There is no cure for arthritis, a painful and devastating disease that has changed my life in countless ways. After all, it's been more than five years since my journey began, and it took until I was 28, three years with various symptoms, treatments, tests and uncertainty, to get a diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis (AS).
AS is a type of spinal arthritis typically affecting the neck, thoracic spine, hips and SI joints but it's also caused other symptoms, including pain in several other joints and muscular issues. While a diagnosis was welcome and provided relief in some ways, my journey and the struggles I face are far from over.
My Experience with Arthritis
Chronic pain, mobility restrictions and inflammation are a few of the physical symptoms I experience on a daily basis, but it affects me on much more than a physical level; my relationships, career and mental health have all had their own struggles, and I know that I will likely experience ups and downs from AS for the rest of my life.
My hope is that one day soon I find an effective form of pain and disease management, but fundraisers and awareness are needed to make this possible. The Guelph Walk for Arthritis on June 3rd works towards this goal, ensuring those like me see improved support and new treatments, and to fund research for a cure.
Arthritis in Canada
Today, more than 6 million Canadians are affected by arthritis, and these numbers are on the rise. By 2035, 1 in 4 Canadians will have it, draining the Canadian economy of an estimated $67 billion in healthcare costs and lost productivity.
Arthritis affects both young and old, including 24,000 Canadian children with juvenile arthritis, just one of 200 types of this complex disease. At 31 years old, I know firsthand that symptoms can begin early in life, contrary to the misconception that arthritis is a simple sign of ageing or something only the elderly typically have.
As the prevalence of arthritis increases, so does the demand for investment into cutting-edge research, proactive advocacy and innovative solutions that will deliver better health outcomes and support for those affected by arthritis.
Support those with Arthritis
Please join me in supporting this important cause. Donate, spread the word online and in-person, and/or join my team as fundraiser or walker. Every little bit helps.
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