When you think of life altering diseases, arthritis may not be the first to come to mind. But just because arthritis doesn’t carry with it the same mortality rate as conditions like cancer or heart disease, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t impact lives in severe ways. Arthritis can be invisible, but the pain and disability it causes is real. The lives that are affected by arthritis matter and they are being hindered every single day because of this debilitating disease. Arthritis is the nation’s leading cause of disability. It’s about more than not being able to open jars or play piano. It can cause needle-like crystals to form in the joints, it can completely deform bodies, it can hinder any and all activity. It can causes flares and chronic fever in children, it can weaken immune systems and make those who live with it dangerously susceptible to illness. Arthritis is serious, and so is the critical level of underfunding for arthritis programs and so is a major funding cut that is on the verge of being sustained.
When you look at funding for programs for diseases like diabetes or heart disease, what you’ll see is hundreds of millions of dollars. When you look at funding for arthritis — that supports research and evidence-based physical activity and community programs to help people cope with this disease — what do you see? Well last year, you saw $13 million dollars. $13 million. For a disease with the highest prevalence, the lowest level of funding was provided.
$13 million dollars is only enough to support programs in 12 states, so despite the fact that over 50 million people (including an estimated 300,000 children) live with this disease, only those that are lucky enough to live in 12 of our great states have access to these resources. In 2015, however, that funding got cut even further. What was $13 million is now $9.5 million. This means important grants for programs have been cut by as much as 50%, leaving the arthritis community in even the 12 states that are supported to fend for themselves.
If this cut is sustained in 2016, the arthritis community will suffer. We cannot allow this to happen. To stop this, we need YOUR help. It’s very simple. Fill out the form here and tell your congressional leaders that this is unacceptable. The arthritis community deserves better.
Take action today. It takes 2 minutes to tell your leaders people with arthritis deserve more. Tell them to restore funding to $13 million in 2016.
The twelve states directly affected by the potential continuance of this funding cut are below:
- New York
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
If you live in one of these states, please instead fill out this targeted request specific to leaders in your area.