Many of you may already know that I suffer from Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, however many people are in the blue about my chronic condition. Young people can get arthritis?! Yes! I may not be showing physical symptoms anymore but that's just because I'm super fortunate to have had all the support of my family and programs for children and youth with rheumatoid arthritis. I wouldn't have the quality of life that I have know without the generous donations from the community!
Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis is an autoimmune disease; it is a form of inflammatory arthritis. Basically, my immune system attacks my joints thinking they are foreign invaders (talk about identity crisis). I was fortunate that I was diagnosed early which meant that the arthritis didn't get a chance to cause serious deformations in my joints. However, many children cannot find effective treatment and have their growth severely impeded, often the inflammation will also spread to other body systems like the optic nerves, skin, kidneys, and even the heart causing many other issues.
You get the gist of things; arthritis takes a huge physical toll on the human body. Many others, myself included, have suffered, and still suffer, from devastating mental predicaments. How? No one knew or understood what was happening to me and no one tried to understand. I was diagnosed when I was 8. As an A team track runner and avid dancer at Boston Dance Studio, it was a mystery to people why I suddenly had to stop. At first my toes swelled at ballet; when I asked to take my shoes off and dance just with my stockings my dance teacher scolded me for being a nuisance. At school I eventually had to stop participating in PE. My peers gave me side glances. Many "friends" became, I don't blame them, appointments and therapy took so much of my time. At recess I could no longer swing on the monkey bars with my friends; many kids snickered and called me a whimp; I became very self conscious and ashamed of myself. But I was furious, not at them, but at the fact I couldn't do anything to make my situation better! All I needed was inform everyone about what I was going through. Ironically, even my GP thought I was just making excuses to skip school.
There is no cure for arthritis, YET, but with every little step we get closer. Everyone is still learning and understanding this devastating ailment. With new technology we can all pool our resources together to make everyone's lives better! Did you know that there are over 100 different types of arthritis? The Globe and Mail even calls it "the most disabling disease in Canada" and I agree 100%.
Today, more than 6 million Canadians are affected by arthritis. These numbers are only going to increase. By 2035, 1 in 4 Canadians will have arthritis. That means you or your wife, your mother or your brother just may have arthritis.
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 for people affected by arthritis.
Where do you come in all of this? Come join The Walk For Arthritis!
You can donate online or better yet sign up to join the Walk (sign up under my team! team name: STROLLution) which will be happening June 4th, 2018! Remember, every little step counts!
I want to thank everyone for their support in making my journey with arthritis more meaningful. Please spread the word and please spread the HOPE!
If you think this page contains objectionable content, please inform the system administrator.