Forty Arroyo has been dancing since she was a young girl. When she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at age 28, she was told she would be in a wheelchair by the time she was 40. Now, at age 66, Forty is still dancing, sharing her love of dance with others and using her passion to raise money for the Arthritis Foundation.
At the time of her diagnosis, Forty looked to the Arthritis Foundation for help. Back then, she utilized and gained comfort and information from paper resources and now she goes online almost daily to read articles about living with arthritis or Champion of Yes stories. After a brief career in accounting, Forty took on her love of dance as a career and has taught dance in Massachusetts and the northeast for many years. She currently teaches Zumba, line dance and chair dance.
Forty credits the Arthritis Foundation for keeping her on her toes and out of a wheelchair. “Having an arsenal of resources available has helped me tremendously,” says Forty. “Every day I tell myself to keep moving, get up, don’t feel sorry for yourself. That’s when I go online to the Arthritis Foundation website and read stories or advice that makes me feel better and inspires me.”
Over 10 years ago, Forty was inspired by her love of dance and passion for the Arthritis Foundation to start an annual fundraiser. She enlisted 12 other line dancing instructors and they formed the Northeast Ladies of Line. They have held a weekend dance workshop to raise funds for the Arthritis Foundation since their inception. This year, the Northeast Ladies of Line workshop welcomed over 60 participants and raised almost $5,000. In the 13 years of the fundraiser, Forty estimates they have raised over $40,000 for the Arthritis Foundation.
Forty plans to continue sharing her love of dance and sharing Arthritis Foundation resources with others for many years to come. “I’ve had this since I was 28. I have bad days and I have good days,” says Forty. “It helps knowing that I have this wonderful organization at my fingertips.”
To learn more about Forty and her dance instruction, you can visit her YouTube channel.