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Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in America, and on Saturday, a team of the College of Medicine’s new physicians group (Pegasus Health) helped lead a walk in downtown Orlando to find a cure.

Dr. Shazia Bég, who specializes in rheumatology at the new faculty practice, was medical honorary chair of the Orlando 2012 Arthritis Walk at Lake Eola Park, which so far has raised more than $40,000. Dr. Bég welcomed the crowd Saturday, gave awards to top fundraisers and challenged the crowd to work hard to find a cure for a disease that affects 50 million Americans and nearly 300,000 children.

“Arthritis affects everyone,” she told the crowd. “We need to create more awareness about arthritis. This is why we’re all here today – to find a cure and help people with arthritis live better lives.”

Dr. Bég presented fundraising awards to several individuals who deal with arthritis daily and their walking teams who helped raise money in support of a cure. One of those patients was 2012 Child Honoree Delaney Hutchison, who was diagnosed with arthritis at age 13. “I have been in a lot of pain and unable to do the things I love to do, like riding my favorite horse,” she said. “There is nothing fun about chronic disease. There is no cure — YET. Thank you for coming to the walk. It means a lot.”

In addition to Dr. Bég, College of Medicine walkers included Dean Deborah German, Drs. Abdo Asmar, Stephen Berman, Mujtaba Husain and Purnima Rao, and members of the Pegasus Health care team.

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