A Gahanna woman hopes a walk she initiated recently could be the first step in helping people who have a painful bladder disease called interstitial cystitis.
Anita Bosaw, who was diagnosed with what's commonly known as IC, said she believes the Oct. 12 fundraiser at Gahanna Middle School West was the first of its kind in the United States.
"Most people have never heard of IC," she said. "It's an extremely painful bladder disease. It destroys the lining of the bladder. Currently, there's no real treatment or cure for it."
She said the walk attracted about 60 people and raised $1,400.
After expenses, Bosaw said, she expected $1,000 would be donated from the walk to the Interstitial Cystitis Association.
Donations may be sent through Oct. 26 for this year's walk by going online to gofundme.com/WalkForIC.
"We ended up having ladies from three different states, as well as from all over Ohio, Bosaw said. "I've had ladies from other states contact me via Facebook who want to do it in their states. We hope the walk will grow and spread."
Bosaw said IC affects more women than men.
"It affects 4 million in the United States alone," she said. "It's very painful and debilitating. We hope more and more people will learn what it is."
Bosaw, 44, didn't have any symptoms until seven years ago, she said.
"There's no (known) cause or cure," she said. "I'm the first in my family. The only way to get a true diagnosis is to have surgery. They look at the lining of the bladder. Surgery comes after they've ruled out everything else.
"I've had 25 surgeries in seven years, and that's common. Many of us have multiple surgeries," she said. "You get to know your urologist far too well."
She said many IC sufferers lose their bladders.
"We're trying to raise awareness," Bosaw said. "Our awareness month is September, but I tried to schedule (the walk) around Buckeye games. We'll probably do this the same time next year."
All proceeds will be donated toward research for a cure.
More about IC can be found online at ICHelp.org.