Tag Archives: rheumatoid arthritis

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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Bella Sorensen Rheumatoid Arthritis

Bella’s Journey: Arthritis Means a Family Must Adjust to the Disease, Too

Bella Sorensen Rheumatoid ArthritisLife is full of unexpected twists and, oftentimes, people define ourselves by how they react to these unforeseen moments. Bella Sorensen’s life was drastically altered at the age of 13 when she was originally diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Bella, now 17, lives with arthritis, but, like many children and teens with arthritis, their families must live with the disease too.

This is Bella’s story—but it’s also her mother’s story to tell as well.

Dorte Sorensen, recalls a time prior to Bella’s diagnosis, “Four years ago, I would have never imagined I would be here talking about my Bella having this horrible disease in the 8th grade as a 13 year-old.”

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From Coast to Coast: A Birthday Challenge Leads to Awareness, Funds for Arthritis

Tom Baltes arthritisA love of cycling seems to run in Tom Baltes’ family. Unfortunately, arthritis does, too.

As one of five children, Tom has watched as two of his siblings have been diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and another has had two hip replacements. Tom has osteoarthritis (OA).

“I was first diagnosed with OA in my left knee and lower spine when I retired from the military,” recalls Tom. “I’m a lucky man in that I have not been particularly bothered by arthritis, but my siblings have really struggled with pain. My arthritis is very minimal compared to what they go through.”

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NYC Marathon Arthritis

Running Toward Yes: Arthritis Foundation Marathon Team Takes on TCS New York City Marathon

Jill Konopka NYC Marathon ArthritisTo look at her now, you’d never know that just a few years ago, Jill Konopka struggled just to open a jar of peanut butter.

“Literally, being able to twist open a jar by myself seemed like the biggest accomplishment,” recalls Jill. “I couldn’t even turn the shower head. It was humbling.”

A former Division III college athlete and current local news reporter, Jill was sidelined by a rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in her late 20s.

“I was shocked,” says Jill. “Here I was this young, active woman. Then one day I woke up and couldn’t get out of bed.”

Continue reading Running Toward Yes: Arthritis Foundation Marathon Team Takes on TCS New York City Marathon

Miss Tennessee Arthritis Awareness

Crowning Achievement: Miss Tennessee Champions Arthritis Awareness

The use of her hands is incredibly important to Hannah Robison. As the reigning Miss Tennessee, her talent is playing the piano. As a chemistry major in college, she is constantly writing and using her hands in the lab. So when she developed pain in her hands, she initially chalked the pain up to overuse.

“I didn’t think much about it at first, but then the pain moved from my knuckles into my wrists,” says Hannah. “Then the doctor told me that no matter how long I’d been playing the piano, at my age, I still shouldn’t be in pain.”

After many tests and appointments, Hannah still doesn’t have a concrete diagnosis for her pain. That hasn’t stopped her from becoming a huge supporter of the Arthritis Foundation. Continue reading Crowning Achievement: Miss Tennessee Champions Arthritis Awareness

Kelli Schandel Massage Envy

Kelli Schandel: Why I’m a Massage Envy Member

Kelli-Schandel-Massage-Envy-MemberOh, Massage Envy, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways! Massage Envy Spa has raised more than $3 million in events to help the 50 million Americans, including 300,000 children affected by the disease. I am one of those 50 million. I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis sixteen years ago at the age of 26. With my diagnosis came fear and a misunderstanding that arthritis was an old person’s disease. I didn’t want to accept that I had arthritis. I was young and had always been an active person. I played sports my entire life and went on to play college basketball. How could I have arthritis?

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One Story Can Change Everything: Visit Gives an Inside Look of the NIH

Lexi Narotzky: National Institutes of Health“Totally amazing!” says 17-year-old Lexi Narotzky.

She’s not talking about her recent prom or even her summer plans to study in California. She’s talking about last week’s visit to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Lexi, who was diagnosed with polyarticular juvenile rheumatoid arthritis at three years old, found her way to the NIH after she shared her story with Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R – NJ) at the Arthritis Foundation’s Advocacy Summit back in March. Struck by her narrative, Frelinghuysen invited Lexi and her entire group to visit the NIH and the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) so that they could see firsthand the research that is being done to combat arthritis.
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Dina Gilmore Champion of Yes Massage Therapist

When Failure Isn’t an Option

Walk to Cure Arthritis Anna LegassieSocial media is great for a lot of things — reconnecting with old friends, finding that next job, catching up on the news and perhaps even wasting a little (a lot of!) time. But when Anna Legassie logged on back in May, she wasn’t doing any of those things. She was just trying to get her medicine.

From Excitement to Disappointment

Anna, now 31 years old, was diagnosed with systemic juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) when she was 11 years old. She has endured six hip surgeries, multiple hospital stays and a constantly changing cocktail of medications to keep her arthritis at bay. After a particularly difficult spring suffering through the side effects of methotrexate, she and her doctor decided to decided to try Orencia (abatacept), a biologic drug that she would would receive by infusion every four weeks. Anna had tried most of the other biologic drugs on the market. None of them had been a fit for her.

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Dina Gilmore Champion of Yes Massage Therapist

Lexi : Simply Telling Her Story Leads to an Important Invitation

Lexi Polyarticular Juvenile Rheumatoid ArthritisSome rising high school seniors will scout colleges for their social scene. Many might choose a college based on its proximity — or lack thereof — to home. Others will simply go where their friends are going. Lexi Narotzky has a different set of criteria.

“I’m looking to go to Vanderbilt in Nashville if I can get in,” says Lexi. “It’s a smaller school where I won’t have to walk as far. The campus is very flat and very accessible for days I am not feeling well. And, the weather is better than it is here in New Jersey.”

Lexi has been making choices like this since she was a toddler. Lexi clearly remembers when she was diagnosed with polyarticular juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, even though she was just three years old.

“I remember the exact night it all started,” Lexi says. “I had just gotten home from dance class, and I was wearing my tights. All of the sudden, I couldn’t move. “

In the weeks that followed, Lexi spent many days in the hospital and visited multiple specialists. High fevers and swollen joints stumped doctors, even at some of the country’s most renowned medical institutions.
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