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Cutting for a cause

Master Barber Gregory Zorian, III of Gregory’s Barbershops of Clifton Park and Delmar, tending to longtime customer Tom Lynch.

Master Barber Gregory Zorian, III of Gregory’s Barbershops of Clifton Park and Delmar, tending to longtime customer Tom Lynch. Photo by Julie Cushine-Rigg.

— It is a painful, life altering disease that can also be fatal. In a “localized” form it can cause a thickening and tightening of the skin as well as other connective tissues. A “systemic” form of the disease causes serious damage to internal organs including the lungs, heart, kidneys, esophagus and gastrointestinal tract.

Franze said that her sister-in-law had symptoms of “localized” scleroderma three years ago, after having her son. She experienced severe swelling and stiffness of the joints.

“When the pain started to get worse she went to her family physician. … They discovered she had an autoimmune disease and sent her to a rheumatologist to do some more testing. She then found out she had scleroderma,”Franze said.

Holding local fundraisers like the Cut-A-Thon helps the foundation reach out to communities, said Tri-State Scleroderma Foundation Executive Director Jay Peak.

“Scleroderma over produces collagen, becoming like scar tissue. … If you think of having a cut on your hand and you get this nice scar…it can be hard to move and stretch. With scleroderma, that can happen to your entire skin,” said Peak.

The foundation helps those who are newly diagnosed get in touch with the right resources, including doctors. And it also shares expert information obtained from doctors and other professionals

Franze said that Amy is doing well.

“The disease does affect her hands but she is a strong and independent person and she does not let it get in her way of everyday activity. She is now going to school to be an RN at Schenectady Community College,” she said.

Gregory’s is also partnering with Top My Pizza next door in Village Plaza, where 15 percent of sales will go help The Scleroderma Foundation.

On Sunday, June 10, there is also a walk for the Scleroderma Foundation at Crossgates Mall sponsored by the Albany Capital District Scleroderma Foundation. For more information on the walk or scleroderma visit scleroderma.org.

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