The sixth annual Standing Up to POTS walk/run organized by Cathy Pederson, class of 1991 and the Elizabeth “Betty” E. Powelson Endowed Chair in Biology at Wittenberg, will take place on Saturday, Oct. 5.
Registration begins at 9 a.m. followed by the race at 10 a.m., both along Alumni Way in front of the Benham-Pence Student Center.
POTS, which stands for Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, includes symptoms such as constant fatigue, rapid heartbeat, sensitivity to light and temperature, dizziness, and more. Standing Up to POTS, a 501(c)(3) organization created by Pederson in 2014, has a mission to improve the quality of life for people with POTS through research, advocacy, and support.
Pederson and her family know firsthand what it’s like to live with the disorder as her teenage daughter, Lily, suffers from POTS. She became ill at age 10. For Pederson’s daughter, POTS is so harsh that it affects her ability to attend school.
This 5K event at Wittenberg is the biggest and most important fundraiser for the Standing Up to POTS organization. The money raised will fund research in the United States, Canada, Germany, and Sweden. Together the Pederson family has raised more than $100,000 for POTS research, and Standing Up to POTS® has awarded grants to five POTS research teams in four countries.
Pederson and her family were recently presented with a Warrior Award at the NeuroConnect Summit in Washington, D.C., for their work with their organization. Pederson has published eight papers on POTS/chronic illness and quality of life issues in the past couple of years. Lily, now age 17, writes about her experience with POTS on the nonprofit’s website, Facebook page, and as a guest blog contributor, while Pederson’s other daughter, Kate, has designed T-shirts for the annual 5K, as well as graphics for both the website and the Facebook page.
“Please help us to raise awareness about POTS. It can be an incredibly debilitating chronic illness that robs teens and adults of their quality of life,” Pederson said. “I watch a young teen suffer from this disorder every day and wouldn’t wish this on another family. Since its inception in 2014, our local charity has gained international attention. People from more than 150 countries have visited our website, and we have people with POTS from 54 countries who follow our Standing Up to POTS Facebook page. The walk is a great way to show your support for the chronic illness community that is often forgotten by the general public.”
Sign up for this year’s race here.
Donations are also accepted and are tax-deductible.
Did you know that:
- Approximately one percent of teens are affected by POTS.
- 25% of those with POTS are too sick to go to school or work.
- The physical disability can require teens and young adults to need a wheelchair, cane, and/or shower chair.
- Women and teenage girls are five times more likely to get POTS than their male counterparts.
- POTS can occur after pregnancy, trauma, or a viral illness such as mono.