hard as I tried, I wasn't really able to wrap my head around the disease until my mom explained it in a way that made more sense.

The way my mom explained scleroderma to me is that basically, the joints and the muscles of the person suffering from it become so stiff that it's almost as though they're turning to concrete.

Maybe you've never heard of scleroderma. Scleroderma is a rare, chronic rheumatic disease that affects about 300,000 Americans, generally, women who are between 30 and 50-years-old and according to the International Scleroderma Network, the term rheumatic disease "refers to a group of conditions characterized by inflammation and/or pain in the muscles, joints, or fibrous tissue. A connective tissue disease is one that affects tissues such as skin, tendons, and cartilage."

Unfortunately, there is still no cure for scleroderma, a non-contagious chronic disease, but with treatments and medication, life can be a bit more manageable. However, these treatments and medications come with a hefty price tag.

If you like to run, walk, or just want to show love to those in our community who are living with scleroderma, the Binghamton Stepping Out to Cure Scleroderma will hold a walk to raise money and awareness for research and support on Sunday, June 3rd at Otsiningo Park. Registration will begin at 9 a.m. and the walk will step off at 10 a.m.

If you'd like to learn more about scleroderma and how you can help by putting together a team, check this out.

[via Scleroderma Foundation]