Category Archives: Rheumatoid Arthritis

sharae mansfield

Benched by RA, Pro Hoops Player ShaRae Mansfield Still Shoots to Win

ShaRae Mansfield vividly remembers getting the call 17 years ago saying the Houston Comets had drafted her to play in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). For the Western Kentucky University (WKU) student, the chance to play professional basketball was a dream come true.

But her WNBA career was short-lived. While she had mad skills on the court, excelling at both points and rebounds, she also had frequent pain in her shoulders, hips and especially her left knee, made worse by a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). ShaRae had undergone six surgeries on it, but her continued knee problems led the Comets to release her before she completed even her first season.

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rheumatoid arthritis patient stories

Life Doesn’t Stop with RA: How Three People Keep Doing What They Love

Mark Rucker: “Adopt a healthier lifestyle”

mark ruckerWhen Mark Rucker was diagnosed in 2015 with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) at 44, he had mixed emotions. He was glad to know what had been causing the often unbearable pain in his hands, feet, jaw and toes for the past year. But, he recalls, “I always thought RA was a disease that only affected elderly women, not someone who was in the midst of training for their second Ironman competition.”

A real estate attorney in Lexington, Kentucky, Mark in the past had been a self-described “385-pound couch potato.” Being told in 2011 that he was too big to ride on the rollercoaster with his kids spurred him to change his lifestyle. He traded in sugary sodas for water, cut processed sugar and added fruits and vegetables to his diet, and began to walk a mile each day during his lunch hour. He lost 135 pounds, and those lifestyle changes led him in 2013 to complete his first Ironman – a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile marathon.

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Double Take: Twins with RA Fight It Together

Identical twins Annamarie and Ginamarie Russo share many qualities: They look and sound alike, they love acting and traveling – and both have rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

For almost two decades, RA was one thing the twins, 31, did not share. Ginamarie was diagnosed with juvenile RA (now called juvenile idiopathic arth­ritis) when she was 12; Annamarie was diagnosed 18 years later, at age 30.

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arthritis foundation autoshow

Getting Rid of Arthur, the Uninvited Guest

When Kevin Gadd was born, roughly 51 years ago, an unexpected and unwelcomed guest joined his family.

“My mom was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in her hands just after I was born,” explained Kevin. “We called it Arthur, like Arthur-itis. We were always mad at Arthur because he brought pain to my mom and made it difficult for her to do the things she loved. Arthur was a bad dude.”

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volkenburg brothers arthritis foundation fundraising

Brothers Battle Gigantic Duck and 5 Foot Waves in Record Setting Swim Across Lake Erie

They said they were going to do it and, by golly, they did it – in record time!

Earlier this year, brothers Tom and Greg Van Volkenburg decided they were going to swim across Lake Erie, a distance of 24.3 miles, in honor of their mom, Debbie, who has battled rheumatoid arthritis (RA) for most of her life.

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volkenburg brothers arthritis foundation fundraising

Brothers to Swim Across Lake Erie in Honor of their Mother and to Support the Arthritis Community

Competitive swimming is a difficult sport. Athletes spend hours every day going back and forth in a pool with their heads mostly under water honing their skills and techniques hoping to shave tenths of a second off their times.

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Rheumatoid Arthritis Kayaking World Record

Woman with Rheumatoid Arthritis to Attempt World Record by Kayaking over 8,000 Miles

Traci Martin purchased her first kayak in 1999. She has always had a love for the outdoors and being physically active and enjoyed kayaking for fun. In 2009, not long after she began competitive kayak races, Traci started experiencing symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and was formally diagnosed with RA in 2010. Now, just seven years after her diagnosis, Traci will set off on a journey to kayak 8,600 miles and break the world record for longest solo kayak journey.
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Rheumatoid Arthritis Patient Story

From RA to Running a Marathon – Katelynd Park is Committed to Supporting the Fight for a Cure

Just over two years ago, at the age of 24, Katelynd Park was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It was a devastating blow. She remembers thinking, how could someone so young and healthy be diagnosed with this debilitating disease? Katelynd has come a long way since her diagnosis. She is preparing to run the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, her first marathon, as part of the Arthritis Foundation team on October 8. She plans on showing others, and herself, that RA will not keep her from living her life.
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Tatum O'Neal Rheumatoid Arthritis

Tatum O’Neal: On Top of Rheumatoid Arthritis and Feeling Lucky

I picked up the phone and heard, “Hi, this is Tatum,” and my vision went black and white for a second. Hearing that raspy voice, I saw Tatum O’Neal, at 8 years old, as Addie Loggins in the 1973 movie, Paper Moon, which was shot in black and white. Tatum, so young, nailed the part and won herself an Oscar.
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