Prattville – Patrick McGlade is running across the country to raise money for the Arthritis Foundation, but stopped long enough on Monday for Mayor Jim Byard Jr. to welcome him to the city and to issue a proclamation in his honor.
“I declare this to be Patrick McGlade day and that means that you can drive anyway you want to … or in your case, you can crosswalk or jaywalk all day if you please,” Byard said with a chuckle.
The Stafford, Virginia native stated that this was the first time he had been given a whole day in his honor by the top city official.
McGlade, a twenty-one year old recent graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, mentioned that he became interested in arthritis awareness through relatives and friends.
“I found out about juvenile arthritis from my cousin who had it and also the granddaughter of my roommates last semester has arthritis,” said McGlade.
Byard remarked that Alabama has the second highest rate of arthritis in the United States, second only to West Virginia and that 1.2 million Alabamians live with the disease every day.
An ultra-marathon runner, McGlade is used to racing distances of fifty and a hundred miles, and this trip amounts to about a marathon a day.
“When the thought came to me to do this, I was actually in the middle of a twenty-four hour race and it was about eleven at night and I thought, ‘I bet I can run thirty miles a day.’”
“So far, I’ve seen rain, sleet, and snow, but no hurricanes or tornadoes,” McGlade said.
The Arthritis Foundation local city chapters aid in finding transportation and hotels for the runner.
Cindy Ducker, a Prattville resident and longtime volunteer with the foundation, worked with Lisa Hemphill, Alabama Development Director, and other foundation staff to coordinate the efforts in this area.
Also in attendance for the reading of the proclamation was Kimberly Crowe, a victim of juvenile arthritis, who became involved through her grandmother who met Hemphill at a fund-raising event.
McGlade began his trek on January 2 at the Bella Terra Mall in Huntingdon Beach, California, and at the end of his journey on April 23 at Tybee Island, Georgia, he will have traveled to over fifty towns in eight states.
Donations can be made online at www.way.to/patricksrun4arthritis.
Article by Melissa Parker
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