Teaming Up

x_psoriasis2The National Psoriasis Foundation’s (NPF) 9th Annual Team NPF Walk is coming to Crown Point in Mission Bay Park on Sunday, Oct. 11. This year’s chairperson is Encinitas resident Hillel Katzeff, who has had psoriatic arthritis for over 30 years. He was inspired to chair the walk at the organization’s biannual volunteer conference. “Learning that NPF exists and what they do has opened my world,” said Hillel. “I was taken aback by the love and support of the many parents who were present to actively give back to support the organization for their children who have psoriatic disease.”

Three Rancho Bernardo organizers and board members also traveled to San Francisco for the conference. Stephanie Gearhart of Rancho Bernardo and Cristina Mariano and Mike Refermat of 4S Ranch have a combined 20 years of volunteerism with the foundation and are passionate about finding a cure for a disease that directly impacts each of them – along with almost 70,000 other San Diegans.

Local Solana Beach resident and Canyon Crest Academy student Alyson Tharp has also been devoting her time towards helping others affected by psoriasis. She was first diagnosed at the age of 10. “When I was first diagnosed, I had no idea that psoriasis existed. It quickly began to affect my everyday life,” explained Alyson. She only recently learned about NPF and is grateful for the support she’s found in the community. “I only know one other person with psoriasis, so it was eye-opening to see the community that is trying to find a cure. I am now aware that I am not defined by psoriasis or living in its shadow, but that I wouldn’t be who I am today without it.”

Alyson is a 2015 Youth Ambassador for NPF. “By sharing her story she is raising awareness about psoriatic disease and helping her peers understand and address their condition,” said Stephanie. “Alyson is an inspiration and we are lucky to have her.”

The Team NPF Walk has no registration fee, but walkers are encouraged to fundraise for the cause. The day will also include fun family activities like a costume contest, carnival games, giveaways, and more. “The walk is a great opportunity for those affected by psoriasis to meet others with the disease, get support, connect with doctors and psoriasis product vendors, and participate in a fun event for a great cause,” said Mike. Learn more about getting involved at