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Helgi Olafson's Fundraiser:

2016 Calendar of Athletes with Arthritis

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Helgi Olafson


When I was first diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis, I thought for sure that my life would be over. That I would never be able to play sports and maybe even eventually end up in a wheelchair. I thought that I would become the hunchback of Notre Dame and no one would like me. A failure.

Well I wasn’t going to let this happen. When my doctor told me that one of his patients who had AS was still a very competitive surfer, my glass suddenly got a little more full, and I made sure that I was going to remain as active as possible. If there were surfers out there, then there were most likely triathletes. If there weren’t any triathletes with AS…well THERE ARE NOW!!

I was one of the lucky ones who was diagnosed in the early stages of progression. From diagnosis at age 19, I have been on self-injectable treatment with biologic, Enbrel Etanercept. Between this drug, taking vitamins, exercising, stretching, healthy eating, and maintaining a positive attitude, I have been able to maintain more of an active lifestyle than most people who have absolutely nothing wrong with them. I not only remain happy and active, but also strive for greater achievement and have become a top age group performer in triathlon and cycling. Now I take these achievements as a message for others that there is a way, as long as they have the will to succeed.

Calendar Specifics:

The Annual HOF Calendar showcases 12 athletes per year who have a form of autoimmune arthritis, just like me, but still maintain an active lifestyle and don’t let their autoimmune arthritis keep them from achieving their goals and living their dreams. Furthermore, these people have a history of sharing their story and helping inspire others to take control of their lives and achieve their goals and dreams, despite having the major setback of autoimmune arthritis. You will also get a chance to learn more about each featured athlete and connect with them if you’d like to ask them any questions about how they tackle everything that comes their way and still remain active.

The purpose of this calendar is to raise awareness of autoimmune arthritis. All profit from sales will go back to helping people with arthritis through 501c3 nonprofit organizations, by funding arthritis research, patient financial assistance with treatment and offering better treatment options and better support networks.

The Calendar will be promoted this summer on Helgi's 5000 mile cycling journey to raise awareness of autoimune arthritis.



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