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Arthritis sucks, because today:
· Three people will die from arthritis-related complications
· 50 million men, women and children are in pain from arthritis
· 3,750 joints will be replaced
Arthritis and its forms, like RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis), are often referred to as the “invisible disease.” The symptoms are invisible when looking at an affected person’s appearance – so much that people with the disease often hear, “but you don’t look sick.” There’s also a misconception that only old people are suffering. However, JRA (juvenile rheumatoid arthritis) can be diagnosed as early as 6 months old. The effects of arthritis and all of its forms, however, are far from invisible to those who have the disease.
Arthritis is a life-altering disease with no cure, making the most simple and basic daily tasks extremely difficult. Imagine living a day with the disease – getting out of bed in the morning is a challenge, movement is difficult, walking is painful, fatigue and stiffness last all day and joints are inflamed causing constant, numbing pain even when the body is at rest. Creating awareness about the invisible disease plays a critical role in helping to find a cure.
I was diagnosed with RA when I was 18 years old, a Freshman in college and competitive runner. The doctor said casually, “You have Rheumatoid Arthritis. You’ll be in a wheelchair by the time you are 23 years old, and you’ll never run again.” Nine years and two total hip replacements later, I am still battling the disease with a smile on my face every day. I’m not alone, and luckily there are organizations like the Arthritis Foundation that are dedicated to improving the quality of life for those who are battling it with me.
May is National Arthritis Awareness Month, and the Arthritis Foundation is holding its 2012 Arthritis Walk 5k. This event spreads the word of the benefits of physical activity to ease the pain of arthritis, but more importantly it is a way for the community to come together to help raise funds to find a cure. In efforts to help raise awareness and honor fellow arthritis warriors, I’ll be running the 5k – to prove my first doctor wrong. I am running again and won’t stop, because it’s part of who I am.
This year’s juvenile arthritis honoree is 3-year-old Bevin, who began battling arthritis when she was 21 months old. Bevin was first taken to see her doctor due to a prolonged limp. A pediatric rheumatologist discovered that both her hips, knees and one ankle were affected by JRA.
The 2012 Arthritis Walk 5k will be full of fun, festivities and food. The walk is free and includes vendors such as event sponsor Massage Envy, which will raffle off a free one-hour massage every hour. It also features a kids zone with face-painting, games, crafts, and live entertainment. There is still time to help – participate by walking or running the 2012 Arthritis Walk 5k.
When: Saturday, May 5
Registration: 8 a.m.
Walk: 9 a.m.
Where: State Capitol – West Steps
To learn more and to register for the Arthritis Walk 5k, visit www.sacarthritiswalk.org.