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The Strides for CJD event will take place Sunday, Oct. 9 at Tryon Creek State Park's Huston Sports Complex. 

COURTESY PHOTO: CJD FOUNDATION - The Strides for CJD event will provide the chance for victims of the disease to be honored.

This story was updated from its original version

Along with raising money for research and treatment, Gresham resident Elaine Woehlert said the main purpose of the upcoming Strides for CJD (Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease) event near Lake Oswego is to raise awareness. That way, those grieving the loss of a loved one from the rare neurodegenerative disease can have somewhere to turn.

"There are many people who don't realize there are other people who have been affected by CJD. The main thing for me is to help them realize they're not alone and there's people in the community just like them," Woehlert said.

The CJD Foundation in Portland is hosting the walking event in honor of those impacted by Prion diseases — including Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease — 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 9 at Lewis & Clark College's Huston Sports Complex on Southwest Boones Ferry Road.

CJD is a rare and fatal neurodegenerative disease with no cure or treatment, affecting around 550-600 people a year according to the foundation. The foundation works to raise awareness and funding for research.

"There is very little funding available. We petition Congress every year to up the funds through the CDC. That's one of the things we raise money for is research and grant money, so we can further along the progress of finding a treatment or a cure," Woehlert said.

COURTESY PHOTO: CJD FOUNDATION - Attendees of a previous Strides for CJD event pose for a photo.

Woehlert's son was contaminated with the disease during brain surgery when he was 10 and, 20 years later, quickly lost physical skills like using his hands, speaking and swallowing before also losing cognitive abilities. A few months later, he died. No one knew he had CJD until the autopsy.

"He was healthy, happy, had a wonderful job, a home, a wife and was a strong 6-4 guy," Woehlert said.

Along with the walk, the event will include a raffle, a memory table where people can place photos of loved ones, bluegrass music, refreshments and more. For more information, visit secure.qgiv.com/event/strides-2022/classification/268702.

The event's location was misreported in an earlier version of this story. It is at Lewis & Clark College's Huston Sports Complex


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