conference of champions

2018 Conference of Champions: Moving the Movement Forward

This weekend, the Arthritis Foundation’s most engaged volunteers from around the country are gathering in Baltimore’s East Harbor for the 2018 Conference of Champions. This annual national event is where hundreds of volunteers – joined by other committed Foundation partners and staff – network with each other, share ideas and get energized around plans that will help more people with arthritis live their best life.

Kicking off the conference is Rob Wicall, former San Antonio Spurs Coyote Mascot and chair of that market’s local leadership board for the Arthritis Foundation. Rob will share his own outlook about making others happy and how to convince them that they really can make a difference. We’ll also explore how data collection is helping shape local programs and services for people with arthritis through the new Live Yes! Arthritis Network.

Several workshops will be held to help guide volunteers on making meaningful Live Yes! initiatives happen in their own community, working with subject matter experts and other supportive partners. Through local cooking classes, educational events, advocacy activities and more opportunities, there are many ways individuals and their families can pitch in, both in person and online – to help make living with arthritis easier for themselves and to be a voice for others battling this life-altering disease.

On Saturday, conference attendees will hear from twins Annamarie and Ginamarie Russo, about their mutual support of each other while battling arthritis. Volunteer Steve Smith will talk about ways we can further expand the arthritis community, providing more assistance to those who need it while raising more money and awareness. Attendees will also learn about unlocking growth for our vision to take us even further.

Broadway and TV actor Clark Middleton will join us to share his inspiring story, from growing up as a struggling kid with JA to becoming a mainstream entertainer – and things he has learned along the way from fellow arthritis community members.

A highlight of the Conference of Champions is always the Evening of Honors on Friday. Here is where we salute and celebrate our collective efforts as a team and spotlight outstanding personal achievements. We will present Champion Awards to several volunteers who have gone the extra mile, along with other special honors, culminating in our annual Charles B. Harding Award for Distinguished Service to a deserving colleague.

The Power of Connections. Bringing the Live Yes! Arthritis Network to life. Re-energizing each other for the opportunities ahead. That’s what the Arthritis Foundation’s Conference of Champions is all about – all on behalf of the 54 million Americans who live with the daily challenges of arthritis.

Together, we’re bringing more solutions to arthritis patients everywhere. Solutions that patients are helping us create. It’s a great time to celebrate how far we’ve come – and to move this important movement forward.

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