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Mary Alice McLarty
Mary Alice McLarty
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Fight the Flame 5k Raises Money for RSD-CRPS

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The 3rd Annual Fight the Flame 5k is an official time-chipped race and walk to raise awareness and money for Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)/Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). It scheduled for November 1 at 8:00 a.m. at McAlpine Creek Park in Charlotte, North Carolina.

What is RSD/CRPS?

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)/Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic neurological syndrome characterized by:

  • Severe burning pain
  • Pathological changes in bone and skin
  • Excessive sweating
  • Tissue swelling
  • Extreme sensitivity to touch

One RSD/CRPS Sufferer’s Story

Approximately 6,000,000 people in the U.S. suffer from RSD/CRPS. One of those people, Morgan Barfield of Charlotte, developed RSD/CRPS at the age of 16 following knee surgery. She describes her symptoms this way: “Constant burning pain like someone is throwing cinderblocks at you.”

Barfield’s RSD/CRPS symptoms began in her left foot and leg and eventually spread to both legs. She was on crutches and in a wheelchair for over two years, and was told she would never walk again because the muscles in her legs had atrophied. She underwent a surgery to implant a spinal cord stimulator and was able to relearn how to walk, with the help of therapy and self-motivation. She endured a setback that required her to take a year off from college because of pain in her hands, but by early 2015, her pain levels had dropped.

Barfield discovered the Fight the Flame 5k one day while sitting in her doctor’s office thumbing through a PainPathways magazine. She was excited to hear that the event was being held in Charlotte, and participated in the 2nd Annual Fight the Flame 5k last year.

A college internship requirement prompted Barfied to ask the Fight the Flame 5k organizers if she could intern with them and she volunteered an average of 30-40 hours per week from January through April 2015. One of her projects was to help organize this year’s event, and she also took on a special project to make the race more accommodating to those afflicted with RSD/CRPS, and thanks to her efforts, there will be more benches along the trail for people to take breaks during the race, and heaters to warm up, “which is huge for people with RSD because most of them can’t tolerate the cold,” according to Barfield.

All proceeds from the race will benefit the Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association.