I think you know by now that I love living life to the fullest. If that can be considered a lifestyle, sign me up for that! I’m talking about seizing the day. Go to your #1 travel destination. Meet your favorite movie star and tell him face to face exactly what you think about him. Go out for ice cream. Call your mom (I just did). Grab your partner’s hand and give it a squeeze. Apply for that dream job. Go on that whale watch. Smile at that stranger. Pay for the car behind you at the drive-through. For me, life is about a series of small to large meaningful moments. Sometimes, the little things are actually the big things. Sometimes, often, the big things are the BIG things.
Many people can’t live their lives to the fullest because of arthritis. And I want all of my loved ones to come along for the ride, or some of the rides, anyway! I’ve seen how arthritis affects the six grandparents, some worse than others, but I’ve also seen how it affects my husband. There have been events and activities he has sat out, just because of the pain in his feet or toes. Things like ice skating, hiking, bicycling, even driving. And we’re a family that loves to be on the go!
How You Can Help Shape the Future for Those with Arthritis:
If asked to count the number of people I know with arthritis, and some of them are quite young, I easily go through both hands within seconds. My husband has arthritis in his toes. My mom has it in her fingers, and as a lifelong artist, well, you know how hard that must be. She’s also a grandmother of nine grandchildren. And I’ve seen her struggle. I’ve seen her first thing in the morning, with grandkids of all ages racing into her arms, and she has to wait until her fingers “warm up” before holding even one of them. You can imagine how this makes us all feel.
Her story, which is still unfolding, is one of the many stories in my life, and in the world. That’s why we’re here today to take action! The Arthritis Foundation needs your help! They created a program to help break down barriers to care, to accelerate research, and to create resources that will make a difference. We’re teaming up with them to help raise the voice of the arthritis community by encouraging you to participate in Live Yes! INSIGHTS. This is a 10-minute assessment to share your overall arthritis experience. The survey asks questions about your or a loved one’s symptoms, pain levels, and personal experiences. It’s for people with arthritis, and you can help by taking the survey if you have arthritis, or if you can send it to a loved one who has arthritis.
About the Arthritis Foundation:
- They are the Champion of Yes, leading the fight for the arthritis community. They help conquer everyday battles through life-changing information and resources, access to optimal care, and advancements in science and community.
And they have a goal to chart a winning course in guiding families in developing personalized plans for living a full life, and making each day another stride towards a cure.
They believe that with the right support system in place, people can still enjoy doing the things they love.
And the Arthritis Foundation believes that by reaching and listening to millions of people with the disease, they’re working together to develop resources, influence research, and change systems to improve lives.
About the Live Yes! Arthritis Network:
They provide personalized help and support to adults living with all types of arthritis and rheumatic conditions and parents or guardians of children living with arthritis.
The programs they have offer opportunities for connection, education and empowerment via Live Yes! Connect Groups, Online Community and conferences.
The Live Yes! Arthritis Network was created by the Arthritis Foundation, to make connections both in person and online to empower people to live their best lives, find strength in each other, manage stress, and take control of their health care.
By taking the Live Yes! INSIGHTS assessment, you are helping them get a better sense of what people experience on a daily basis.
Live Yes! has connect groups that are in-person, peer-led “support groups” to focus on fun, socializing, information, activities, mutual support, and coping strategies for living well.
Their online community allows adults with all types of arthritis and rheumatic diseases to chat 24/7 about what matters most, including medical issues, frustrations, tips, life hacks and more.
Some Arthritis Stats and Facts:
- As you know, more than 54 million Americans have it. 1 in 4 Americans, including nearly 300,000 children, have it.
It’s the #1 leading cause of disability among adults in the United States.
Did you know that more kids and adults are living with arthritis in America than those with breast cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and autism combined?
And, there are more than 100 different types of arthritis and related diseases – it’s not just an “elderly disease” – because two-thirds of people with arthritis are under the age of 65.
Harris Poll Survey Results:
Nearly 9 in 10 Americans (89%) feel there are so many diseases without a cure that don’t get nearly enough public attention, and 85% believe more public attention is needed for arthritis.
Furthermore, more than 60% (61%) of Americans wouldn’t want to accept living with an incurable disease.
More than half of Americans (57%) don’t know that people with arthritis are at an increased risk for developing other diseases like heart disease.
- Arthritis doesn’t have a cure and impacts 1 in 4 Americans. Let that sink in for a second.
More about our journey:
I talked to my mom for a while on the phone just last week about arthritis. I’ve always thought of my mom as the strongest, most youthful mother and now grandmother I could imagine. It wasn’t until I had kids that I started to notice any limitations at all. Both of my mom’s parents lived to age 100 without cancer, heart disease, or diabetes. That said, I am sure they had arthritis. My grandfather was an artist as well and he kept doing art well into his 90s, and he even still drove until about 95. I think the art kept his brain young and sharp. That said, a life without arthritis would remove the limitations even in someone so powerful like him. It’s enough to imagine that I want to share my story so that it can help.
I am surrounded by arthritis in many directions, and even have friends with the disease, as well as their kids. I think part of why I want to talk about this is to reduce the stigma of thinking of it as something that only strikes older people. In fact, it strikes people of all ages. And yes, many of my older loved ones have it, and that makes me even more determined that they don’t feel pain. My mother-in-law visited us from Florida over the past weekend and we had booked her a massage for pain from arthritis in her neck. While it did help, it wasn’t a magical cure, and it goes to show you how fresh in our minds her arthritis is. We want her to feel great!