Lisa Wilson Reed hopes people will join her in the fight against a chronic disease that kept her bedridden for seven months in 2009.

Lisa Wilson Reed hopes people will join her in the fight against a chronic disease that kept her bedridden for seven months in 2009.

That was when she was diagnosed with the rare autoimmune disease scleroderma. "Sclera" comes from the Greek word meaning hard and "derma" comes from another Greek word meaning skin.

The disease has two forms: localized scleroderma, which usually involves the skin and muscles; and systemic scleroderma, which involves multiple parts of the body.

Reed has systemic scleroderma, which affects the connective tissues in the skin, lungs, esophagus, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, heart and other internal organs. Connective tissue and internal organs can harden and function less effectively or can lose all function, she said.

She said the disease is mild in some cases and life-threatening in others.

"I have pain every day, but I have been able to work more this year than any year since I was diagnosed in 2009," she said. "I have flares where I am sick for weeks at a time and other times I do OK. I manage my symptoms, take my medications and I get out and enjoy life when I am feeling good."

To raise awareness of the disease, Reed hopes people will join her at the 10th annual Stepping Out to Cure Scleroderma Walk on Sunday, Oct. 7, at the Reynoldsburg Senior Center, 1529 Davidson Drive. Registration opens at 11 a.m. with the walk starting at noon.

Registration is $10 for just the walk, or $25 to also receive an event T-shirt.

Walkers age 10 and under can participate for free.

"This year's walk is even more near and dear to me because my sister, Kelzey, was diagnosed last October with systemic scleroderma," Reed said. "It has made me want to work even harder to raise money to find a cure for both of us."

Reed works at Nationwide Children's Hospital as a paramedic in the emergency room and also works at Columbus State Community College as an EMS Preceptor.

She said after being in bed for seven months during the first year she was diagnosed, she refused to "live like I was dying" and decided that stress and worry made her symptoms worse.

Her symptoms include gastrointestinal issues, internal bleeding, bacterial infections, chronic fatigue and arthritis.

"I continue to have support from my husband, my family, friends and my employers and that's the most important and helpful thing to me," she said.

She sees a scleroderma specialist at the Cleveland Clinic.

"They are one of the only hospitals in Ohio considered to specialize in scleroderma," she said.

Reed said walkers will use the bike path behind the Senior Center.

"We have two paths, one shorter for those who can't walk as far and a longer path for those who can," she said.

The first loop of the course is approximately one mile long and returns to the Senior Center. Walkers who choose to go farther may continue on another one-mile plus course that again loops back to the Senior Center. Both courses are on bike/walk paths.

The event includes a 50/50 raffle; an auction with more than 30 items, including gift baskets, gift cards and handmade items; a bake sale; a kids' corner with crafts and food, including hamburgers and cheeseburgers from Culver's Reynoldsburg.

"We will also have hot dogs and chips, water and soda," Reed said.

Race cars from Columbus Motor Speedway also will be on display.

All funds raised go to the Ohio Chapter of the Scleroderma Foundation, Reed said.

"I host and plan this event every year, not only to raise money, but to raise awareness in hopes that others who may have autoimmune issues won't have to struggle like I did to get a correct diagnosis," she said.

Reed leads a committee in planning the event, consisting of her mother, Tamzen Wilson, Amie Black and Susan Ackers.

This is her fourth year planning the event.

The Ohio Chapter Scleroderma Foundation will hold its State Scleroderma Conference that weekend, with a reception at 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 5, and the conference beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday. Oct. 6, at the Embassy Suites Columbus, at Interstate 270 and Cleveland Avenue. Registration and fee information is available online at sfohio.org.

Reed said patients and others interested in learning more about the disease could attend the conference and listen to scleroderma experts from all over the country.

"This is a great opportunity to get education on scleroderma because it is such a rare disease and we will have many experts there to talk to patients and their families," she said.