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. It took some explaining from my mom for scleroderma to make sense to me.

The way my mom explained scleroderma is that basically, those suffering from scleroderma experience stiffness in the joints and the muscles so intense that it feels as though they're turning into 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, 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 2nd 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]