Inaugural national Walk to Fight Arthritis raises $900,000

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TORONTO, May 31 /CNW/ - Almost 3,500 people in 16 cities across Canada participated in the first national Walk to Fight Arthritis yesterday and raised $900,000 to help find a cure for one of the leading causes of disability among Canadians.

"By all accounts, this was an incredible event and we couldn't have done it without the dedication and generosity of everyone involved including our major sponsor, the makers of TYLENOL(R)," said Steven McNair, President and CEO, The Arthritis Society.

"By raising money for and awareness of arthritis, we have a real chance to find a cure for this debilitating disease that affects more than four million Canadians," he added. "It was truly inspiring to see so many people join together to help fight arthritis."

Canadian hockey legend Wendel Clark joined the Toronto walk to support his mother-in-law and many friends and former hockey mates who suffer from the disease.

"This was a fantastic event and a great way to spend a Sunday together with family and friends," said Clark. "It feels good to know I helped raise awareness for such an important cause."

Wendel and other walk participants wore symbolic Blue Badges to help demonstrate the many faces of arthritis, a disease that doesn't affect just older people.

Participating walk communities were:

    
    -   St. John's                     -   London
    -   Halifax                        -   Windsor
    -   Montreal                       -   Sudbury
    -   Ottawa (May 16)                -   Thunder Bay
    -   Kingston                       -   Winnipeg
    -   Toronto                        -   Moose Jaw
    -   Etobicoke                      -   Calgary
    -   Hamilton                       -   Vancouver
    -   Kitchener
    

Many participants also joined the fight online through a Virtual walk.

The Fight Against Arthritis Continues

Canadians are still encouraged to visit www.WalktoFightArthritis.ca to make a pledge for the Walk or to share their personal story of living with arthritis. For every approved story submitted by June 15, the makers of TYLENOL(R) will donate $5 to the Walk (up to a maximum of $20,000 CDN).

"Everyone has a story to share about their fight against arthritis, and the more people talk about the disease, the more awareness is generated," said McNair. "Whether sharing tips for managing arthritis or simply connecting with others affected by it, the stories will continue the momentum toward finding a cure."

Canadians can also contact The Arthritis Society at 1-800-321-1433 or www.arthritis.ca for information on how to manage their arthritis or to donate to help find a cure. Additional information on managing arthritis pain can also be found on www.livingwell.ca.

About The Arthritis Society

The Arthritis Society is Canada's principal health charity which empowers more than four million Canadians with arthritis to live their lives to the fullest by combating the daily limitations of arthritis. In the last 60 years, The Society has invested more than $170 million towards arthritis research to develop better treatments and ultimately find a cure.

About McNeil Consumer Healthcare

McNeil Consumer Healthcare markets a broad range of well-known and trusted over-the-counter (OTC) products around the globe. McNeil Consumer Healthcare, division of Johnson & Johnson Inc., markets products in the adult and pediatric pain relief, allergy, gastro-intestinal and nicotine-replacement categories under the brand names TYLENOL(R), MOTRIN(R), BENYLIN(R), BENADRYL(R), REACTINE(R), PEPCID(R), IMODIUM(R), ROLAIDS(R), NICORETTE(R) and NICODERM(R).

/NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: Photos accompanying this release are available at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited members of the media/

SOURCE MCNEIL CONSUMER HEALTHCARE

For further information: For further information: Laura Espinoza/Anya Kravets, Edelman, T: (416) 979-1120, ext. 245/323, E: laura.espinoza@edelman.com, anya.kravets@edelman.com; Sinead Canavan, The Arthritis Society, T: (416) 979-7228, ext. 348, E: scanavan@arthritis.ca; Tina Peyregatt, Johnson & Johnson Inc., T: (905) 968-2028, E: tpeyrega@its.jnj.com

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