Newswise — MANHATTAN, NY – The 50 million Americans who suffer from autoimmune disease now have the opportunity to get involved and find a cure through the first-ever national “Autoimmune Walk: Linking Together for a Cure” campaign sponsored by the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA).

“Army Wives” Star and AARDA Spokesperson, actress Kellie Martin, is urging patients, their families and friends to join her in an effort to bring awareness to the over 100 autoimmune diseases that plague Americans.

“Autoimmune disease affected my family in a terrible way when I lost my sister and best friend, Heather, to lupus in 1998,” explains Kellie. “Since Heather’s death, I have worked with AARDA to raise awareness of autoimmune diseases. Now I have the opportunity to invite others who have been affected to join the fight – and walk.”

The Autoimmune Walks are being conducted “virtually” and in New York. The New York Tristate Autoimmune Walk will be held on Sunday, June 24, at Clinton Cove Hudson River Park in Manhattan. The park is located at the Hudson River between 55th and 57th streets. Registration will begin at 9am and the Walk will begin at 10am. A virtual walk can be done by anyone, anywhere in the world, at any time that is convenient.

“Autoimmune diseases run in families and they have a common thread that links them all together,” says Kellie. “This is an incredible opportunity for families touched by these diseases to ‘link together’ in support of autoimmune disease research and patient services.”

Autoimmune disease (AD) disproportionately affects women. Of the 50 million Americans living and coping with ADs, more than 75 percent – some 30 million – are women. AD is one of the top 10 leading causes of death of women under the age of 65. It encompasses more than 100 diseases, including type-1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune hepatitis, Sjogren’s, Crohn’s disease and lupus. It is responsible for more than $100 billion in direct health care costs annually.

For more information about a virtual walk or to sign up for a walk, visit

American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA) is the nation's only non-profit organization dedicated to bringing a national focus to autoimmunity as a category of disease and a major women's health issue and promoting a collaborative research effort in order to find better treatments and a cure for all autoimmune diseases. For more information, please visit

Follow us on Twitter at #autoimmunewalkLike us on Facebook:

- # # # -

Register for reporter access to contact details