This is a bit of a different post than I usually write–I wanted to share with you that I am going to be walking in the Arthritis Foundation walk on May 16 in St. Louis, hopefully with my daughter and husband, too. I have two reasons very close to my heart why I chose to raise money for the fight against arthritis.
The first is my lovely and talented and wonderfully generous mom, who has suffered from this disease for almost as long as I’ve been alive. I’ve written about this before, but you could almost never tell that she has arthritis just from talking to her. She really is a go-getter. It might slow her down a bit with walking, but she doesn’t complain and just says, “She needs to rest.” The weather affects her body. Age affects her body. But she has a terrific outlook on life, and I admire that more than anything. She goes to an arthritis doctor, and they try all sorts of new things on her all the time–some work; some don’t. But wouldn’t it be great during her lifetime if they could actually find a cure??
The second reason I’m walking is because of one of my best friends has a young son, who has juvenile arthritis. When I saw them this summer, I realized just how awful and quick this disease can affect someone’s life. And then I also saw how modern medicine can turn this disease around and let the person function. I saw a video of him trying to run to first base before any treatment, and he could hardly make it. I saw the same child after several shots for a couple months run to first base, WITH NO TROUBLE. That’s what research does. That’s what the Arthritis Foundation supports. I will also tell you that my friend wrote to me and said,
“After that day, that diagnosis, I got an email from the Arthritis Foundation. From that email, I joined something called the Parent-2-Parent network, which matched me up with a parent who had been through this same diagnosis with her little girl. . . The emails between me and this woman meant the world to me. I felt like she REALLY knew what I was feeling during those weeks when I was just praying the medication would work. At that time, it was still a question whether the meds would work.
“A few weeks after the diagnosis, we received a big package in the mail from the Arthritis Foundation. It contained a stuffed animal named ‘Buddy’ that was a dog in a U-shape that was designed to go in the microwave to heat up and relieve the pain from the arthritis on the shoulders. My son has taken to only ONE stuffed animal, and it’s Buddy. The Arthritis Foundation sent it simply upon his diagnosis. He loved it and it brought him comfort (in light of all his new shots and such to keep him healthy). The package also contained a book on raising a child with arthritis. I read it cover-to-cover. It meant a lot to me – it addressed everything I was feeling.
“I felt like I was in a free fall, dropping from a plane without a parachute. And then I got a box in the mail from the Arthritis Foundation (containing Buddy and the book), and it was like a parachute, and I landed softly instead of crashing down.”
These are the reasons why I’m walking on May 16. If you feel like donating any amount to this cause, I have a page set up here: http://stl.walktocurearthritis.kintera.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=1095770&lis=0&kntae1095770=53FCE2BAB57F44DBBFD7DC0759F967AC&supid=402975760