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6/4/2009 Katy, TX – Two Katy families touched by an autoimmune disease that causes severe hair loss have teamed up to chair Houston’s first-ever "Tortoise & Hair" 5K and 1 Mile Run/Walk benefiting the National Alopecia Areata Foundation (NAAF.) Set for Saturday, June 27, 8 a.m., for the one-mile walk and 8:30 a.m. for the 5K, the event will begin at Wortham Center’s Ray C. Fish Plaza, 500 Texas Avenue, downtown.
“Alopecia areata is a poorly understood autoimmune disease that affects more than five million Americans with the severe loss of hair on one’s head, as well as facial and body hair,” said Beverly Tucker, event co-chair with her husband, Jonathan, and Jennifer and Jeff Magee. “It occurs in both sexes and all races and ages, but children are most commonly affected. Currently there is no cure,” Tucker explained.

The Tucker’s 9-year-old son, Jonathan, Jr., was diagnosed with alopecia areata at age 7 and the Magee’s daughter, Elizabeth, 10, was diagnosed at age 4. Jonathan, Jr. and his father plan to run the 5K together. Younger brother, Christopher, 8, will walk the one-mile race with his grandfather, Dr. Garrett Tucker.
The “Tortoise & Hair” coincides with the 24th Annual National Alopecia Areata Foundation (NAAF) International Conference in Houston. Race proceeds will benefit the NAAF, a 501c(3) organization, to fund research to help find a cure or effective treatment for the unpredictable, emotionally disabling disease. M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston serves as a national registry for alopecia areata patients in its support of research.
“As parents, we find ourselves challenged daily with helping our children maintain their dignity and self-confidence,” explained Jeff Magee. While we cannot grow hair for Elizabeth or Jonathan, we can raise funds to foster research needed.”
The “Tortoise & Hair” is 100 percent produced by volunteers, noted Tucker, whose family lives in Firethorne, a 1,400-acre master designed community in Katy/Fulshear. Firethorne, www.firethorne.info, and Infinity Investments are lead sponsors of “Tortoise & Hair.”

To register for the “Tortoise & Hair,” visit www.houstonaaf5k.org and www.active.com. The pre-registration fee, $20 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under, ($25 for Race Day registration), includes a T-shirt and post-race refreshments. There will be overall awards to the first male and female race winners and top three per age group, make and female.

For off-line registration, checks should be made out to National Alopecia Areata Foundation (NAAF) and mailed with entry forms to: “Tortoise & Hair”, 1422 Three Forks Drive, Katy, TX 77450. For further information, contact jjmagee@earthlink.net  or 281-395-9064.