Event raises money to help fight hepatitis
Teams are forming and pledges are being gathered for the HONOR Walk for Reform, an awareness and fund raising event for Hepatitis Outbreaks' National Organization for Reform.
Woodcliff Restaurant will host the Oct. 9 event, including snacks and a short program. Registration starts at 12:30 p.m. and the walk around the lake will begin an hour later.
There will be prizes for teams that raise the most money, including the grand prize of a quilt made by the late Marian McCluskey, a longtime elementary teacher in Oakland. The quilt was hand-pieced and hand-quilted. It was donated in McCluskey's honor by her daughter, Mary Hendrickson of Fremont.
Funds from the HONOR Walk will go directly to programs and efforts by HONOReform, a national advocacy organization dedicated to protecting patients through safeguarding medical injections. The organization was formed after 99 people were affected by a hepatitis outbreak at a Fremont clinic in 2002.
HONOReform Executive Director Steve Langan said the event is open to the public, but specifically targeted to families affected by hepatitis outbreaks.
"We'd love to see them," he said. "It's been 10 years (since the Fremont outbreak). This is a way for them to reflect for a moment and to encourage us on our work to prevent outbreaks like this."
Organizers are also reaching out to community, church and schools groups, he said.
"We work with partners throughout the country so there are teams being formed in Nevada, where we have a presence, and in Baltimore where we have a presence," Langan said. "They're not coming here, they're going to do events. They may walk together on that day or they may do some other kind of gathering, or maybe they're just soliciting donations and talking about awareness with friends and colleagues.
"We know the economy is tough, we understand that," he continued. "We don't want to pressure people, we're asking them to support our efforts as best they can. Everything they do helps, and along the way we get to spread some awareness about our mission."
The event will proceed rain or shine, Langan said.
"We were thinking about setting up a second route so people don't have to go the three-plus miles if they don't want to, but I have a feeling that people are going to want to walk around the lake," he said.
Walkers can preregister and receive a packet by calling 402-659-6343, emailing steve@HONOReform.org, or by visiting www.Firstgiving.com/HONOReform. Contributions can be made at the web site. Teams can also register the day of the event.
Langan said HONOReform has been promoting the One and Only campaign (one needle, one syringe, only one time) led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Safe Injection Practices Coalition.
Meanwhile, HONOReform co-organizer Evelyn McKnight of Fremont "has been on the road tirelessly giving presentations," Langan said.
McKnight was the lead speaker in a congressional briefing in late July in which she called for a Government Accountability Office review of the costs associated with unsafe injections and addressing federal mechanisms that can improve injection safety.
"A little bit of our work in Washington has started to develop, which is great to see," Langan said.
"We're hopeful in the next year there will be a consolidated report taking in all this information, much of which we've been a part of, and putting it in one place so we can make our request for legislation on a national level from that bona fide, vetted, essential information," he said.
"We also asked for an appropriations request to be considered, but a lot of that is very much in limbo," he said, explaining that the bill has been delayed.
"We just have to be comfortable with the knowledge that we did all we can and we have been helpful in driving over $4 million to the CDC over the last several years. We expect, because of the attention paid to our issue, that we'll continue to be recognized and continue to help the CDC really tackle this problem," he said,http://bit.ly/qkSJcf