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MURDOCK Study community celebration Saturday

KANNAPOLIS — As a thank you to nearly 12,000 people who have enrolled in the MURDOCK Study, Duke University will host a free community celebration on Saturday, Oct. 31, at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis.

The second annual MURDOCK Study Appreciation Event will include the MURDOCK Mile, a new 1-mile fun run/walk around the horseshoe-shaped sidewalk on the campus. The run/walk will start at 9 a.m. in front of the Core Laboratory Building at 150 Research Campus Drive, and other activities including health screenings, yoga, Zumba, line dancing and face painting will continue until noon.

The event is open to the community, and people are encouraged to come dressed in costume. It’s Halloween, after all! The best costumes will win prizes.

As part of the celebration, MURDOCK Study participants and their friends and family can tour Duke University’s new office in the NCRC Medical Plaza, located at 201 Dale Earnhardt Blvd., Suite 300, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Duke has added a second location in Kannapolis to accommodate more staff and additional population health research projects.

Organizers hope the appreciation event will encourage people to learn more about their health, get to know others in their community, spend time outside and enjoy light exercise by either walking, jogging, stretching or dancing.

“This is all about giving back to the community,” said Perla Nunes, community engagement leader for the MURDOCK Study. “We want to celebrate them, bring them back to the Research Campus and just have fun.”

A DJ on the main stage in front of the Core Lab will entertain the crowd throughout the morning, and instructors will lead line dancing, yoga and Zumba lessons. Organizers said they expect more than 20 vendors to have tables offering everything from food to health-related information and services, and health-care providers will offer free health screenings.

Volunteers who enroll in the MURDOCK Study give a one-time donation of about 3 tablespoons each of blood and urine and fill out a health questionnaire every year. Duke owes participants a debt of gratitude for contributing vital information that will help researchers better understand chronic diseases like obesity and multiple sclerosis and could ultimately lead to more effective treatments, Nunes said.

“We owe them for participating and volunteering their time, health information and biological specimens,” she said.

The study aims to reclassify disease using advanced scientific technologies, experts from Duke and their collaborators, participation from the community and a network of partners. Researchers are working to ultimately identify links across major diseases and disorders and find ways to treat and even defeat some of today’s leading causes of illness and death.

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